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                            THE WHITE HOUSE
                      Office of the Vice President
________________________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                                  February 24, 1995
          VICE PRESIDENT JOINS CIA DIRECTOR TO DECLASSIFY
                         SATELLITE IMAGERY
                Cold War-Era Information To Be Used
         For Environmental Studies, Civilian Applications
	Marking the signing of an Executive Order and a long-term effort
to use Cold War-era satellite imagery for environmental and civilian
uses, Vice President Al Gore today (2/24) joined Central Intelligence
Agency Acting Director William O. Studeman to declassify and release
more than 800,000 satellite images of the earth's surface collected
during a 12-year period by photo- reconnaissance satellites.
	"Today we have turned the swords of Cold War-era intelligence
gathering into plowshares of information that will help us to better
understand and analyze our global environment," Vice President Gore
said.
	President Clinton signed earlier this week an Executive Order
titled the Release of Imagery Acquired by Space-Based National
Intelligence Reconnaissance Systems.  It directs the declassification of
imagery obtained by the first generation of photo-reconnaissance
satellites, otherwise known as the Corona, Argon and Lanyard systems,
and will make available over an 18-month transition period more than
800,000 satellite images of the earth's surface collected by these
satellites between 1960 - 1972.
	The effort to declassify information gathered by the military
and intelligence agencies during the Cold War for civilian applications
was first proposed by Vice President Al Gore when he was a member of the
U.S. Senate.  Then- Senator Gore and Sen. Sam Nunn, D-GA, introduced
legislation in 1990 titled the Strategic Environmental Research Program,
which proposed shifting substantial Defense Department and intelligence
resources to address ecological problems.
	In 1992, at the request of then-Senator Gore and the former
Director of the CIA, Robert Gates, an Environmental Task Force was
convened to examine the usefulness of historic imagery archives for
scientific studies.  Today's declassification of the imagery follows
recommendations made to the White House by the CIA's Classification
Review Task Force led by the Central Imagery Office and Environmental
Task Force.
	  "The Cold War is over.  Communism has collapsed.  We no longer
face the threat of a large-scale war with the former Soviet Union," Vice
President Gore said.  "Selectively declassifying information we already
have gathered during this period is a common-sense way to address new
threats to global and regional security, including depletion of food and
water supplies and the ozone layer, large-scale destruction of forests,
and global warming linked to pollution."
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