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Homeland Security's Space-Based Spying Goes Live

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the eye-in-the-sky dept.

Privacy 289

BountyX writes "While America's attention has shifted to the economic meltdown and the presidential race between corporate favorites John McCain and Barack Obama, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) National Applications Office (NAO) 'will proceed with the first phase of a controversial satellite-surveillance program, even though an independent review found the department hasn't yet ensured the program will comply with privacy laws.' NAO will coordinate how domestic law enforcement and 'disaster relief' agencies such as FEMA use satellite imagery intelligence (IMINT) generated by US spy satellites. Based on available evidence, hard to come by since these programs are classified 'above top secret,' the technological power of these military assets are truly terrifying."

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289 comments

Too much Enemy Of The State (-1, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307787)

You can take the tinfoil hat off already. Satellite imaging isn't that great.

 

Don't forget... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25307825)

...that Obama is a member of the GNAA!

Re:Too much Enemy Of The State (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25307827)

In another words I and my playboy model can sunbathe in the nude on the roof of my apartment again?

Re:Too much Enemy Of The State (2, Funny)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307853)

You never needed to stop. In fact, it made me very sad when you stopped. I had to *pay* for porn again.

Re:Too much Enemy Of The State (1)

tuxgeek (872962) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308681)

He caught my interest too, until I realized his girlfriend was a blow up doll.

Re:Too much Enemy Of The State (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25307915)

In another words...And, oh, look, there's another words...

Re:Too much Enemy Of The State (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25307877)

Oh, yeah it is! Don't fool yourself. You guys who think you know about imaging have no idea. Just hold your newspaper slanted a bit so they can read over your shoulder. Posted AC on purpose. This is not a joke.

Re:Too much Enemy Of The State (1, Insightful)

DKP (1029142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308015)

uh yes it is the newest satalite that is camercail can see smthing as small as sixteen incches wide military and goverment even smaller.

Re:Too much Enemy Of The State (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308057)

uh yes it is the newest satalite that is camercail can see smthing as small as sixteen incches wide military and goverment even smaller.

Then it's either a bunch of FUD or a giant step backward. Thirty years ago, the word was that they could resolve two golf balls on the ground if they were separated by the width of one golf ball.

Re:Too much Enemy Of The State (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308115)

Then it's either a bunch of FUD or a giant step backward. Thirty years ago, the word was that they could resolve two golf balls on the ground if they were separated by the width of one golf ball.

I wouldn't call it FUD. F is for fear, and if it's a giant step backward, fear doesn't apply here. So you can call it just "UD" :)

Re:Too much Enemy Of The State (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308211)

Read for comprehension, dickbite. That's why I explicitly said either a bunch of FUD or a giant step backward. Read up on it -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exclusive_or [wikipedia.org]

captcha -- indolent -- ha -- they saw you coming!

Re:Too much Enemy Of The State (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308841)

Oh come on. You know what FUD [sigma-alimentos.com] really is. Probably got some in your fridge.

Re:Too much Enemy Of The State (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308051)

Do you know for certain what they have up there? If not, maybe you should think twice before casually dismissing news you don't like with lame-o "tinfoil hat" responses.

Re:Too much Enemy Of The State (5, Insightful)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308323)

Well, one could have a good idea of how many satellites they have put up. It is really hard to hide rocket launches. So let me pull a number out of the air: 1000. That is way more than I think they would have up there. Each one is in LEO, so they probably have an orbital period of around 90 min. (max for LEO is 120 min). Now get some idea of how many people they can "track" with that many satellites. Now half it, due to weather. Now half it again, due to day/night cycles. Think really hard, and give me a back of the envelope calculation of just how many targets they could conceivably track.

If our remote sensing was really as good as the article implies, then US forces wouldn't have been subject to as many IED attacks in Iraq as we have suffered. Now you want me to believe that they can put such resources to work tracking domestic US citizens?

I'll say it also, satellite imagery isn't all it's made out to be. It ain't that great.

Re:Too much Enemy Of The State (4, Insightful)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308701)

I'll say it also, satellite imagery isn't all it's made out to be. It ain't that great.

Then why have it? It is built for surveillance or why would you have it. Obviously it doesn't have to be that great to be useful and is meant to be used with other apparatus (that doesn't exist in Iraq) to achieve it's goals. Saying this is a means to justify feeling comfortable living in a police state and maintain the illusion of freedom. It doesn't matter what it can or can't do, what matters is what it is for.

