Dems plan to monitor spy satellite program

Aug. 23, 2007 at 6:25 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives say they plan to exercise close oversight of the Department of Homeland Security's satellite-surveillance plan.

Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that the House plans to keep a close eye on the Bush administration's use of spy satellites within the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

"I need you to provide me with an immediate assurance that upon its October 1st roll-out, this program will be operating within the confines of the Constitution and all applicable laws and regulations," Thompson wrote.

The chairman also told Chertoff in the letter that he will be requiring biweekly updates on the program as it nears the operational phase.

Thompson also chided Chertoff in the letter for not briefing Congress on the plan before it was announced to the public.

"Let me state this clearly -- the release of important information to the public without prior to notification to this committee is unacceptable," Thompson wrote.

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