Environmental Secrets; July 1995; Scientific American Magazine; by Beardsley; 2 Page(s)
The end of the cold war may not have produced a peace dividend, but it could still produce a treasure trove of data. A high-level committee of scientists is pioneering an effort to extract vital environmental measurements from classified information currently being gathered by spy satellites and other sensors. The potential utility of this information far exceeds that of the spy satellite pictures from the 1960s that President Bill Clinton ordered declassi fied this past February. Such access could permit precise assessments of deforestation and of possible indicators of global warming.
The committee studying the secret data is called Medea, after the sorceress of Colchis in Greek mythology. Medea helped Jason of the Argonauts steal the Golden Fleece and became his wife. Jason is, in turn, the name taken by another group of scientists that has for many years provided secret advice to the government on national security issues. (Medea and Jason are united in the person of a shared representative from the Central Intelligence Agency, Linda Zall.)