Benjamin Franklin said that the constitution (for all it's flaws) wouldn't save America from despotism, and as the mechanism's have been put in place incrementally, we see he was right.

I wonder how hot the water is for the frog now?

JUDAS PRIEST "The Electric Eye" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308455)

"Up here in space, I'm looking down on you... My lasers trace, everything YOU do! You think you've private lives (think NOTHING of the kind) - there is NO TRUE ESCAPE (I'm watching, all the time)... I'm made of metal, my circuits gleam! I am perpetual, I keep the country clean! I'm elected, electric spy. I'm protected, the electric eye... Always in focus, can't kill my stare - I zoom into you (but, you don't know I'm there)... I take a pride in probing all your secret moves, my tearless retina takes pictures that can prove, I'm made of metal, my circuits gleam... I am perpetual, I keep the country clean. Electric eye, in the sky Feel my stare, always there... Theres nothing you can do about it (Develop and expose) - I feed upon your every thought, And so my power grows! I'm made of metal, my circuits gleam... I am perpetual I keep the country clean. I'm elected, electric spy. I'm protected, electric eye... Protected, Detective, Electric Eye..." - JUDAS PRIEST

Re:Too much Enemy Of The State (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308485)

Mod this up and the parent down, or you're a terrorist. And don't forget to vote McCain at the election!

Re:Too much Enemy Of The State (3, Informative)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308629)

I'm going to open my mouth when I probably shouldn't, but I've been out of the intel field for enough years that no one is going to get pissed off for me talking.

Satellite imaging is really pretty good. Better than you think. The military stuff is excellent. Imagine what we're doing now with atmospheric telescopes that we couldn't have done twenty years ago and realize that the same principles apply when the direction is reversed.

What really pisses me off is that I would have gone to jail back in the day for what they are green-lighting now. Much less than that, even. Disgusting.

I'm really glad I left all that intel stuff behind or I would end up in jail when I refused to follow orders.

Re:Too much Enemy Of The State (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308707)

I'm going to open my mouth when I probably shouldn't, but I've been out of the intel field for enough years that no one is going to get pissed off for me talking.

So rather than making bullshit speculative "it's better than you think" mumbo jumbo, how about giving us some numbers.

Re:Too much Enemy Of The State (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308833)

Uh, I wouldn't be so sure about that. There's lots of evidence that points to the contrary.

Would you? (0, Offtopic)

a whoabot (706122) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307843)

Would you like to have such a satellite system for yourself? I probably would.

Re:Would you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308085)

Why yes, I believe I would. Thank you for asking.

In other news... (4, Funny)

Robber Baron (112304) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307859)

Sales of golf umbrellas and large-brimmed sombreros went through the roof.

Re:In other news... (5, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308099)

"Sales of golf umbrellas and large-brimmed sombreros went through the roof."

Fight back, sunbathe naked.

The sight of thousands of Slashdotters au natural displayed in high resolution should drive off (most) of the human imagery interpreters.

Re:In other news... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308501)

Save yourself some effort. The last time I took my shirt off in public I blinded 13 people and melted the lenses of two cameras. I got this one.

above top secret? (3, Interesting)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307863)

that doesn't sound like it's legal. Does DHS have the legal authority to spy on American citizens going about their business? Should it?

This system sounds like big brother is finally coming online and when you run a red light, the satellite will track you home since only terrorists run red lights!!!!111

Re:above top secret? (5, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307879)

You seem to be under the impression that the government cares about what is "legal".

You haven't learned anything in the last... 100 years?

Just look at (what is left) of the Constitution.

Re:above top secret? (0, Redundant)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308101)

You seem to be under the impression that the government cares about what is "legal".

Indeed; the main thrust of TFA is the lack of any legal approval or oversight of this project.

Boon to law-enforcement (-1, Flamebait)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307911)

when you run a red light, the satellite will track you home

And what is wrong with this?

Re:Boon to law-enforcement (0, Flamebait)

T3hD0gg (908064) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307967)

If you didn't do anything wrong, then what do you have to hide?

Re:Boon to law-enforcement (4, Funny)

SpiderClan (1195655) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308083)

That's my argument for going out naked. I try to explain to the cops that this way they can see I'm not carrying drugs. Thus far my success rate is roughly fail.

Re:Boon to law-enforcement (1)

T3hD0gg (908064) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308225)

That's my argument for going out naked. I try to explain to the cops that this way they can see I'm not carrying drugs. Thus far my success rate is roughly fail.

