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FBI Drone Deployment Timeline

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the when-and-where dept.

United States 33

An anonymous reader writes "The FBI insists that it uses drone technology to conduct surveillance in 'very limited circumstances.' What those particular circumstances are remain a mystery, particularly since the Bureau refuses to identify instances where agents deployed unmanned aerial vehicles, even as far back as 2006. In a letter to Senator Ron Paul last July, the FBI indicated that it had used drones a total of ten times since late 2006—eight criminal cases and two national security cases—and had authorized drone deployments in three additional cases, but did not actually fly them. The sole specific case where the FBI is willing to confirm using a drone was in February 2013, as surveillance support for a child kidnapping case in Alabama. New documents obtained by MuckRock as part of the Drone Census flesh out the timeline of FBI drone deployments in detail that was previously unavailable. While heavily redacted—censors deemed even basic facts that were already public about the Alabama case to be too sensitive for release, apparently—these flight orders, after action reviews and mission reports contain new details of FBI drone flights."

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reverse it (-1)

Blymie (231220) | about 4 months ago | (#46775549)

Commenting to unmoderate a posthttps://news.google.ca/nwshp?hl=en&tab=wn

Ron Paul was never a Senator (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46775569)

Perhaps you meant his son Senator 'Rand' Paul?

Re:Ron Paul was never a Senator (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#46775605)

Give samzenpus a break. It's not like he's an editor of a large new aggregation site or anything.

Re:Ron Paul was never a Senator (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 4 months ago | (#46776081)

Perhaps you meant his son Senator 'Rand' Paul?

. . . or father John Paul II . . . ?

. . . or former Texas Senator H. Ron Peron . . . ?

. . . or even, . . . stretching it . . . , L. Ron Hubbard . . . ?

Re:Ron Paul was never a Senator (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46776107)

Da do, Ron Ron Ron
Da do, Ron Ron

Re:Ron Paul was never a Senator (1)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 4 months ago | (#46776823)

Or maybe his daughter Ayn 'Rand' Paul?

Re:Ron Paul was never a Senator (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 4 months ago | (#46776937)

Or his lost son, Rand McNally

So other than those ten (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46775581)

How many times do they do it a week without all that official authorization stuff?

Re:So other than those ten (2)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 months ago | (#46775791)

How many times do they do it a week without all that official authorization stuff?

If they use them in criminal investigations the usage eventually becomes part of the public record when entered into evidence. Using them for search and rescue ought to be non-controversial enough. "National Security" is of course the grey area, though there's a fair amount of overlap between National Security and criminal prosecutions, for offenses like espionage or terrorism, so a lot of that use would eventually make it into the public record as well.

Re:So other than those ten (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 4 months ago | (#46776995)

If they use them in criminal investigations the usage eventually becomes part of the public record when entered into evidence.

so how are these ten cases then so fucking secret? and they don't need to enter the drone data into evidence if they don't use it as an evidence. it's obvious they want to keep the drone use as a secret ace card in their book. only problem is that law enforcement isn't supposed to have budget or permission for such cards...

Re:So other than those ten (1)

LaughingVulcan (3511853) | about 4 months ago | (#46778695)

How many times do they do it a week without all that official authorization stuff?

If they use them in criminal investigations the usage eventually becomes part of the public record when entered into evidence. Using them for search and rescue ought to be non-controversial enough. "National Security" is of course the grey area, though there's a fair amount of overlap between National Security and criminal prosecutions, for offenses like espionage or terrorism, so a lot of that use would eventually make it into the public record as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_construction

While used in the context of how an investigation begins, it really applies to any investigation step which would otherwise be fruit of the poisonous tree.

And some thought that using military troops on the border just for support activities of law enforcement was a good thing that would have no other repercussions. A better question would be: Who actually OPERATED the drones, 'cause I doubt the FBI has a special drone-operating unit. (13 uses in 8 years?) Yet.

