(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)
This should come as no surprise to anyone, even without the recent foofaraw about NSA grepping phone numbers:
WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged Wednesday that the agency has deployed drones to conduct surveillance in the U.S., and that the bureau was developing guidelines for their future law enforcement use.
Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the unmanned aerial vehicles, whose use by law enforcement has raised questions from privacy advocates and civil liberties groups, are deployed in "a very minimal way and very seldom.''
"Our footprint is very small,'' the director said. "We have very few.''
I don’t really have a problem with this, although I suspect that this will merely serve to irritate a whole lot of “libertarians.” After all, there’s very little difference between this operation and a guy sitting in a van with a dish antenna and a telephoto lens. Of course, a lot of that “don’t have a problem with this” relies on the FBI to develop guidelines that remain sensitive to the freedom of innocent people from unnecessary surveillance.
Yes, the FBI, along with the Treasury Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, is a proto-domestic military force and they have been used in the past in that fashion. Part of the reason that is revolves around the Second Amendment nutbags who insist they have easy access to all kinds of formidable weaponry under the guise of “arms.”
Think about it: a nutbag has an arsenal and is suspected of a crime. Does he really think the government is not going to a) weapon up their own troops and b) survey the hell out of him in order to ensure their agents’ safety?
In a day and age when even corporations use drones for surveillance – as well as delivering pizzas – that the FBI doesn’t avail themselves of this technology would in itself be negligent.