Is that cause they do a cavity search?

Re:Boon to law-enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308541)

No, it's because he claims not to enjoy it but keeps going back for more.

Re:Boon to law-enforcement (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308605)

Nope, that would be a "success".

Different strokes for different folks, what more can I say?

Re:Boon to law-enforcement (0)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308593)

If you didn't do anything wrong

You did. In the GGP's example, one ran a red light. Try again to explain, what's wrong with all such people being automatically cited...

Re:above top secret? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25307939)

"Above top secret" doesn't make any sense. This is classified at "top secret" with talent/keyhole code words.

Re:above top secret? (3, Informative)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308303)

Parent is entirely correct. More generally, it's classified "top secret" with "caveats" that limit it further. It's essentially top secret, but with extra rules. For example, "Top Secret//NOFORN" means "This is classified 'top secret' and it is not to be released to foreign nations."

Check out this wikipedia page on caveats relating to classified information [wikipedia.org]. That heading and the next three mini-headings pertain to caveats.

As for the parent, I don't know what "talent" is, but "keyhole" is a kind of imagery spy satellite. I'll bet "talent" is a SIGINT spy satellite, but I'm not going to look it up right now. ;)

Re:above top secret? (3, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308721)

As for the parent, I don't know what "talent" is, but "keyhole" is a kind of imagery spy satellite. I'll bet "talent" is a SIGINT spy satellite, but I'm not going to look it up right now. ;)

TOP SECRET-SCI/TK clearance (TK = Talent-Keyhole) is the specific clearance for classified satellite imagery. I don't know nuthin' 'bout that. ;)

Re:above top secret? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25307977)

that doesn't sound like it's legal. Does DHS have the legal authority to spy on American citizens going about their business? Should it?

Of course they do -- the cocksucker-in-thief said they do.

Re:above top secret? (0, Troll)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308313)

Then don't run the red light, it's dangerous for you and for everybody else. There's a reason for laws, and if you don't obey them then the govt. should keep an eye on you.

Trollish Summary (-1, Troll)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307927)

IÂm getting really sick of hearing how big corps "picked" Obama and McCain, do I think they are corrupt? Sure do, but we picked them not Exxon or McDonalds, so it is US who are to blame for hiring more corporate shills. Jesus when will people wake up, stop complaining and do something about it? Lets not forget that only a few out of a HUNDRED Americans have EVER voted for a third party.

Re:Trollish Summary (5, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308035)

I am getting really sick of hearing how big corps "picked" Obama and McCain, ... we picked them not Exxon or McDonalds

Or Newscorp?

After watching how Ron Paul and Alan Keys were both marginalized by selective non-reporting (despite Paul's recordbreaking fundraising and massive grassroots support), I have no trouble viewing McCain as a corporate pick (or the people's pick from the corporations' small set of approved options). Ditto Obama (and Clinton) vs. Kucinich.

Re:Trollish Summary (5, Interesting)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308185)

Are you sure they didn't marginalize themselves? I would submit that Ron Paul was largely ignored because most voters weren't picking up what he was laying down, and he didn't have the skills to convince them.

Kucinich likewise is unable to be very convincing. Whenever I read about something he's doing, I agree with him in spirit, but he's not being at all realistic. He's still trying to impeach Bush. I think Bush should be impeached, but it's not going to happen. To keep doing it looks more like masturbation than leading. To be honest, that doesn't just make him a bad canidate, it also would have made him a bad president. Politicians have to be realistic and willing to compromise to get anything done.

I don't know much about Alan Keys, but my impression was that he was too conservative even for the republican party.

So is it that Obama and McCain are the corporate pick or the sane pick?

Re:Trollish Summary (0, Offtopic)

riceboy50 (631755) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308275)

Since the MSM decides what is convincing and conveniently editorializes it all for us, I would say most voters never had much of a chance. GP is correct that the public has been spoon fed the two major candidates for quite some time.

Re:Trollish Summary (1, Interesting)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308309)

Again, what indication do you have that any of their messages would have resonated with a largely apathetic, willfully ignorant american public? I think their messages have merit, but they didn't get any traction because most people weren't already convinced, not because they were ignored by the media.

If the media has a blame, it's that they've shortened our attention spans to where we won't give a canidate time to convince us of anything we aren't already convinced of.

Which... when you think about it... is much more depressing than them intentionally sidelining a particular canidate.

