June 19th, 2013
02:10 PM ET

FBI uses drones in U.S., says Mueller

By Carol Cratty

FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged the law enforcement agency uses drone aircraft in the United States for surveillance in certain difficult cases.

Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that drones are used by the FBI in a "very, very minimal way and very seldom."

He did not say how many unmanned surveillance vehicles (UAVs) the FBI has or how often they have been used.

But a law enforcement official told CNN the FBI has used them a little more than a dozen times but did not say when that started. The official said drones are useful in hostage and barricade situations because they operate more quietly and are less visible than traditional aircraft such as helicopters.

The FBI said it used a UAV earlier this year to monitor the situation where a boy was held hostage in a bunker in Alabama.

Bureau spokesman Paul Bresson said their use allows "us to learn critical information that otherwise would be difficult to obtain without introducing serious risk to law enforcement personnel."

Bresson said the aircraft can only be used to perform surveillance on stationary subjects and the FBI must first get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly in a "very confined geographic area."

Surveillance fallout

Mueller's comments come as the Obama administration grapples with political and other fallout from the public disclosure of top-secret surveillance programs, which has triggered new debate over reach of national security vs. privacy rights.

National security and law enforcement officials have defended National Security Agency telephone and e-mail surveillance of overseas communications as an effective tool in fighting terror.

President Barack Obama has assured Americans the government is not listening to their phone conversations or reading their e-mail.

But Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, asked Mueller whether the FBI had guidelines for using drones that would consider the "privacy impact on American citizens."

Mueller replied the agency was in the initial stages of developing them.

"I will tell you that our footprint is very small," he said.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein expressed concern over drone use domestically.

"I think the greatest threat to the privacy of Americans is the drone and the use of the drone, and the very few regulations that are on it today and the booming industry of commercial drones," the California Democrat said.

Mueller said he would need to check on the bureau's policy for retaining images from drones and report back to the panel.

"It is very narrowly focused on particularized cases and particularized needs and particularized cases," said Mueller. "And that is the principal privacy limitations we have."

Sen. Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat, said he was concerned the FBI was deploying drone technology and only in the initial stages of developing guidelines "to protect Americans' privacy rights."

Grassley wants answers from Holder

Grassley sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder following the hearing asking why written information Holder sent him last month about federal law enforcement use of drones included related information about the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives and the Drug Enforcement Administration, but not the FBI.

Grassley sought answers to several questions and asked Holder to reply by June 28. He wants to know who at the FBI authorized drone use and information on the uses and limitations of their use and whether any are armed or capable of being armed.

The Justice Department said it was reviewing Grassley's letter.

Mueller said Wednesday the drones were used for surveillance.

Members of Congress and privacy advocates have pressed for regulations on the use of drones, and their use in counterterror operations overseas was a controversy that flared publicly during confirmation hearings for CIA Director John Brennan earlier this year.

Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, delayed a vote on Brennan with a filibuster over the possible use of drones against American citizens on U.S. soil.

Attorney General Eric Holder told Paul in a March 4 letter that "the U.S. government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and has no intention of doing so."

Last month, Paul introduced legislation to prevent "unwarranted government intrusion" by drones.

The bill proposes that law enforcement officers be prohibited from using drones to gather surveillance or collect evidence without a warrant, unless there is an imminent danger to life or a high risk of a terrorist attack.

The measure also makes an exception so that drones can be used to patrol the nation's borders. The Senate has not taken up Paul's proposal. A similar one was previously introduced in the House.

Drone use more common

Unmanned drone use is becoming more common in the United States although it is not lawful in many cases.

The FAA forecasts some 10,000 civilian drones will be in use in the United States within five years, including those for law enforcement and commercial purposes.

Amie Stepanovich, of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, has previously said law enforcement should not use drones as an alternative to police patrols.

She said that they should be used for specific operations and that Congress should pass a law requiring legal permission.

Because they are cheaper to use than helicopters, unmanned aircraft can be used to monitor crops and livestock, look at damage to buildings and for other uses.

The FAA recently announced plans to create six drone test sites around the country.

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Filed under: drones • FBI
soundoff (993 Responses)
  1. In home personal training

    "FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged the law enforcement agency uses drone aircraft in the United States for surveillance in certain difficult cases." I don't have a problem with this. I think it probably is great for ease dropping. As long as they are not shooting missiles i really don't care.

    April 9, 2014 at 7:56 am | Reply
  2. Rebecca

    Finally the drone conversation is going to be heard. CNN hid the authorization of drones by Congress at 4 a.m. and for about half an hour... instead put their entire repertoire into... Whitney Houston. I oppose drones.

    June 22, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Reply
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    June 21, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Reply
  4. kgala

    FBI Uses Drones in U.S., Says Mueller
    If I understand correctly, the FBI's authority extends only within the U.S. Outside the U.S. it would be CIA I believe.

    June 21, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Reply
  5. blue

    seems a very good example is Mueller's face does he look happy? is there a sparkle in his eye and hope in his smile? ... looks like misery too me ...

