DHS To Review Spy Satellite Program At Urging of Congresswoman

March 27, 2009 12:00 am

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CONTACT: (202) 675-2312 or media@dcaclu.org WASHINGTON – Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has asked for a review of the Department’s National Applications Office (NAO), a troubled program created to use satellite imagery from intelligence agencies for homeland security and law enforcement purposes. The review comes at the behest of House Homeland Security Committee members Jane Harman (D-CA) and Norman Dicks (D-WA). The move, disclosed in a March 25 letter to Representatives Harman and Dicks, follows criticism of this program by the American Civil Liberties Union, which testified on its opposition to the program before Congress in 2007.

The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“We applaud Representatives Harman and Dicks for their tireless efforts to reform the NAO and its invasive domestic satellite program. Secretary Napolitano has done the right thing by agreeing to a thorough review of the program. It now appears that it could be shut down, with reasonable use of satellite imagery continuing to take place – as it long has – through the Department of the Interior.

“The nation’s security agencies have spent billions of dollars over many decades building up the capabilities of their spy satellites. The prospect of turning those lenses inwards upon the American people ought to raise many red flags – and we applaud Reps. Harman and Dicks and other members of Congress for their active response to this potentially frightening program.”

To read the ACLU’s testimony, go to: /privacy/31829pub20070906.html

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