Re:Trollish Summary (0, Offtopic)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308495)

What evidence do you have that the messages of the remaining candidates resonate with a largely apathetic, willfully ignorant american public?
If you're answer is the fact that it must be so by virtue of them being the remaining candidates, then your argument is simply circular.

Re:Trollish Summary (0, Offtopic)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308331)

Five candidates were invited to the FOX Republican Primary Debates, and Ron Paul was not one of them. Yeah, I was a crazy Ron Paul-ite, but it really convinced me that Ron Paul was being kept hidden away like GP was suggesting. I didn't follow Obama's primaries, so I don't know about that.

Re:Trollish Summary (1)

Vidar Leathershod (41663) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308645)

Actually, Alan Keyes views share more in common with Ronald Reagan's than any other candidate that was running. He would have been perhaps a better choice than McCain for the Republican party, as he is a very eloquent speaker.

Unfortunately, the Media does not want a *real* conservative candidate to run. They want someone who is going to put their finger on the Media Poll pulse, and make policy from that.

If enough republican/conservative voters knew who the heck Alan Keyes was, it would be a whole different story. But, if you watched the debate, they gave him 1 whole question, then ignored him. It was so obvious that the Media had pre-selected the acceptable candidates on both sides. Those were the ones who were given questions and allowed to answer.

For a real treat of a debate, you can go to the Alan Keyes website, and watch his debates with Obama. You may not agree with one or the other candidate, but both of them did far better debating when the big media was not in control of it. Actually, very good debates.

Re:Trollish Summary (2, Informative)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308471)

After watching how Ron Paul and Alan Keys were both marginalized by selective non-reporting (despite Paul's recordbreaking fundraising and massive grassroots support), I have no trouble viewing McCain as a corporate pick (or the people's pick from the corporations' small set of approved options). Ditto Obama (and Clinton) vs. Kucinich.

Reminds me of the one CBS news story I saw on Ron Paul. The story was on one of *those* Los Vegas places where apparently the ladies where asking for donations for the campaign from the clients. Now I can't help but get the feeling that CBS purposefully went out to look for the one thing about about Ron Paul that would offend the most people, while at the same time avoiding any coverage that would give people any clue who the heck he is in the first place. Meh.

Re:Trollish Summary (0, Offtopic)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308075)

I'd point out that big corporations liking a canidate and giving sizeable campaign contributions does not mean they picked him. In fact, corporations often give money to both canidates in a race, reguardless of their platform. Many want to buy favor, not promote specific politics. If a canidate looks like he has a good chance of winning (aka a nominee for an election from one of the two parties) then typically he gets money from such corporations as long as he doesn't actively say "Don't buy Coke" or something like that.

(Again, there are plenty of exceptions, some whole industries, like health insurance companies)

I think it's easy to confuse corporations giving money to a politician who is going to win with corporations acting as king-makers, especially for those people whose interests are so far from the mainstream that they don't see a difference between the two parties. Those of us who are more center see the two parties as being very different, and corporate support of both is non-specific.

TROL]LKORe (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25307933)

the next round of Corporate task. Research

Why haven't we heard of this? (2, Insightful)

Entiex (1376325) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307953)

So there's this entire questionably legal surveillance system going up. Real big brother type stuff, yet I at least haven't heard of this at all until now, not to mention the US at large. If people who actually watch out for these kinda things don't hear about this, than what's the chance of their actually being public backlash? Yeah so....I'm moving to Sweden.

Re:Why haven't we heard of this? (5, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308183)

One of their rationalizations is that if you have widespread secret spying on your population, but if individuals don't know/can't be told they are being spied on, then there is nothing for the individual to complain about.

Of course, say, your boss or your bank gets an NSA letter requesting all the information they have about you (but they can't tell you they are doing this), you may just happen to find yourself the first to be laid off if there is some kind of economic downturn (if they wait that long), and you may find getting a loan slightly more difficult (as in, impossible), but it most definitely won't be because of these secretive spy programs. You must just not be a reliable, honest citizen anymore.

Re:Why haven't we heard of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308267)

You do know that there are no legal consequences to the US using their new super-secret uber spy satellites to spy on the Swiss right?

If anything, if you have any concern for your privacy, you should be moving to the US and donating heavily to the ACLU.

Yeah right (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308103)

the technological power of these military assets are truly terrifying.

Only terrifying if you do not understand the limitatations of the associated techonology. It's a freaking telescope in space. With *gasp* a camera attached. The "above top secret" label gives the story a hint of rancid feces-- usually attributable to conspiracy nuts.

