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FBI director admits domestic use of drones.

I think there needs to be a re-set in our country.  This is getting out of control.

The FBI uses drones for domestic surveillance purposes, the head of the agency told Congress early Wednesday.

Robert Mueller, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, confirmed to lawmakers that the FBI owns several unmanned aerial vehicles, but has not adopted any strict policies or guidelines yet to govern the use of the controversial aircraft.

I guess that means you have to use it before you figure out what you do with it.
“Does the FBI use drones for surveillance on US soil?” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Mr. Mueller during an oversight hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Yes,” Mueller responded bluntly, adding that the FBI’s operation of drones is “very seldom.”

So we don't use them a lot...yet....with arms......
Asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) to elaborate, Mueller added, “It’s very seldom used and generally used in a particular incident where you need the capability.” Earlier in the morning, however, Mueller said that the agency was only now working to establish set rule for the drone program.
That's comforting.....

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:33:12 AM PDT

  •  Local police use drones. Have been doing so (7+ / 0-)

    for years.  Where have you been?

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:43:02 AM PDT

  •  How is this any different... (9+ / 0-)

    ...from using a helicopter or an airplane to perform surveillance?

    •  It doesn't concern you (3+ / 0-)

      that our Government is getting out of control?

      They would never do anything with a drone that would infringe on our right to privacy......

      The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

      by ctexrep on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:54:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't see this... (8+ / 0-)

        ...as the government getting out of control.  Law enforcement agencies have done surveillance from the air for as long as I can remember.  The drone is just a way to do it cheaper and more safely.

        •  Did you read the part in the diary (4+ / 0-)

          where the Director of the FBI admitted that they have NO policies and procedures in place for the use of drones?  Do you think law enforcement agencies don't have policies and procedures in place for surveillance from the air?  So why should the FBI be any different?  You do get that it's our tax dollars that are paying for these drones and that we have the right to know what those policies and procedures say?  

          "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

          by 3goldens on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:59:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  no. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            erush1345, VClib
            Do you think law enforcement agencies don't have policies and procedures in place for surveillance from the air?
          •  I imagine that... (5+ / 0-)

            ...whatever policies they have for aerial surveillance would apply to drones as well.  
            If their present policies are inadequate, then I'm all for tightening them up.  But if that's the case, it's not a new problem.

            •  Well, you don't know that for fact, do you? (0+ / 0-)

              We can each "imagine" a lot of things about what policies and procedures control the use of drones.  But the fact remains, that the Director of the FBI said today that the FBI does not have policies or procedures in place for their use.  THAT is concerning giving the fact that he stated they do use drones.  And what you or I think "isn't a new problem" doesn't matter----whether it's a "new" or an "old" problem isn't the issue.  The issue is that they do not have policies and procedures in place yet.

              "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

              by 3goldens on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:27:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I haven't seen a transcript of the testimony. (0+ / 0-)

                The diarist quotes:
                 

                Robert Mueller, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, confirmed to lawmakers that the FBI owns several unmanned aerial vehicles, but has not adopted any strict policies or guidelines yet to govern the use of the controversial aircraft.
                I'd like to see exactly what was asked and what the answer was.  Because, if the question was "have you adopted new policies or guidelines regarding the use of drones," and the answer was, "no, they fall under the same rules as other airborne surveillance methods," the quoted passage would be accurate.  And I would not have a problem with that answer, providing that the existing policies make sense.  

                In fact, I don't want to see guidelines issued for the use of drones that don't also apply to other methods of surveillance.

      •  Come on, (0+ / 0-)

        if you consent to the American government flying drones over Pakistan (the 'awayland') you'd be foolish not to expect your government also flying them over the 'homeland'.

        Dissolve Israel; stop distinguishing between jew and non-jew in Palestine.

        by high5 on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 10:48:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Or our right to live? n/t (0+ / 0-)

        Information is the currency of democracy. ~Thomas Jefferson

        by CIndyCasella on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 07:55:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  FBI isn't the only one (9+ / 0-)

    universities, NOAA...the weather service, the park service, the geological survey...

    drones are our reality's answer to zepplins

    ( to explain the reference, it's the number one sign that you're in an alternate universe. there are zepplins everywhere, providing surveillence. really.)

  •  Drones have been in use along the Mexican (6+ / 0-)

    border for years. Cochise County Community College has a program that trains operators.

  •  FAA Reauthorization Act, passed (5+ / 0-)

    by Congress in 2012- (clicking link opens entire text of bill in PDF format)

    Use search term: Unmanned


    Information is power. But; like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. Aaron Swartz ~1986-2013~

    by Lisa Lockwood on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:55:35 AM PDT

  •  The government is also (13+ / 0-)

    not using rotary dial phones and manual typewriters anymore.  Go figure.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:00:07 AM PDT

  •  They already do flyovers using C130's to check... (5+ / 0-)

    for pot fields and other "nefarious" activity on the ground where we live here in rural America.  They fly so slow, you can wave to the pilot and co-pilot, and sometimes they wave back!

