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FBI Director: Drones ARE Used for Domestic Surveillance in U.S.

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FBI Director Robert Mueller says the FBI uses drones to watch specific targets within the United States.

Mueller told senators the agency uses drones infrequently for surveillance in the U.S., and only in regards to specific investigations.

“Our footprint is very small,” Mueller said in testimony. “We have very few and have limited use.”
Mueller said the FBI was in “the initial stages” of developing privacy guidelines for how the agency balances civil liberty concerns with security threats.

Mueller made the revelation before the Senate Judiciary Committee after being questioned by the panel’s ranking member, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). The news comes amid a debate over National Security Agency programs used to collect U.S. phone records and overseas Internet data.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Mueller that she believes drones are the most dangerous threat to the privacy of Americans, particularly the use of drones by private companies.
Mueller sought to assure Feinstein that the FBI’s use of drones was “very seldom” and only used in isolated instances.
“It’s very seldom used and generally used in a particular incident where you need the capability,” said Mueller.
“It is very narrowly focused on particularized needs in particularized cases, and that is the principle of privacy limitations we have.”

Mueller said he wasn’t certain whether the FBI had any official agreements with other agencies — such as the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security — to receive assistance in the agency’s use of drones.
“To the extent that it relates to the air space there would be some communication back and forth [between agencies],” Mueller said.

Mueller’s acknowledgment Wednesday comes in the wake of a series of escalating tensions between the Obama administration and Congress over the broad use of drones, both domestically and overseas.

While Mueller told lawmakers that the FBI uses drones domestically only for surveillance purposes, members have had growing concerns over the use of armed drones.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) made headlines in the lead-up to CIA Director John Brennan’s confirmation earlier this year when he delivered a 13-hour talking filibuster aimed at delaying the vote until the administration told him that it could not legally kill U.S. citizens on American soil using a drone strike, which Attorney General Eric Holder ultimately did.
The use of drones by the American military and the CIA to attack terrorists began under former President George W. Bush, but President Obama has increased the use of the armed, unmanned aerial vehicles dramatically — largely in the Middle East — to target individuals his administration suspects are carrying out acts of terrorism.

Read more at The Hill

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  • susan5042

    Since when does Feinstein care about our privacy? She’s full of BS!

  • Hoodoo H

    I call BS on this one!
    Get those damn things outta our privacy. We can’t even have intimate relations w our spouse, for fear that some kook is watching with IR from the drones. S__t’s being abused as I write this. So, don’t tell me this can’t/won’t happen.

  • foxxybey

    And when and how will they be used against those who believe the government is destroying the Constitution and enslaving the people to their plantation of all races and colors? Soon as the Islamic-in-chief thinks those who are true believers are the terrorist and has said so. Ready to die for freedom? Or live under a Nazi government who wants to be your masters, it’s a choice, real choice not like the unborn who are murdered to please the little gods of this world. Those who marry for sex and have children and then turn them over to the socialist school system to make them good little brown shirts for the government, homosexuals who get special rights for the way they have sex and called normal, if so your the problem, the down fall of the nation. Washington said “When America turns it’s back on God, we will be a nation no more”, can read it at St Pauls Chapel across from where the twin towers stood. Strange most don’t know Washington took his oath of office there rather then DC?

  • Robert S Moulds

    Should not drones be used on terrorist and not to spy on the American people it is bad enough they evesdrop on our computers and phones.

  • barbarabarbara

    Diane Feinstein finally said something intelligent, but does she really care about our privacy? She only cares about herself and her job security on Capitol Hill. Maybe SHE has something to hide.

  • foxxybey

    Have seen a few in my area and almost hit two different incoming jets, so a danger to flying and the people they spy on.

  • RedMeatState

    very small footprint today, very large footprint tomorrow.