FBI Has Used Drones On Americans To Save A Child... And The Rest Is Secret

from the for-the-children! dept

You may recall a few weeks ago that FBI Director Robert Mueller admitted to using drones to spy on Americans (and that there were no rules about using those drones). In response, Senator Rand Paul asked Mueller for details and those have now been sent, saying that the drones have been used 10 times, though they're very, very, very quick to play down the significance of this (and to highlight how they were used to recover a kidnapped 5-year-old -- "for the children!").
The FBI uses UAVS in very limited circumstances to conduct surveillance when there is a specific, operational need. UAVs have been used for surveillance to support missions related to kidnappings, search and rescue operations, drug interdictions, and fugitive investigations. Since late 2006, the FBI has conducted surveillance using UAVs in eight criminal cases and two national security cases. For example, earlier this year in Alabama, the FBI used UAV surveillance to support the successful rescue of the 5-year-old child who was being held hostage in an underground bunker by Jimmy Lee Dykes. None of the UAVS used by the FBI are armed with either lethal or non--lethal weapons, and the FBI has no plans to use weapons with UAVs. The FBI does not use UAVs to conduct "bulk" surveillance or to conduct general surveillance not related to an investigation or assessment.
Of course, they follow that up by also saying they can't really talk about how they use drones, because, you know, that's secret.
While we share your interest in transparency concerning the use of law enforcement and national security tools, we are not in a position to disclose publicly more detailed information concerning the Bureau's specific use of UAVS. Such additional information is "Law Enforcement Sensitive" or, in some cases, classified, based on the need to protect the effectiveness of this capability in law enforcement and national security matters. We have enclosed a classified addendum that provides more detailed information in response to your inquiry. We request that you not disseminate the information in the addendum without prior consultation with the FBI.
Yeah. So, they use drones "to save the kidnapped hostage children!" and [REDACTED]. That's not particularly comforting.
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Filed Under: america, children, drones, fbi, rand paul, robert mueller, surveillance


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  1. icon
    Wally (profile), 26 Jul 2013 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Re: Of course, they follow that up by also saying they can't really talk about how they use drones, because, you know, that's secret.

    Or it could be that kidnappers and criminals might take advantage of procedural information making it more difficult for the FBI to identify legitimate crimes and solve them. It should be noted that UMAV's come in all shapes and sizes. To say that they are using military equipment is not an impossibility, but it isn't the equipment that you use...it's how you use it.

    The FBI has been more behaved than the NSA as of late and I wholeheartedly trust that Federal Agency over the NSA itself.

    The basic reason for refracting the information is likely due to the fact that they don't want their methods known so a weakness cannot be spotted.

    If it is agent names and technical flight data and routes, that information does need to be redacted. This is especially true because it may put an FBI agent and his or her family at risk.

    There is more to it than transparency in this case. We have a story, the FBI saved a kidnapped person, and they rescued her by tracking the assailant with a UMAV. I don't care how it was done as long as the apprehension was done legally.

    Also, this method usually saves money for the FBI because doing an aerial search with a helicopter is quite expensive.

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