Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano plans to kill a program begun by the Bush administration that would use U.S. spy satellites for domestic security and law enforcement, a government official said.
Napolitano recently reached her decision after the program was discussed with law enforcement officials, and she was told it was not an urgent issue, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about it.
The program was announced in 2007 and was to have the Homeland Security Department use overhead and mapping imagery from existing satellites for homeland security and law enforcement purposes.
The program has been delayed because of privacy and civil liberty concerns.
The program was included in the Obama administration's 2010 budget request, according to Rep. Jane Harman, a California Democrat and House homeland security committee member who was briefed on the department's classified intelligence budget.
Harman said Monday she had not been given final word that the program would be killed.
Homeland Security spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said Napolitano began looking at the program shortly after she became secretary. Kudwa said the department expects to announce the results of that review soon.
For years, domestic agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Interior Department have had access to this satellite imagery for scientific research, to assist in response to natural disasters like hurricanes and fires, and to map out vulnerabilities during a major public event such as the Super Bowl.
The Bush administration decided to funnel the imagery requests through the Homeland Security Department and expand their use for homeland security and law enforcement purposes.
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Tags: BUSH, Liberty, Freedom, Spy, America, satellite imagery, Homeland Security, Patriot Act
Location: Washington, District of Columbia, United States (load item map)
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