Engadgets headline US signals-intelligence agency says ‘overflying’ China has “no intention of doing that”.
The US National Security Agency (NSA) has denied claims made by a group of American lawmakers that the country is building two new satellites to spy on China, as it sought to bolster its surveillance capabilities against the country’s growing military capabilities.
The US Congress last week demanded that the NSA halt the project that has seen the agency use advanced technology to create a new type of “overwatch” satellite that it hopes will enable the agency to “overfly” the Chinese military, according to a statement by Republican Senator Ron Wyden.”NSA will continue to work to identify the best ways to leverage the technology to help us better protect the homeland,” the statement said.
The surveillance programme has been under review by the National Intelligence Council, the group that advises the president.
“We’re going to continue to explore all options to protect our people and our interests and to keep our nation safe,” NSA spokesperson Vanee Vines told Reuters.
“This will continue until it is appropriate for the President to make a decision to halt it.”
The NSA has said it has not seen any specific intelligence from China that would justify the use of a new spy satellite.
But it has repeatedly said it is looking at using advanced technology in the future.
A spokesman for the committee, Democrat Senator Ron Johnson, said the bill was not meant to be a blanket ban on any technology, but instead it was “designed to make clear what types of technologies are being investigated”.
“This is a way for the Intelligence Committee to be informed and to give the intelligence community and the President a clearer picture of what we’re looking at,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Wyden said he did not expect to see the legislation move through the Senate before Christmas.
She said she had seen no evidence that the spy satellite programme was going ahead, but added: “It’s really important that the American people understand what we are doing.”US Congress demands NSA stop building new spy satellites article The US Congress on Wednesday demanded that Washington stop building two spy satellites that are being developed to spy over China.
Republican Senator Ron Wilson, who is sponsoring the legislation, said he wanted to stop the programme from going ahead.
“I am not going to let this program go forward without being clear and unambiguous about what it is that the President wants,” he told reporters in the Senate.
“If the president is not clear and clear, he will not be able to pass this legislation.”
The surveillance programmes have been under investigation by the intelligence committees of both houses of Congress for months.US spy satellites have been used to monitor China since at least the 1960s.
The satellite programme is part of the so-called “Five Eyes” international surveillance alliance, which includes the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
The latest satellite, called Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Satellite (STEREO), is being built by Lockheed Martin and is scheduled to launch in 2021.
A report in the New York Times on Wednesday said that while China has not accused the US of spying on it, it has long complained about US surveillance of its communications networks.
“In recent years, Chinese officials have been increasingly critical of US surveillance activities,” the report said.
“They have long accused the United Nations of acting in a way that has made it easier for them to spy, and in recent years China has also complained that US eavesdropping has been carried out in secret.”
China also has concerns about the scope of the surveillance that the United State is undertaking in China and the extent to which the NSA has violated Chinese sovereignty and territorial claims,” the Times reported.
In July, US lawmakers called on the White House to stop buying new spy equipment.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which has not yet approved the legislation.