Trusting Mike Chertoff to Protect Your Civil Liberties

Domestic Use of Spy Satellites To Widen

Law Enforcement Getting New Access To Secret Imagery

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 16, 2007; Page A01

The Bush administration has approved a plan to expand domestic access to some of the most powerful tools of 21st-century spycraft, giving law enforcement officials and others the ability to view data obtained from satellite and aircraft sensors that can see through cloud cover and even penetrate buildings and underground bunkers.

Under the new program, the DHS will create a subordinate agency to be known as the National Applications Office. The new office, which has gained the backing of congressional intelligence and appropriations committees, is responsible for coordinating requests for access to intelligence by civilian agencies. Previously, an agency known as the Civilian Applications Committee facilitated access to satellite imagery for geologic study.

Oversight of the department’s use of the overhead imagery data would come from officials in the Department of Homeland Security and from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and would consist of reviews by agency inspectors general, lawyers and privacy officers. “We can give total assurance” that Americans’ civil liberties will be protected, Allen said. “Americans shouldn’t have any concerns about it.”


Ah, we’re back again to ‘trust me,’ the favorite phrase of the least trustworthy government to come along since Nixon.

Homeland Security, all 220,000 of the precious little snoops, haven’t yet been able to get anything right, principally because they run for the most part on the ups and downs and ins and outs of Michael Chertoff’s gut.

For my part, I’m thoroughly tired of having an entire secret section of my government tell me it has the only solution to saving me, but it can’t tell me how it’s going to save me because telling me would compromise national security and that would keep these programs from saving me.

You and I are not terrorists, nor are we children, nor are we (yet) complete idiots. The government that no one trusts is trying to flim-flam us. The government that got elected by promising the end of flim-flam is trying to let them.

* For more in-depth articles from Jim on Homeland Security, check out

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