DHS caught using drones to surveil populace over large parts of U.S. outside border zones

By Shepard Ambellas | Intellihub.com

While the drones can’t see through walls, they can look into yards

(Photo Credit:  energylabsbr /Flickr)
(Photo Credit: energylabsbr

A new report suggests that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may have some explaining to do after a government accountability audit showed that aerial drones equipped with surveillance equipment flew over large parts of the United States, even assisting law enforcement and other agencies on missions from time to time.

The report, written by Brittany M. Hughes, concludes that aerial drones were indeed flown outside of approved and mandated border patrol zones to in fact spy on American citizens being monitored by the police or FBI. Moreover, “1,726 hours” of flight were logged between “fiscal 2011 through this April” outside of border zones, i.e. over the interior of the U.S..

In the article titled GAO: DHS Flew Drones for 1,726 Hours Over Interior of U.S., Hughes points out how the DHS is allowed to use drones for other reasons. Hughes wrote:

“DHS’s review reported that CBP operates UAS in accordance with its authorities, which do not limit use to border and coastal areas,” the GAO reported on briefing slide No. 2. “The location of UAS operations is limited by FAA requirements and CPB policies and procedures.”

These flights included missions to “provide aerial support for local law enforcement activities and investigations,” to agencies including the FBI and multi-agency task forces, and to “provide aerial support for monitoring natural disasters,” the report added on slide No. 11.

The GAO also referenced the 639-page Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 — the law that Congress passed with bipartisan support in January that fully funded the federal government for the remainder of fiscal 2014. Buried on page 250 of that law is verbiage that provides DHS with the authority to fly border patrol drones inside the United States for purposes other than border or immigration enforcement at the “discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security.”

Furthermore, after a request, Rebecca Gambler the director for Homeland Security and Justice for the Government Accountability Office told CNS News that she could not provide a breakdown or details showing exactly when, where, and how the 1,726 hours of flight were logged. Meaning, the GAO’s audit was likely left vague on purpose to thwart researchers from digging deeper.

Shockingly the Government Accountability Office admits that while the drones can’t see through wall of homes and business, they may be able to look into yards.

About the author:

shepard bio photoShepard Ambellas is the founder, editor-in-chief of Intellihub News and the maker of SHADE the Motion Picture. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook. Shepard also appears on the Travel Channel series America Declassified. You can also listen to him on Coast To Coast AM.

For media inquires, interviews, questions or suggestions for this author, email: shepard@intellihub.com.

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