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FBI admits to flying drones over US without warrants

 
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07/27/2013 12:54 PM
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FBI admits to flying drones over US without warrants
The FBI uses UAVs in very limited circumstances to conduct surveillance when there is a specific, operational need,” the letter reads. “Since late 2006, the FBI has conducted surveillance using UAVs in eight criminal cases and two national security cases.”

The bureau said that it would only be required to obtain a warrant to use a drone in cases for which a person “would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.” The FBI stated that it has not yet needed to ask for a warrant, but that all requests for drone use must be reviewed by an agency lawyer and approved by a senior management official.

The agency said that one of the cases involved the rescue of a five-year-old boy who was being held hostage in an underground bunker. The information strongly suggests that the agency was referring to the Alabama hostage crisis in which a retired truck driver kidnapped a boy from a school bus and held him hostage for six days.

Drone usage was also authorized in three additional cases, but the FBI did not release details about the nature of those circumstances.

[link to rt.com]
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Re: FBI admits to flying drones over US without warrants
The US Federal Aviation Administration expects that anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 drones will be traversing American airspace in just a few years’ time, but little rules if any have been formally adopted as of yet to impose restrictions on what exactly UAVs are able to do. A handful of local law enforcement agencies already rely on drones in certain situations, and federal entities like the Department of Homeland Security have an arsenal of surveillance drones of their own. Speaking before the Senate at the dawn of the drone age, members of law enforcement and privacy advocates alike spoke openly on Wednesday to discuss with lawmakers what the future holds for the controversial unmanned aircraft.
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Re: FBI admits to flying drones over US without warrants
The Federal Aviation Administration is currently considering ground rules that will outline how the FAA can govern domestic drone use, and by 2020 they expect to see 30,000 UAVs soaring through US airspace. Speaking before a House panel on Wednesday, though, Sec. Napolitano suggested that deploying UAVs proactively to put an extra set over locales nowhere near America’s border may in fact be the next move.

“With respect to Science and Technology, that directorate, we do have a funded project,” she said. “I think it’s in California, looking at drones that could be utilized to give us situational awareness in a large public safety [matter] or disaster, such as a forest fire, and how they could give us better information.”

In a transcript of the secretary’s testimony made available after her address, Napolitano admits that the US has expanded their use or surveillance drones on America’s border with Canada in recent years, now letting UAVs monitor 950 miles of Washington State’s boundary line.
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Re: FBI admits to flying drones over US without warrants
The Pentagon is asking Congress to consider moving around US defense funds so that millions of dollars can be allocated to its overseas drone program in Afghanistan.

The Defense Department proposed a shift in as much as $641 million in funding on Monday, which, if approved, would move finances used for other Pentagon programs towards America’s intelligence and surveillance missions in Afghanistan, Bloomberg News reports.

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