During a Senate Oversight Hearing on the FBI today, Director Mueller was asked by Senator Grassley if domestic drones were used on American soil.
He responded that yes, they were used. But, “in a very very minimal way. Very seldom.”
So the FBI has used drones for domestic surveillance. Can you just imagine if this “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill becomes law, the amount of domestic surveillance will probably more than quadruple.
According to the immigration bill, drones (neutered, or un-armed) will be a vital part of the border security measure that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Military will use to conduct their surveillance and operations along the border.
Most do not know this, but the bill mandates that the National Guard, if deployed, would assist the U.S. Customs and Border Protection with border protection, and their duties would include, helping construct any and all border fencing, increase ground-based mobile surveillance, and deploying “additional unmanned aerial systems and manned aircraft sufficient to maintain continuous surveillance of the Southern Border.”
But then the bill specifically outlines that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection roll alongside the U.S. Military would include the deployment of “additional mobile, video, and agent-portable surveillance systems, and unmanned aerial vehicles in the Southwest Border region as necessary to provide 24-hour operation and surveillance,” as well as “operateunarmed unmanned aerial vehicles”and “deploy unarmed additional fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters along the Southern border.”
It is unclear whether the U.S. military will cease using armed drones and helicopters when working alongside the U.S. Border Patrol or if it will be ordered to follow an almost non-existent domestic ‘Rules of Engagement’ policy. Note that the bill does not specify if the “unarmed helicopters” would be allowed to have armed military personnel aboard the aircraft or if it simply means that the aircraft is fitted with weapons.