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Print 25 comment(s) - last by marsbound2024.. on Feb 19 at 12:09 AM

New oversight committee gets ready to use American spy satellites domestically

In many ways, I'm not in the least bit surprised the U.S. government is forming a permanent task group to oversee the use of U.S. space-based resources for domestic use.  Of course, I am a little surprised that the U.S. government began the program in 2005 with almost no mention in the media outside of a few wire reports. 

The inevitable knee-jerk reaction: "No, no! The U.S. must never use its foreign intelligence powers domestically!"

Let's be a little more pragmatic here.  The United States, commander of the most powerful intelligence services in the world, will use spy satellites domestically eventually -- if it hasn't already.

For all the problems of the Department of Homeland Security, I can find little fault with the proposed National Applications Office.  The NAO, originally commissioned to start operations in October 2007 under the umbrella of the DHS, would be the oversight institution for use of foreign intelligence capabilities domestically.

The Office is currently on hiatus pending a Congressional injunction.

In 1974 Nelson Rockefeller commissioned a study that exposed several illegal programs inside the U.S. intelligence community, including the infamous CIA mind control program MK-ULTRA.  One of the lasting effects of Rockefeller’s commission included the creation of a Civil Applications Committee -- a committee designed to oversee the use of U.S. space-based resources for domestic purposes; Earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters -- that sort of thing. 

So guess what? We've already used those satellites for domestic purposes since the 1970's, though with an extremely limited scope. 

The NAO is an expansion of the little-documented, rarely-mentioned Civil Applications Committee.  It is compromised of three parts, one of which effectively replaces the CAC; the other two working groups will oversee homeland security, the other law enforcement. 

So why the Congressional injunction?  Privacy concerns, of course.  It's good to see someone didn't fall asleep at the wheel in Congress.  A report from the Associated Press claims the injunction is in the final stages of dissolve: the new Office could officially open doors as early as next month. 

After all, at least the government is playing by the book with this one.  One proclamation of retroactive immunity for illegal wiretaps is enough for 2008 already.



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RE: Damn
By masher2 (blog) on 2/16/2008 12:32:01 PM , Rating: 2
> "However, had Lincoln not ignored the letter of the constitution in order to ultimately preserve it..."

Forget his suspension of habeas corpus -- Lincoln shut down newspapers and jailed editors who dared to disagree with his policies, and ordered federal troops to shoot political protestors. Quite honestly, there's no excuse for his actions.

Historians have politely judged Lincoln far better than he deserved, simply because his actions led to the downfall of slavery, where in truth such an end was furthest from his mind. Lincoln himself said if he could preserve the union by preserving slavery, he would do so. As for his views on racial equality, we have:

quote:
"I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races. I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people. There is a physical difference between the white and black races, which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality."
Abraham Lincoln, 1858.


RE: Damn
By dflynchimp on 2/16/2008 7:20:04 PM , Rating: 2
we all need heroes, and thus such obvious flaws in a person are overlooked for the good that they did upon society (even if it wasn't their intention to do it).

"It ain't about you, Jayne. It's about what they need" Mal- Firefly.


RE: Damn
By brenatevi on 2/17/2008 12:30:17 AM , Rating: 2
*sigh* One, of the greatest shows to ever get cancel.

As for Lincoln, it's funny how circumstances conspire to change your stance on issues. Lincoln didn't free the slaves for their own good. He freed the slaves to prevent the United Kingdom and France from recognizing the Confederacy. The thing people forget about all public figures (past and present) is that they were all human, with strengths and weaknesses. They all did things that they thought were best out of the choices before them, and sometimes had to make choices that even they didn't agree with.

It's a lesson to be learned here in the present day. Domestic wiretaps and satellite spying is very dangerous ground to walk on, and we could very easily end up paying a very high price for the decisions that are being made today in the name of safety that quite possibly will never bear fruit. "We have to be lucky all the time, they have to be lucky just once." There is no such thing as complete safety, and by trying to accomplish this, we come dangerously close to losing everything.

Yet, these things are decided by the people in power now, and they don't have as many choices as we think they have. There has already been one attack on American soil, so what are they supposed to do? If you were president, what you have done? If you were responsible for 300 million human lives, what choices would you have made?

Going back to Lincoln, the older I get, the more I disagree with Lincoln's decision to go to war with the South. I think he should have respected their citizens desire to leave the Union they joined voluntarily. That is easy for me to say though; I'm not sure if I would think the same if I had been in his shoes.


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