JUSTIN ROOD
ABC News
May 16, 2008

The Department of Homeland Security wants to set up a new program to illegally spy on Americans, two senior Democratic lawmakers charged Thursday in a letter urging colleagues to deny funds for the program.

In a letter to three colleagues obtained by ABC News, House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, Miss., and Rep. Jane Harman, Calif., voiced objections to a new office DHS wants to create that would share the detailed surveillance capabilities of military intelligence satellites and other monitoring technology with state and local law enforcement.

The size of the National Applications Office, as DHS has named it, and its proposed budget, remain classified. The department has said the office would not traffic in eavesdropped conversations. It would primarily be used to share data from military assets for disaster response, monitoring climate change and other purposes, according to DHS.

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