NPR : News

Filed Under:

FBI Director Says Agency Is Using Drones Over The U.S.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is using drones on United States soil for surveillance purposes, the agency's director, Robert Mueller, told a Senate committee today.

"Our footprint is very small, and we have very few and of limited use, and we're exploring not only the use but also the necessary guidelines for that use," said Mueller , answering a question from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

Mueller, who was testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said they were used in a "very, very minimal way and very seldom."

The Wall Street Journal reports:

"FBI hostage negotiators used surveillance drones during a standoff earlier this year with an Alabama man who had taken a boy hostage inside a makeshift underground bunker.

"Asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) about what privacy protections are used in deploying drones and storing the images they collect, Mr. Mueller said their use was narrowly focused on specific incidents.

" 'It's very seldom used and generally used in a particular incident when you need the capability,' said Mr. Mueller, who said he wasn't sure what becomes of the images recorded by such drones. 'It is very narrowly focused on particularized cases and particularized needs.' "

NPR's Carrie Johnson reminds us that "the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms also have drones."

If you remember, drones became a huge topic of discussion after Rep. Rand Paul led a 13-hour filibuster, where he demanded the Obama administration pledge not to use drones against U.S. citizens on American soil.

Of course, Mueller said the aircraft are being used for surveillance, so this is different.

Attorney General Eric Holder did eventually respond to Paul, saying the president doesn't have the "authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

La. Family Celebrates Son's 2nd Birthday With Personal Injury Lawyer-Themed Party

When she was planning a birthday party for her 2-year-old son earlier this year, L'erin Dobra of Prairieville, La., had to choose a theme. But luckily her son had already begun giving her hints. He was fixated with a particular commercial for a personal injury law firm, featuring Morris Bart, who has been the pitchman since the 1980s. The party even included a cake with Bart's picture on it.
NPR

Pesticide Drift Threatens Organic Farms

Conventional farmers use millions of pounds of pesticides each year to protect crops from weeds and insects. When those chemicals drift to neighboring property, they can ruin crops on organic farms.
NPR

Planned Parenthood Controversy Raises Questions About Fetal Tissue Research

A series of sting videos targeting Planned Parenthood is raising questions about the field of fetal tissue research. Companies who buy and sell such tissue defend their work.
NPR

Letting Go Of The Wheel: How Google Is Easing People Into Self-Driving Cars

Google has begun testing a new self-driving car this summer that is designed to work without a steering wheel. But as the Planet Money team reports, the company's biggest challenge may be convincing Americans to hop inside.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.