Scientists oppose move to restrict satellite data, by Les Blumenthal, McClatchy Newspapers, The Tacoma, WA News Tribune, January 13, 2008
There is a little-noticed but influential government committee known as the Civil Applications Committee, which, under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Geological Survey, reviews civilian requests for classified reconnaissance information that can be useful to scientists studying volcanoes, forest fires, earthquakes and landslides, climate change, hurricanes, flooding and pollution. Now the Bush administration plans to abolish the committee and create an office within the Department of Homeland Security to review such requests.
Rep. Norm Dicks, chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee with control over the Geological Survey and is the senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a letter to administration officials:
"We believe the elimination of the civilian orientation of the Civil Applications Committee represents explicit harm in the near term to USGS and other civilian federal agencies, and it represents a potentially serious harm over the longer term to the constitutional protections U.S. citizens expect and deserve."
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