Inside Washington

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The CIA and Defense Department are about to harness some of their most sensitive technologies against a new enemy: cancer. Highly classified imaging techniques used in spy aircraft and satellites will now be adapted to spot breast tumors, according to Clinton Administration officials, who will announce the plan this week. "Defense and CIA capabilities are estimated to be about 10 years ahead of medical imaging," says Dr. Susan Blumenthal, deputy Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services. But researchers believe technology that enables computers to recognize the shadowy outlines of enemy positions -- say, tanks hidden behind trees -- can also be used to pick up the earliest glimmers of lesions in dense breast tissue.