Well this was curious.
The man handpicked by President Obama to take over as director of the FBI, James Comey, told senators in a hearing today that he did not think drones should be used to kill US citizens in America, but left the door open for cases of "imminent threats."It gets better. See ya on the other side.
This is the old boss.
FBI Director Robert Mueller has admitted that the Bureau uses aerial drones to conduct surveillance within the domestic United States. During his testimony at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier today, Mueller bluntly told Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) that the FBI uses drones, but does so "in a very, very minimal way, and seldom."This is your new boss.
Instead, the hearing shifted to the FBI's investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, but drones came up again later, only this time, the questions came from Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), about how the FBI under Comey would deal with the influx of commercial and civilian-controlled drones taking place. "With the expansion of civilian use of drones, do you have any security concerns about criminals or terrorists using drones to conduct surveillance of potential targets?" Hirono asked. "I do, even as a private citizen reading about the increasing availability of drones," Comey answered. "I watched what to me was a sobering video of someone who had put a firearm on a drone and fired it remotely while flying one of this cheaply acquired drones, a hundred-dollar drone. It's certainly something that lies in our future if not in our present." The video Comey was referring to was probably one that circulated widely in June. Asked whether there were drone-specific laws regulating such activities, Comey said he wasn't sure, but pointed out that homicide or attempted homicide laws would certainly apply.Feeling safe yet? Do you trust that these men actually control their underlings, know what their underlings are doing or would admit anything if they did?
The few public officials with knowledge of the surveillance court’s work either censor themselves as required by law, as Senator Ron Wyden has done in his valiant efforts to draw attention to the full scope of these programs, or they offer murky, even misleading statements, as the director of national intelligence, James Clapper Jr., did before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in March.
As outrageous as the blanket secrecy of the surveillance court is, we are equally troubled by the complete absence of any adversarial process, the heart of our legal system. The government in 2012 made 1,789 requests to conduct electronic surveillance; the court approved 1,788 (the government withdrew the other). It is possible that not a single one of these 1,788 requests violated established law, but the public will never know because no one was allowed to make a counterargument.