The Secret Is Out

The National Reconnaissance Office has been assisting federal agencies with overhead imagery to aid planning for Hurricane Katrina relief operations. The NRO has been “providing direct support” at the request of FEMA, according to NRO director Don Kerr. FEMA needs “a view of how things are, instead of how they were.” Kerr said it’s not the first time his outfit has helped with a disaster, having assisted with forest fire imagery and, last December, the tsunami relief effort. The imagery can’t be released publicly because it would show NRO’s capabilities, but Kerr said that FEMA has “people with the proper access and knowledge of what our systems do” who can make the most of it. —From John A. Tirpak