Spies in the Sky: Spy Satellites Need Proper Oversight

Matthew Harwood, Staff Editor

Over the weekend, The Washington Post editorial page carefully endorsed the use of spy satellites to help protect the nation from an assortment of security ills.

The Post agrees with the Bush Administration's logic that this technology should be utilized, but wants assurances how the satellite imagery will be used. As the editorial argues:

The greater use of this technology must be accompanied, however, by robust protections for privacy and civil liberties. It must be carefully reviewed within the executive branch and by Congress. Some capabilities may need to remain classified, but a change this significant ought to be publicly debated to the fullest extent possible, and there should be continued public disclosure about how much surveillance is being conducted for what purposes.

Yet, as the editorial reports, the Bush Administration hasn't been all that forthcoming on the matter, despite claims it had briefed relevant legislators on their plan for domestic satellite surveillance. According to the paper, the Chairman of the House Homeland Security committee, Bennie Thompson (D-MS), sent a sharply worded letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff, to let him know he heard about the plan from media reports.





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