Domestic Spy Satellites Delayed (Sort Of)
The Homeland Security Department has agreed to delay spy satellite surveillance of the United States for counterterrorism and other purposes, in response to concerns raised by U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairmen of the the House Homeland Security Committee.
Except that they already do.
According to Reuters:
Charles Allen, the Homeland Security Department's assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis, said in a letter to Thompson the department was working to answer his questions and the program would protect U.S. privacy and civil liberties.
The United States has used spy satellite images for purposes such as monitoring U.S. natural disasters. But the new office would also use the images for domestic security and law enforcement, and it would share the information with state and local authorities, the Homeland Security Department has said.
But -- as previously reported by INTELWIRE -- the CIA used satellites for domestic surveillance no later than 1995.
A document released to INTELWIRE under the Freedom of Information Act reveals that CIA provided the FBI with imagery of the Alfred E. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City after it was bombing in April 1995.
The Agency provided both "pre- and post-blast imagery to facilitate forensic examination of the blast site." In other words, they had imagery of the building before the bombing.
Other reports indicated that satellite imagery monitored domestic extremists after the bombing, but the imagery referred to here preceded the bombing. INTELWIRE is pursuing additional FOIA action to clarify the extent of the satellite program and will publish results when they become available.