Thursday, September 20, 2007

Satellite Police

Lindsay, writing at In These Times:

On August 15, the Wall Street Journal broke the news that America’s senior intelligence authorities were preparing to vastly expand access to classified satellite reconnaissance and other remote sensing data.

Initially, the National Applications Office (NAO), a newly created office within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will confine itself to homeland security and traditional civil applications. Officials will be able to request satellite data to enhance border security, defend critical infrastructure and coordinate disaster response. Next year, the department plans to give satellite data to state and local law enforcement agencies...

When DHS first announced the creation of the NAO for disseminating classified information from America’s spy satellites on August 15, it hadn’t bothered to notify the House Committee on Homeland Security beforehand...

A Homeland Security fact sheet describes the NAO as a “federal advocate” for civil intelligence consumers. The office won’t just process requests, it will educate its new “customers” about what satellites can do for them and even agitate for better funding for their preferred types of satellite.

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