Tuesday, May 6, 2008

US to expand domestic spying program

Sun, 13 Apr 2008 17:33:18

Washington promises to initiate its strongly criticized program to use its most advanced surveillance technology for domestic spying.

Chertoff said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would open a new domestic satellite surveillance office in several stages and would use advanced overhead sensor data for law enforcement as soon as privacy and civil rights concerns are resolved.

"There is no basis to suggest that this process is in any way insufficient to protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans," Chertoff claimed in defense of Washington's determination to go through with the project in spite of criticism.

The Bush administration gave DHS authority to use advanced spy technology in May 2007. The Congress, however, delayed the implementation of the project to allow their investigators to review its operating procedures and safeguards.

Although DHS gave some explanations of its program on Thursday, some lawmakers reacted strongly, calling the department's response inadequate.

Critics worry that claims that the project will not initially be used for spying but for scientific activities may be a pretext for greatly expanding the scale of Washington's domestic spying activities.

Some even believe that Washington would not be so determined to continue with the program if their main intention were to carry out traditional DHS activities, claiming that such projects threaten national security and undermine the Constitutional rights of Americans.

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