FBI Is Using Drones for Limited Domestic Surveillance

OMFG! The FBI? Surveilling things? Where’s my fainting couch?

During a Senate hearing, FBI chief Robert Mueller acknowledged the use of drones on U.S. soil. He said they were for the purpose of surveillance — and pointed out that the agency does so in a “very minimal” way. Asked about policies and limits, Mueller said it’s a work in progress.

Asked by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) whether the FBI uses drones, Mueller said the agency uses them for surveillance. “I think I can assume,” Grassley followed up, “since you do use drones, that the FBI has developed a set of policies, procedures, and operational limits on the use of drones and whether or not any privacy impact on American citizens?

“We are in the initial stages of doing that,” Mueller replied. “I will tell you that our footprint is very small. We have very few and have limited use — and we’re exploring not only the use, but also the necessary guidelines for that use.”

Again, we should keep this stuff in check, but let’s not fool ourselves because it’s trendy to be outraged by any headline with the words “surveillance” and “drones.” The FBI and law enforcement is in the business of surveillance. It always has been.

By the way, I’m sure you’ve seen the sign: “Speed Checked by Aircraft.”