Scandal du jour: FBI using drones over US

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by thisnumbersdisconnected, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. thisnumbersdisconnected

    thisnumbersdisconnected
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    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/201...xplain-drone-use-as-obama-names-new-director/

    As President Obama nominates a new FBI director, the bureau is coming under rising pressure from lawmakers to explain the limits of its recently disclosed drone fleet.

    Civil liberties-minded senators on both sides of the aisle have fired off sharply worded letters and statements in recent days criticizing the FBI for deploying surveillance drones without clear guidance on how to protect privacy rights.

    Without clear guidance? Really?? I would think the Constitution gives pretty clear guidance.
     
  2. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
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    From the article cited my initial take is the FBI is using the craft in the same way it would use a helecopter equiped with cameras and a data down link. The drone is just quieter and has a longer loiter time. Again from the article, the craft is hand launched and battery powered. I take this to mean it's basically a radio-guided aircraft on steroids.
     
  3. TCassidy

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    Drones (UAVs) have been used domestically for almost a decade. NASA's Ihkana, which is a modified RQ-9 Predator B was used in 2006, 2009, and 2012 to fight the wild fires in southern California.

    The RQ-9 was equipped with a infra-red detector that could see through all the smoke and see exactly where the fire tankers needed to drop their loads for the best effect.

    When the FFA finally allowed the RQ-9 to fly over CONUS, 4 days into the fire without any significant containment, the Predator was able to direct drops that had the fires 100% contained in less than 24 hours.

    Ikhana joins NASA's earlier drone, Altair, which has flown since 2003. And prior to that NASA flew an ALTUS II, based on the Predator A, as early as 1996.

    What is interesting is that Ikhana helped saved the General Atomics factory where it was manufactured. :)

    ALTUS II: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/FactSheets/FS-058-DFRC.html

    Ikhana: http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/601239main_Ikhana-ebook.pdf
     
  4. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    For the exact reasons as mentioned by Squire (quieter, longer loiter time, semi-stealthy), drone use for surveillance in the US is not legal unless approved by the FAA. The FBI apparently hasn't circumvented those rules, but there are no guidelines in place for use by law enforcement, which is why the drones that have been is use for several years are mostly grounded right now. The FBI should be no exception.

    As Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) pointed out in a quote from the articlet, there aren't any guidelines in place.

    "I am disturbed by the revelation that the FBI has unilaterally decided to begin using drone surveillance technology without a governance policy, and thus without the requisite assurances that the constitutional rights of Americans are being protected.

    And Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) made a more serious allegation, specifically that the FBI was asked about drones once before and denied their use, or plans to implement them.

    ... Grassley ... who originally asked Mueller about the drone program, also wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday seeking "clarification" regarding a prior response from the department that did not disclose the FBI's drones. He, too, asked Holder to explain when the FBI began using them, what checks are in place for the program and whether any are capable of being armed.

    What FISA says and what is being allowed are two vastly different things. The Bush era Patriot Act specifically forbids these activities without prior authorization, and it is apparent those who are able to give that authorization were never informed of the program.
     
  5. TCassidy

    TCassidy
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    Except the drones are still flying. There are currently 327 active FAA permits for drones to fly over the US. DHS/CBP flies10 RQ-9 Reaper/Predator B drones on several missions every day. One group flies patrol over the Canadian border out of Minot Air Force Base in Minot, North Dakota. Two groups fly patrol over the Mexican border out of Ft. Huachuca located in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Another two groups fly out of Florida and Texas to help with maritime/drug interdiction operations. Those drones might also be the source of all those recorded cell phone calls as the drones are equipped with electronic communication interception equipment. Watch out, big brother may not be watching but he certainly is listening! :)

    http://endthelie.com/2013/03/01/rec...pt-electronic-communications-identify-people/
     
    #5 TCassidy, Jun 22, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2013
  6. thisnumbersdisconnected

    thisnumbersdisconnected
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    None of which are the FBI. The whole issue is, ICE has approval from Congress to use drones to patrol the border. Fifteen police departments have permits to fly drones experimentally to study their effectiveness in crime prevention. The FBI? Yeah, they've got FAA permits, but they don't have Congressional approval. And Mueller denied using drones two months ago only to have it now come out that they've been flying them for over a year. This administration has let loose a level of surveillance that is unprecedented in a democratic nation, and have no compunction about violating federal directives and laws in doing so. It is time to oust them before they eliminate our freedoms via executive order.
     
  7. TCassidy

    TCassidy
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    CBP and FBI are both DHS.
     

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