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U.S. Reconnaissance Satellites: Domestic Targets

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Documents Describe Use of Satellites in Support
of Civil Agencies and Longstanding Controversy

Update – Washington, D.C., April 11, 2008 – The policy debate over using U.S. reconnaissance satellites to obtain imagery of targets in the United States dates back to the earliest days of spy satellites, according to an updated collection of declassified documents published today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org).

Obtained and edited by Archive senior fellow Dr. Jeffrey Richelson, the documents add significant historical context to current Congressional concerns (Document 46 and Document 50) about privacy and civil liberties guidelines for the new National Applications Office (Document 41 and Document 48).

Additional historical documents include the charter for the Civil Applications Committee, the statement of authority for National Reconnaissance Program activities over the United States, as well as documents that focus on the question of “proper use” of the satellites and the risk to senior officials should the space assets be used inappropriately.

Documents concerning current plans to establish a National Applications Office and associated Congressional concerns include the letter from the Secretary of Homeland Security to the Director of National Intelligence (reporting his interest in establishing a domestic applications office), expressions of Congressional concern, and the proposed charter (from February 2008).

Documents available from The National Security Archive

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Written by mudshark

April 14, 2008 at 4:24 am

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