Could it be a privacy issue? Yes. But there is so much frantic handwaving and conspiracy flavored cool-aid that any objective points or are hidden from view at first glance. And the article isn't worth reading twice.

Gotta wonder.... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308123)

... if they could have spend the money on something more important....

Re:Gotta wonder.... (0, Offtopic)

3seas (184403) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308147)

.......would have such a spy satellite seen the mortgage meltdown in time to stop it?
And if not then what is more important than a 700 billion failure, that the spy system can see in time to stop?

Re:Gotta wonder.... (0, Offtopic)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308355)

Anybody who paid attention during the Clinton years saw the mortgage crisis coming.

Re:Gotta wonder.... (0, Offtopic)

nawcom (941663) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308677)

Obviously no one (including the ones who knew about it during the Clinton years) cared during the GWB years, if you really want to play the game of pointing at people.

I think it's stupid to try and blame the fault of people starting it. If one has "paid attention" then they should of stopped it. I'm not putting blame on GOP at all; I'm saying that most likely no one saw the issue at all, or they did and simply enjoyed the positive outcome for them somehow.

And.... (2, Insightful)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308143)

It doesnt really matter how good your cameras are, any surveillance system is really limited by how much area it can see at a time and as that increases the manpower needed to sort through all the data increases exponentially. Until they have 300 million of these guys up there full time, and another 300 million people watching the feeds, do you really think they are going to be spending much time looking at you unless you stand out?

I really dont think even the government is stupid enough to use a multi-billion dollar instrument to track someone who ran a red light.

abuse vs. misuse (1)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308157)

[...] on top of yesterday's news that datamining for terrorists is not feasible due to false positives) of just how badly the use of these lists can be abused.

Uhm, that study may be pointing out at potential misuse of the lists &mdash treating the entries as actual terrorists, rather than mere suspects — but not at abuse. Software is not going to care. It takes an actual overzealous cop to abuse the list by placing a person on it, against whom no reasonable suspicions exist.

That said, considering the present-day prominence (and a comfortable life of a tenured professor) of an anti-war protester turned terrorist [nytimes.com] (to this day unrepentant), the Maryland cops' action is not that unconscious...

It is not that all such protesters are necessarily going to become terrorists, it is that there is a prominent example of how doing that can not only go unpunished by the Law, but, actually, glorified by Public Opinion — or, at least, significant segments thereof...

With Ayers on everybody's mind because his protege is within grasp of becoming the next President, I would not blame those cops for suspecting, that some of the present-day anti-war activists may be up to blowing up a thing or two...

Re:abuse vs. misuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308379)

This great nation was founded by terrorists.

Re:abuse vs. misuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308447)

Uhm, that study may be pointing out at potential misuse of the lists &mdash treating the entries as actual terrorists, rather than mere suspects -- but not at abuse. Software is not going to care. It takes an actual overzealous cop to abuse the list by placing a person on it, against whom no reasonable suspicions exist.

It does treat the entities as actual terrorists, so it absolutely is abusive. If I'm mistakenly put on any such list, it will have severe consequences for both my civil liberties and for the conduct of my life. It's been well-documented that such lists are routinely abused in this way -- sudden suspension of right to free travel (including at least one case of a TSA dick-orifice shrieking at a detained passenger, "You have no constitutional rights in here!!!"), no means for me to find out what list I'm even on, much less challenge my appearance on that list, embarrassment without recourse, implied slander/libel, etc. etc.

Pft (3, Interesting)

inKubus (199753) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308815)

The stupid stuff that happened in the 60's and 70's != 9/11 pal. TOTALLY different in every way. To combine the two is like saying that McCain's torture has something to do with his erratic behavior, or the fact that he's a child molester. Ok, bad example.

The FOUNDERS of this country were terrorists in the eyes of King George. But what they did was fight to create a better situation for themselves. You saw that again in the 60's and 70's with civil rights and the youth movement. Yes, the Weather Underground were a bunch of idiots but it's important to note that the changes some of their peers helped bring about have made this country a massively better place for everyone. And anyway, the real fear is religious fanatics with a nuclear weapon, not some dumb kids with pipe bombs.

And you sir are a fool to think that it has anything to do with "WAR". It's just that war epitomizes the separation of class. In the 70's there were drastic (though not as drastic as today) gaps between rich and poor. A horrible economy, an unending war, caused by foolish leadership, taken advantage of by the rich while the poor starve and are jobless, well, what's worse than that?