Re:So other than those ten (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46780185)

"If they use them in criminal investigations the usage eventually becomes part of the public record when entered into evidence"

Yeah no, have you not been paying attention at all? They and the NSA have been using information gathered by all sorts of "methods" they don't want to expose, then once the info is gathered they find another avenue they could have discovered it by and put that in the report. It's not like this has not been heavily reported on for months and months.

more like this everyday (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 4 months ago | (#46775699)

quote: the nonprofit Texas EquuSearch regarding its use of drones for volunteer search-and-rescue efforts. (We’ve featured Schulman before for his defense of Raphael “Trappy” Pirker, a drone pilot who was fined $10,000 by the FAA.) Shulman elaborates on the humanitarian use of civilian drones here in the United States. Texas EquuSearch has used civilian drones in its efforts since 2005. In fact, says Schulman, EquuSearch believes drones to be the “single most useful technology that the organization has ever used.” link: http://www.slate.com/blogs/fut... [slate.com]

Re:more like this everyday (3, Interesting)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 4 months ago | (#46775917)

$55 Drone that could have your kid in jail, or hero for finding lost "stuff"; it's hit or miss.
WLToys V959 Future Battleship 4-Axis Gyro IR RC Remote Control UFO Quadcopter Helicopter Camera
http://www.newegg.com/Product/... [newegg.com]

Re:more like this everyday (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46775925)

They're using drones as a cheap replacement for helicopters. Why is this a problem?

Surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46778155)

Because helicopters have uses beyond surveillance. In a pinch they can be used for rescue, to ferry equipment & get people where they need to be quickly. Drones can ONLY be used for surveillance, something that our government is only supposed to be able to do with reasonable cause. In the past that "reasonable cause" has been enforced partly by the fourth amendment, partly by limited resources. Sadly that is starting to change, technology is starting to make ubiquitous surveillance cheap. With time the courts will (hopefully) catch up and put limits in place (such as the recent ruling in regards to confirming that secretly placing GPS tracking on peoples car's is illegal), but in the mean time we'll have to "encourage" our representatives to limit these activities via legislation & budgets. And that can only be done if it is not kept behind a veil of secrecy, which is where the FBI seems to be fighting tooth and nail to keep it.

Senator Ron Paul? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46775759)

That's senator Rand Paul in the link, or (former) congressman Ron Paul; there never was a senator Ron Paul.

Why Transparency is Important (4, Insightful)

eyepeepackets (33477) | about 4 months ago | (#46775845)

It should be clear by now that having anything less than complete transparency for these agencies is foolish, because we become the target of the tools when they are used in secret silence. Elected representatives are worthless in this regard. We need transparency via reporting requirements and guidelines that give full information to the public.

If we are expected to be responsible for what these agencies do, then we need to know what they are doing.

Re:Why Transparency is Important (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 4 months ago | (#46777841)

We need transparency via reporting requirements and guidelines that give full information to the public.

At the end of the day, you're still relying on foxes properly filling out their TPS henhouse reports.

Hilarious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46778289)

Sure they can falsely fill out their reports, but you get to watch some hilarious attempts at explaining themselves when they get caught lying. I remember some of the news stories from the OWS protests where police reports were complete fiction proven by video from multiple angles. Unfortunately it didn't result in any meaningful punishments, but it did result in some changes & police officers did start behaving better for fear of a thorough public shaming.

Re:Why Transparency is Important (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46778525)

I agree. Also, I don't see the difference in drone surveillance and other surveillance. If there's a process in place to ensure its used correctly, why not have the tool for law enforcement?

Very limited secret circumstances. (1)

generic_screenname (2927777) | about 4 months ago | (#46775863)

While details are not available, the FBI totally promises that everything was legit.

Re:Very limited secret circumstances. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46775999)

And unfortunately, it was also too legit to quit.

Drones to anyone who has a need via miltary (3, Informative)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 4 months ago | (#46775891)

Doh! it's deeper than it reads.

