In a newly released report, the pentagon admits that it has deployed drones to spy over U.S. territory for non-military missions over the last decade, but says the missions are rare and in accordance with the law.
The report by a Pentagon inspector general, made public by a Freedom of Information Act request, claims that spy drones missions have occurred fewer than 20 times between 2006-2015 for non-military purposes.
The Military Times reports:
The report, which did not provide details on any of the domestic spying missions, said the Pentagon takes the issue of military drones used on American soil “very seriously.”
A senior policy analyst for the ACLU, Jay Stanley, said it is good news no legal violations were found, yet the technology is so advanced that it’s possible laws may require revision.
“Sometimes, new technology changes so rapidly that existing law no longer fit what people think are appropriate,” Stanley said. “It’s important to remember that the American people do find this to be a very, very sensitive topic.”
In 2013, then-FBI director Robert Mueller told Congress his agency had used unmanned aerial surveillance (UAS) drones over U.S. territory but only in a “very, very minimal way, very seldom.”
All requests to use the military spy drones over the U.S. have to be approved by the Secretary of Defense. The report claims that some requests have been denied, including an instance of an unnamed mayor who asked the Marine Corps to use a drone to find potholes in his city.
Drone technology is being adopted nation wide by state and local law enforcement operations and has been used hundreds of times for domestic surveillance.
A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation revealed that the Customs and Border Protection, which has the largest U.S. drone fleet of its kind outside the Defense Department, flew nearly 700 domestic surveillance missions on behalf of other agencies from 2010 to 2012.
Perhaps one of the most commonly known cases of domestic drone surveillance use inside the U.S. was when a North Dakota rancher was surveilled by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Predator drone because of accusations of stealing cattle. The surveillance drone aided in the arrest of the Rancher.
Via Planet Free Will