GAO report on NAO disputes Chertoff claims of compliance

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released its full public report on the status of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Applications Office (NAO) compliance with current legal, privacy and civil liberties standards.

On April 9, 2008, in a letter to Members of Congress, DHS secretary Michael Chertoff certified that the NAO complies with all existing laws, including all applicable privacy and civil liberties standards. The Secretary also provided a charter for the office, privacy and civil liberties impact assessments, and NAO standard operating procedures.

The GAO report disputes that claim of full compliance.

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President signs bill turning military spy satellites on U.S.

An appropriations bill signed by President Bush last week allows the controversial National Applications Office (NAO) to begin operating a stringently limited version of a program which would turn military spy satellites on the United States, sharing imagery with other federal, state, and local government agencies.

Both Congress and the GAO have expressed concern that the practice may be in violation of some laws and may be used for spying on U.S. Citizens.