    Heck...Drones will save the Feds, and other local "over zealous" law enforcement professionals" big $$$.

    (Snark, but the flying over our area, is the truth...  And some really do wave back.....)

    “The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.” - Voltaire.

    by LamontCranston on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:20:46 AM PDT

  •  Next thing you know they'll put cops in (10+ / 0-)

    cars and have them patrol through neighborhoods. After that they'll put radios in the cars.  

    Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    by thestructureguy on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:36:07 AM PDT

  •  I do agree with you that it's rather (5+ / 0-)

    concerning that the FBI Director admits that there are NO written policies and procedures on their use of drones.  I'm not fond of the fact that they have several of them, however I can understand their use as surveillance vehicles in certain types of crimes.  However, it's really inexplicable that there were not policies and procedures governing their use prior to the drones ever going into use.  That's really lame on the part of the FBI.  Having worked in a healthcare setting, I can guarantee you that when the latest piece of equipment comes through the door, the policies and procedures have been written, vetted, and signed off on by the CEO long before the equipment arrives.  Drones, as high-tech equipment, should be treated no differently.

    "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

    by 3goldens on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:55:07 AM PDT

    •  I just wonder how many people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens

      if we had a President Cheney - would be singing the ....Oh, just get with the times....it's no big deal.

      Even if it was well defined - how long until (or maybe we already have) a secret domestic drone spying plan.

       One commenter wrote:

      It's not time for hair on fire but it is time for informed critical thinking skills and responsible government with a reasonable and easily achievable maturity level .....
      I may agree but where does this "responsible Government" that has a "maturity level" appear from?

      Even when you think you have elected someone such as that (hint, hint the current POTUS) you're usually wrong.  That's why, if I had hair - it would be on fire - who is trustworthy with that kind of power?

      The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

      by ctexrep on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 10:38:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The willing trustfulness of some here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ctexrep

        because it's a Democratic president is disturbing, especially when these same people would be screaming bloody murder if it were a Republican president doing what this President and the intelligence communities are doing.  The fact that they are also willingly going along with messing with the 4th Amendment of the Constitution as well as giving away rights that many of us do NOT want taken away raises questions in my mind if there is anything they'll stand up for as long as it's a Dem president doing it.  "My President right or wrong" is a really authoritarian follower phrase and people who shout it are showing their true values.

        As to the commenter's quote you shared, what that individual wrote would be laughable if it did not display a very serious failure to understand the fine line this government is walking between authoritarian control of the lives of its citizens and democracy. Their laissez-faire approach to intelligence gathering on its citizens is nothing to excuse or brush off as some are doing.   I wonder sometimes what kind of mindset is behind what the commenter wrote.  It displays a breath-taking naiveté OR someone who is parroting what they've heard and without really understanding it, have gone on repeating it.  And there's probably a lot more excuses/explanations behind the mindset as well and none of them acceptable.

        "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

        by 3goldens on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:19:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't get it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens

          I know this is a Democratic site but it usually has some thinkers....I guess there are a lot of people who are fine with this - and that's disturbing.  There are so many examples of breach of trust - infringement of our rights by our elected officials and those civil servants who work in a non elected capacity - that even the most trusting person, should take notice.  Typically, I'm only a sarcastic douche bag when being dismissed - I love a debate - it's how you learn...but how do you discuss when you get a dickish comment like:

          The government is also not using rotary dial phones and manual typewriters anymore.  Go figure.
          I can only answer with sarcasm because if I wrote what I wanted to say...I'd be more of a needle dick that the commenter who posted it...oops - I think I slipped with that - Oh well - at least I typed it on a computer than on the old IBM Selectric...

          The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

          by ctexrep on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:17:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  so what is it about drones specifically that has (0+ / 0-)

            you concerned?

          •  I share your feelings. The necessity for some (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ctexrep

            to just jab, jab, jab constantly at others while avoiding writing anything of value that would further discussion and understanding leaves me shaking my head.  Opinions count more than facts with some; smartass remarks count more than thoughtful and thought-provoking comments.  On a lighter note, I have to say that I laughed at your last sentence because I learned to type on an IBM Model C----moving up to a Selectric was a really big deal!  ;)

            "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

            by 3goldens on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:29:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I see you've immediately drawn (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania

    the usual "old news" dismissal from the usual suspect(s). C'mon, though. We all figured it was a small step from remote control helicopter-like toys at Radio Shack to somebody mounting a nice spy camera and using this technology to do the obvious, didn't we? Still, it never hurts to keep this sort of stuff front and center as we attempt to have the 'debate' Obama claimed he wants on the subject of We The People now being considered Enemies Of The State.

