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For Immediate Release

Contact

Mandy Simon, (202) 675-2312; media@dcaclu.org  

Press Release

DHS to Review Spy Satellite Program at Urging of Congresswoman

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 Intelligence 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: http://www.aclu.org/privacy/31829pub20070906.html

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The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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