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NGA Satellite Photos used to Fight Drug Smugglers

pickens (49171) writes | more than 5 years ago

United States 0

Hugh Pickens writes "US News and World Reports reports that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), a part of the Department of Defense, is using satellites to track the activities of drug cartels operating along the U.S.-Mexican border and supplying photos to pinpoint Mexican narcotics operations and anticipate smuggling attempts into the United States. During a Phoenix conference on border security last week, Scott Zikmanis said his agency already has supplied some data to the El Paso Intelligence Center, a federal clearinghouse for the investigation of drug cartels. Any border-security surveillance will be done over Mexico, not the United States says Zikmanis because a federal law, the Posse Comitatus Act, strictly limits US military operations on American soil unless such operations are authorized by Congress and the use of satellite imagery for border security has been limited because of concerns about a military agency assisting domestic law enforcement. Zikmanis said he has worked for a federal drug-interdiction agency in Florida and is eager to help with border security. "I've got pictures of me (from Florida) sitting on a half-million dollars of cocaine. I love those pictures. I want more of them." Civil rights attorneys question the use of satellite technology in law enforcement. "We are in the midst of a really dangerous time in terms of technology," said Chris Calabrese, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. "The idea that such a powerful tool might be turned on U.S. citizens is really troubling.""

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