    Long years ago when Hippies got a bad name for having entirely too much fun, the local police weren't even bothering to hide the fact that we were all under surveillance. After awhile of having our own personal patrol cars following us everywhere we went (then spending entire shifts parked out front or back to ensure we were always "well protected"), we got friendly. Always with the cheery greeting and farewell salute when they got off duty, taking them donuts and coffee during the long, boring stake-outs outside the house or workplace, Christmas cards... it wasn't that big a city.

    After a series of exceptionally egregious raids and attempted busts (they never actually got anybody doing anything bad, because we all knew where they were at any given time) we took to following them around as obviously as they'd been following us. All in good fun back in those innocent late-60s years in Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA. Eventually they gave it up and went back to chasing criminals.

    I'm wondering if we shouldn't be turning the tables on 'em now, too.

    •  Mounting a camera on a RC plane (6+ / 0-)

      Someone did that in our area, with surprising results. He discovered a local slaughter house was dumping pig blood in the river.

      This sickening, disgusting situation was discovered in November, when the operator of a camera-equipped, remote-controlled aircraft spotted a large red splotch working its way down Cedar Creek from the Cadillac Heights neighborhood. Without the hobbyist’s subsequent tip to authorities, who knows how long it would have taken inspectors to discover the unauthorized dumping pipe at the Columbia Packing Co. slaughterhouse, which is suspected to be the source of the toxic waste?
      http://www.dallasnews.com/...

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 10:46:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They should prosecute (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gary Norton, Catte Nappe, Adam AZ, Joieau

        that hobbyist for invasion of privacy.

        /snark, just in case.

        47 is the new 51!

        by nickrud on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 10:50:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Some people prefer that option (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erush1345, KenBee, nickrud, Joieau

          It wasn't illegal for him to do then, but it is now.

          The House just passed a bill that would impose civil and criminal penalties for possession of images of private property taken without permission by an unmanned aircraft.
          http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/...

          It subsequently passed in the Senate, and has since been signed by the Gov.

          “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

          by Catte Nappe on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 11:28:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Did they own the stream? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau

            I think he'd still have a leg to stand on there.

            47 is the new 51!

            by nickrud on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:08:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hard to say (0+ / 0-)

              The pix included the private property of the plant.

              The actual language lists a whole raft of people who can legally photograph - law enforcement, oil and gas exploration, real estate brokers, etc. When it comes to private individuals it speaks to "intent to surveille" which this hobbyist wasn't intending to do. It lets such folk off the hook if they destroy the images.

              In any event,in language that seems to target this very incident it says that images captured incidentally to lawful images can't be used as evidence in criminal, civil or adminstrative cases. The full text in pdf:
              http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/...

              One analysis

              Earlier this month, the Texas bill received sharp criticism from an unlikely coalition of groups, including the Motion Picture Association of America and the National Press Photographers Association, who said that the ban on citizen drones is at odds with First Amendment rights. "A journalist (or ordinary citizen) monitoring an environmental spill, documenting the aftermath of a disaster or simply monitoring traffic conditions could easily be committing a crime under this bill. This would create an enormous burden on speech that is clearly constitutionally protected," the groups wrote in a letter.
              http://www.theverge.com/...

              Illinois also has passed a drone law, to protect hunters and fishermen from PETA.
              http://qctimes.com/...

              “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

              by Catte Nappe on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:38:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  i'm cool with that! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, Joieau

        you've just given me a project ID for when I get bored later this summer.

  •  The ease with which we can find and hook up... (0+ / 0-)

    ...with whatever match we desire - globally - is a product of technology that is in the hands of everyone today - professionally, publicly, and personally - the good guys and the bad guys.  The more money and metal that is thrown at the tasks the higher order results. The greater the perceived benefits the more effort and resources will be devoted.

    Americans simply need to define the rules, our expectations, and how Constitutional rights will or won't be upheld and how over reach and excess will be identified and dealt with.

    For instance, the whole business model of insurance is obsolete in a world (one very possible today) where our DNA is instantly accessed with our birth certificates, linked to our education, medical records, purchases and lifestyles easily predicting with high degrees or accuracy what will happen next. What is an actuary in that (this) world?

    It's not time for hair on fire but it is time for informed critical thinking skills and responsible government with a reasonable and easily achievable maturity level but one much higher than what we have today.

  •  Are they Armed is the next logical question (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ctexrep, Paul Ferguson
  •  Oh NOOS DROOONZZZes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib

    So the FBI has un-personed aircraft now which are cheaper and safer to fly then the personed aircraft they had before. How does this change anything other than the FBI being more efficient? What rights are eroded away?

     Aside from vague assertions that this is worse and some name calling, I haven't read anything that says why the un-personed aircraft is more damaging to civil liberties than the personed ones. Is it their efficientcy that makes them worse?

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