What this is doing is placing still more power, surveilence power (control), into the hands of a few people in the government. The same people who have pretty much given the government to corporations they formerly ran, and now are giving 700B to the same people. It's in the largest worldwide corporations' interest to A. have control of a government B. Erase worldwide borders caused by multiple currencies/legal systems/etc. "War" rarely physically involves the rich, unless it's a passtime they get off on. It's about money. Now what we have are the makings for a massive shift in government, from multiple countries to one world government. It is 100% enevitable. The people who control the wealth of the world talk to one another, you know. And it sure would be simpler for them if they didn't have to mess with different legal systems..

WWII was between capitalism (The allies), corporatism or fascism (the axis), and communism (the Soviets/China). We the U.S. were actually on the fence and were supporting both the forces of corporatism and capitalism. See also The New Deal [wikipedia.org]. The problem is that the American constitution has separated public and private as much as it does church and state. In the end, money won. The plans showed that if we joined with England, Germany could be beaten. Frankly, there were just more English decended families in power in congress at the time. Obviously in Germany corporatism was over-stateist and led by a madman, which led to extremes that made the choice a no-brainer. The important thing to note is that it was not the economic policy of Hitler but rather other more personal reasons that caused us to ally with the Allies. Likewise, Japan bombed us because they were invading China and the Phillipines, whom we had relations with/had a territory. So, it was a no-brainer.

But NOW, we have an entirely different power structure. There are many "free market" scholars who have long admired the structure of corporatism. So, you see some of these people's last gasp in the political arena as trying to make this leap. And so, just as Bush Cheney has broken the barriers of Church and State, they have also broken the barriers of public and private. And in many ways they have flat out BROKEN the LAW (and the constitution). They declared early that the president decides the law, so they made up their own book. And with Globalism, what will be the enevitable structure of this one world government? Not capitalism, that's for growth. Not communism, that's for stagnation. No, a perfectly controlled business environment, neo-corporatism, with some facets of democracy.

So now the competing philosophies in the high end of world leadership are differing only by what to do with US, the worker bees. I think corporatism could work, with healthcare, providing people the choice to shop for jobs, keeping their hands off my private life (whatever that is). The bottom line is that we are nearing Earth's comfortable carrying capacity. And while we have room in America, there isn't much anywhere else. The only question is whether it will benefit us the people. Will be be slaves, or will we get a permanent consumer vacation with 2.3 kids, robotic nanny and an electric car? Will it be the Jetsons or 1984?

Eyeroll (5, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308201)

...since these programs are classified "above top secret"...

Cripes, are people really this freakin' dense? Take a look in the dictionary under "top" and figure out what the word means. It means there ain't nuthin' above it!

The classification levels--- UNCLASSIFIED, CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET, TOP SECRET--- are all there are, and simply determine what general degree of security is required. Now, individual subjects or programs will be compartmentalized, which is the more specific degree of access limitation within the general classification (referred to as Sensitive Compartmented Information - SCI and Special Access Programs - SAP). Compartmentalization tells who, where, and how much information can be revealed, and is based entirely on need to know. For example, I had a TOP SECRET clearance when I was in the Army, but I was specifically cleared for only a narrow subset (i.e. a compartment) of TOP SECRET information which pertained to my specific job, that of HUMINT Collector. Since I did not need to know about the whatever the latest hypersonic spy plane test bed is, I could not drive into Area 51 and go look at it, despite it certainly being classified TOP SECRET, and me holding a TOP SECRET clearance. The idea that there's some super-secret classification level above top secret is idiocy spouted by moron UFO conspiracy nutjobs who can't even consult Wikipedia for a simple overview of the classification system [wikipedia.org].

Re:Eyeroll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308315)

Well their real classification system is even above above top secret so.

Re:Eyeroll (2, Insightful)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308325)

*cough*ULTRA*cough

Sorry, I was going to say that there is a certain precedent for clearence levels so high most people don't even know they exist. That's not to say that it's the case here, just that in general it's would be foolish to think that TOP SECRET is as high as you can go.

Re:Eyeroll (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308457)

Are you serious? A key point of the classification system is that the system itself is not classified.