Ethan Kidnapping (child kidnapping case in Alabama. ):

"The FBI had borrowed from the U.S. military high-tech detection equipment similar to the technology used to discover homemade bombs in war zones, three Defense Department officials told CNN.

It was unclear whether the equipment, which is not readily available to civilian law enforcement, had been used by the FBI.

One of the defense officials said no members of the military were involved in the rescue. They would have been acting a technical advisers, the official said."

http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/04/... [cnn.com]

Re:Drones to anyone who has a need via miltary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46777627)

"technical advisers" - that's the kind of thing the US military did during the Vietnam conflict and i south and central america most of the last century? Ok, so now they are importing that practice to the homeland. Those are the dots. You can connect them and see what the big picture is for yourself.

Re:Drones to anyone who has a need via miltary (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 4 months ago | (#46781997)

"technical advisers"

technical adviser = either a 0 or a 1
technical adviser = apply the bandage to the wound
technical adviser = just pull the trigger

That one put me on the list...

Dear FBI (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46776031)

Please use those drones and launch a Hellfire missile strike on that asshole rancher who's too damned lazy or stupid to pay his fucking grazing fees. Thank you.

Just like the NSA (1)

surfdaddy (930829) | about 4 months ago | (#46776115)

...and it's "limited circumstances" under which it will, eh, errr, deviate from the fourth Amendment.

Yeah, right.

If you believe that, I have some promises from our political parties to guarantee for you, too.

Hi - I'm from the government and I'm here to help (0)

biomech (44405) | about 4 months ago | (#46776253)

It used to be that the 3-letter acronyms whose existence was never confirmed - only alluded to - could claim the "right" to hide their malicious mischief under the guise of national security, but apparently no longer. The Federal Bureau of Instigation whose long record of abuse against the unworthy among us is a matter of record now feels free to confirm their addition to the other worthies.

I realize that Bush 43 thought the Constitution essentially a worthless scrap of paper, but, to paraphrase what someone once said over a millennia ago, "Who shall guard against these self-same guardians?"

"Drone" -- the "cloud" of aviation? (3, Insightful)

swb (14022) | about 4 months ago | (#46776381)

I think we're getting to the point where "drone" has become a generic buzzword for any kind of remotely piloted aircraft that can do any kind of visual surveillance, whether it's a $100 toy that can take pictures of my back yard or a multi-million dollar turbofan-powered military aircraft with explosive missiles.

I hate to sound like an apologist for the FBI, and I'm sure whatever they fly is probably more sophisticated than a lot of quadcopters, but I think some of the reaction to the FBI using drones seems misplaced. It's not like the FBI doesn't have access to Blackhawk helicopters and probably more than few equipped with military-grade FLIR & other surveillance gear. If they can accomplish whatever air surveillance they need without burning through $5k/hour or whatever it costs to operate a Blackhawk or the millions to buy another one, I'm OK with that.

I think sometimes the fuzzy definition of drone implies the FBI has this magic fleet of autonomous surveillance craft performing wireless intercepts, reading my mail and spying in my bedroom window. I'm just not sure that's what's really happening.

Of course the FBI's secrecy and [redacted] behavior doesn't help.

Frost pii=st (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46776565)

MISTAKE OF ELECTING NIGGER coomunity Parts of you are And what 5upplies very own shitter,

Extrapolating from growth rate of NSLs, etc... (2)

dave falkner (3585309) | about 4 months ago | (#46779049)

They've used drones for investigations 10 times this year, 500 times next year, 12,000 times the year after that, and so on ... And why the need to redact so heavily a report on conventional law enforcement operation which took place in the past? The redaction would make more sense if TFA had been referring to a military or Intelligence operation, but this was just a kidnapping case...?

My the serfs are gettung uppity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46780093)

As if they have any right to know what we're doing. Feed them another lie. It's always worked
in the past. And while you're at it, fire a few dozen presstitutes. They're not doing their job of
keeping the serfs too confused to think. Maybe we need another war to keep them in line.

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