In rare public comments as the NRO turns 50, director Bruce Carlson lambasted its failed multibillion-dollar satellite program known as Future Imagery Architecture as a "colossal failure." The original contract was canceled because of cost overruns and technological failures.
Carlson says all NRO programs are back on schedule and under budget. He hails the recent launch of six satellites in seven months as "the best we've done in about 25 years."
The NRO was founded in 1961 to spy on the Soviet Union, China and other enemies in the U.S. battle against communism.