As for "Ultra", perhaps you are referring to the British code name for all documents and intelligence related to the broken Enigma machines:

There are also compartments, or "code words", which pertain to specific projects, and are used to more easily manage which individuals require certain information. Code words are not levels of classification themselves, but a person working on a project may have the code word for that project added to his file, and then will be given access to the relevant documents. Code words may also label the sources of various documents; for example, there are code words used to indicate that a document may break the cover of intelligence operatives if its content becomes known. The WWII code word ULTRA identified information found by decrypting German ciphers, such as the Enigma machine, and which â" regardless of its own significance â" might inform the Germans that Enigma was broken if they became aware that it was known.

It is a form of the modern "compartmentalization". The information is still classified Top Secret, but only the members of certain intelligence communities may have access to that information. Look around on the comments, there are plenty of good posts on this already. There is no "above top secret" or similar classification.

Re:Eyeroll (3, Informative)

angio (33504) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308785)

That's only partly true. While the classification system is not classified, the names of specific compartments or special access programs can be and are classified. A nit, but might as well be accurate. :)

Re:Eyeroll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308719)

*cough*ULTRA*cough

Sorry, I was going to say that there is a certain precedent for clearence levels so high most people don't even know they exist. That's not to say that it's the case here, just that in general it's would be foolish to think that TOP SECRET is as high as you can go.

It would also be foolish to assume that they would not simply add your "ultra" moniker to a standard TS/SCI classification. Sorry, but it's difficult enough just managing SCI levels, let alone trying to come up with another level, no matter how exclusive the membership.

They don't call it compartmentalized for nothing. You don't actually think even the POTUS is briefed on EVERYTHING, do you?

Re:Eyeroll (3, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308789)

*cough*ULTRA*cough

Sorry, I was going to say that there is a certain precedent for clearence levels so high most people don't even know they exist. That's not to say that it's the case here, just that in general it's would be foolish to think that TOP SECRET is as high as you can go.

Jeebus, like I said, you need to read the Wikipedia link, you UFO nutcase.

First, the uses of "ULTRA" seen in the UFO conspiracy rags is as a caveat to the classification "TOP SECRET".
Second, there is no caveat of "ULTRA" in the current collection, and no, there are no "secret" caveats. There are classified SCIs and SAPs, but they are never indicated by a single word, much less a meaningful word like "ULTRA".

Re:Eyeroll (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308329)

Correct English is irrelevant because of how this is being used, so you are wrong here. The use here is not as adjectives but as nouns, names for the classifications. "Above" as an adjective describing the classifications above that classification with the name "Top Secret". There are actually 8-12 security classifications (I don't know exactly how many, and the people do won't tell you even this), but you won't find public mention of half. And, yes, that is if you look really hard too.

Re:Eyeroll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308369)

Yes, and if you had Teal Omega 1 clearance, you'd know just how many classifications we really have.

Re:Eyeroll (0, Flamebait)

AmericanPegasus (1099265) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308399)

Unfortunately, although you may be technically be right, it doesn't help that the link you provide clearly shows a level of security above 'Top Secret'. Claim that SCI is just a subset of Top Secret all you want, but the fact remains that there are programs out there who's classification level itself is a secret, so if you're not only not allowed to know that the program exists, but also not allowed to know how secret it is... that might be above knowing that something is 'Top Secret'.

Re:Eyeroll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308523)

It is true that certain compartments are themselves classified, but they still follow the same rules and logic as any standard SCI control system. The big 2 that everyone gets with a "de facto" SCI clearance are SI and TK, which are both unclassified control systems. Most other compartments have unclassified tri/digraphs where the word itself is classified.

You can also have data that is classified with multiple compartments and special access requirements that require joint handling within several control systems. These type of documents might have a header with 15 words on the top, but it's still a TS/SCI document. The bottom line is if there was really any data at such a level that it wouldn't fall within the US classification format, it wouldn't be marked as anything.

Re:Eyeroll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308409)

When'd you get out? Fellow HUMINTer here.

Re:Eyeroll (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308427)

Similarly absurd, I must share this story. I work for a company that provides services for a couple hospitals. These hospitals sent a request to the group running the system that handled laboratory reports. They requested that they add a new level of importance. High importance labs are sent STAT. But since every doctor sent his orders as STAT to get them faster, it turned out that everything was fifo. So, they requested that a new level be created, they wanted it to be SUPER STAT. Rather than work on changing the specifications for STAT, or in this case TOP SECRET, they just create a new level with a silly modifier like SUPER.

Re:Eyeroll (1)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308697)

That's what compartmentalization is for.

TS isn't about processing order, it is about access. They already have TS compartments that require polygraphs, lifestyle checks, etc. If they wanted an additional level of security, they'd just add a new compartment rather than try and create something "above" TS.

Re:Eyeroll (1)

chord.wav (599850) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308451)

Nigel Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and...
Obligatory Spinal Tap quote:

Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?
Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.
Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder?
Nigel Tufnel: Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?
Marty DiBergi: I don't know.
Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven.
Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder.
Marty DiBergi: Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?
Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to eleven.

Re:Eyeroll (1)

SmackedFly (957005) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308539)

Top Secret has quite specific meanings in American intelligence, above would just mean it goes beyond that. Even Top Secret has limits... Whether that is what's meant here I don't know though.

Article Summary is Paranoid Tripe (0, Troll)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308249)

Come on mods, at least edit out the obvious time-cube crap from the summary before posting these.

Jesus fucking christ, Fark is more accurate than this crap.

If I wanted paranoid shit, I would go to church.

The obvious reality... (0, Flamebait)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308453)

Is that the government has just awarded a top secret no-bid contract to Google Earth so that they are the only ones pay 72 billion dollars for the state of the art in web based intelligence that the rest of us just use for free.

Re:The obvious reality... (2, Informative)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308525)

You think it's funny, but it's not.

Google (well, Google's partner who actually own and put up the satellite, Google just licensed the data for online viewing), requires permission from the US gov't to put up a satellite.

As part of getting a license to do so, Google had to agree to:
a) give the US gov't access to the raw data for ALL images that the satellite takes
b) requires that images for civilian use is downsampled (I forget what the resolution that us plebs can view)

USA, Lost its way! (2, Insightful)

278MorkandMindy (922498) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308513)

This is yet another reason that USA appears to have lost its way.
FTFA "But as the Journal reported, Congress' "partial funding" for the program in "a little-debated $634 billion spending measure," "

Now assume for a second that this funding figure is correct, (the article reads a little like one of those conspiracy theory types are writing it) WTF is congress thinking?

The country is in meltdown that will NOT be stopped, the healthcare system is screwed (I am waiting for our system in Australia to fall that far) and congress thinks it is ok to spend that sort of money on spying on people?

I cheered when the first bailout bill failed. I hoped that it represented an outbreak of common sense. I hoped that the bailout would save the little guy, but NOT the banks.

This is the result of needing to have increasing profit, needing to have ways to make money that have ZERO actual use to the economy/population (they don't create anything, they don't help anyone, they just exist for people to gamble to make money)

Take a step back, large debt is bad. Always needing growth will eventually bite back.

To be on topic, this kind of spending seems to be indicative that NO lessons have been learned OR that the common man is as truly helpless as the "fat cats" seem to think

Re:USA, Lost its way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308713)

The country is in meltdown that will NOT be stopped, the healthcare system is screwed (I am waiting for our system in Australia to fall that far) and congress thinks it is ok to spend that sort of money on spying on people?

They'll be given little choice. After years of fighting about the Navy sonar shit "experiment" on grounds of damage to endangered species, the fucking white house wants to intrude on the court proceedings with their usual handwaving about, "This is a military need and the president declares it to be a matter of national security subject only to his presidential power to conduct the war on terrorism."

Fuck the "unitary president" theorists in their assholes with a ball of barbed wire.

Can't believe the captcha -- military

Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308583)

This is poorly-written alarmist nonsense. If you think this is "terrifying," you have serious problems.

I enjoy my privacy and all, but when I read reactions like this I just have to shake my head and laugh.

Limited utility (2, Insightful)

Jzanu (668651) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308613)

Considering the cost of these satellites and the relatively small amount of attitude control fuel, I can not see much use here. Drone aircraft are cheaper, and are effectively invisible at high altitudes. Especially since the shuttle is being retired, and the U.S. has no other satellite maintenance platforms.

Not enough to do? (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308639)

"NAO will coordinate how domestic law enforcement and "disaster relief" agencies such as FEMA use satellite imagery intelligence (IMINT) generated by U.S. spy satellites."

First off, lets set the record straight. FEMA is not a '"disaster relief"' agency. It is a disaster. Period. I cannot believe these people have nothing better to task these satellites with than watching ordinary citizens, scurrying about on the ground, going about their daily business. How about finding UBL? Wasn't that a 'pry-or-a-ty' of that inbred hick in the 'Oval Office'? Instead of eyeballing private citizens from space, why don't they find that asshole and put a Hellfire missile up his ass? American citizens may chide the the UK all they want for their nationwide deployment of CCTV cameras, but this is so wrong that it is embarrassing on a national level.
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