    June 21, 2013 at 1:24 am | Reply
  6. blue

    i think they use them more than they say i caught one spying on me one day and im just a simple farmer broke out a telescope and it scurried off behind the mountain and i am not kidding i had witnesses seems if they think even the slightest odd about you they'll be a peeking in yer window ,here is a quote no one knows about , we oppose the deceivers , believe there is still good out there, every one its getting a bit bleak now a days seems the best any one can do is try your hardest be good and fight with kindness show them how happy you are because these people are sad miserable people who live in fear we should pity them they are destroying our planet but they have to much power for any one to do any thing about it except point out there misery, be happy and hope.....

    June 21, 2013 at 1:16 am | Reply
    • kgala

      I think they got you making the moonshine....

      June 21, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  7. Jeff Burdick

    Perhaps like with NSA Surveillance, Obama will say FBI drones have saved lives, but this begs the question: have those lives really been worth saving? Fortunately, the FluffingtonPost has the answer via an exclusive exposé of the "NSA Eight"! (Great satire) http://bit.ly/16j9NmN

    June 20, 2013 at 11:21 pm | Reply
  8. dc

    People say there is a RACE problem. People say this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY and ONLY into White countries.
    People say the only solution to the RACE problem is if ALL and ONLY White countries "assimilate," i.e., intermarry, with all those non-Whites.

    But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against White people, Anti-Whites agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

    Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-White.

    June 20, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Reply
    • TBA

      What in the world does this rant have to do with the story, Dale Gribble?

      June 21, 2013 at 1:13 am | Reply
    • Alheus Jango

      You must be living a life of misery with so much rascism! DRONE SURVAILLANCE is the topic not WHITE PEOPLE UNDER THREAT OF EXTINCTION! Also with People like me still around it won't happen although i am not white.

      June 21, 2013 at 4:40 am | Reply
  9. Organic1

    Remote controlled crafts are not drones, they are different in many ways, the only similar things are they record and transmit video and can fly. It's about time we started using these things to help control those that like to break laws and run from society. The rest of us have nothing to be concerned about.

    June 20, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  10. joe


    June 20, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Reply
  11. joe


    June 20, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Reply
  12. kgala

    What would they think of next? Using kites and pigeons?

    June 20, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  13. BigMO

    Why wouldn't the US use drones inside the USA. They are already getting information from mobile phones, computers etc targeting certain groups of people. So if they will do all of these things why not use drones inside the USA? So I don"t trust this who scandal. This white house is the most corrupt in history.

    June 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Reply
  14. en

    drones in society; in the near future will be a norm just like helicopters

    June 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  15. California

    I'm sure this makes dems happy. Now they can spy of republicans even more than they already do.

    June 20, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  16. abmri60

    Why not profile people before thy are born---Oops abortion laws.

    June 20, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Reply
  17. kgala

    Google used a satellite to photo my house and backyard and put it out there for everyone to see it. Dry grass spots are clearly visible. I am embarrassed!

    June 20, 2013 at 11:55 am | Reply
    • Jay

      You are a tool, twit.

      June 20, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Reply
  18. F. Lee Hall III

    Drones used on U.S. soil is unacceptable. Maybe its time to start spying on those who are spying on us. I mean if they can break the law, why can't we?

    June 20, 2013 at 11:42 am | Reply
    • Doug

      what, specifically, is your problem with an unmanned vehicle in U.S. airspace? are you going to ban RC airplane hobbyists if they put a camera on their planes, too?

      June 20, 2013 at 11:48 am | Reply
    • kgala

      Gotta have a human in the plane!

      June 20, 2013 at 11:51 am | Reply
  19. kgala

    The article is a huge success. The idea was to rile up the goob folks. And it worked so beautifully!

    Hey, drones are another technical tool just like planes and helicopters, cameras. heat sensors, etc., for the law enforcement folks to do their work for you.

    June 20, 2013 at 11:41 am | Reply
  20. Jim

    I assume we don't own the airspace above our house. So, could my neighbor buy a drone equipped with cameras and fly it over my property? If I don't own the airspace above my house, then I would think so.

    June 20, 2013 at 11:40 am | Reply
    • kgala

      Usually an angle is required to get better photos and videos. So your neighbor does not have to violate the airspace right above your house. He can take the video flying over the public street.

      June 20, 2013 at 11:47 am | Reply
  21. jack 2

    I understand that we need to get into some peoples phone records to fight terror but I draw the line over the use of drones in America. the chance of losing freedom out weighs the potential gain from this invasion of privacy.

    June 20, 2013 at 11:33 am | Reply
    • why

      What's the difference between a pilot being in the aircraft or in a cubicle? What line is there to draw? You can spy on me as long as there is a pilot in the aircraft? Silly

      June 20, 2013 at 11:42 am | Reply
  22. justme

    Lighten up folks on the drone issue.. What's the diff between the pilot being inside the aircraft or sitting in the back of some trailer? It just saves the taxpayer valuable money and fuel doing the same thing with a cheap drone. Just because in iraq everything can be fitted with missiles.. since when has anybody seen a police chopper stateside fitted with missiles? ridiculous idea.. just hope someone just as ridiculous doesn't try it.

    June 20, 2013 at 11:18 am | Reply
    • SentTheWave

      I fully agree with you that there should be no distinction drawn between a pilot flying from inside the aircraft or from a remote location, but the issue at stake here isn't about being uncomfortable about unmanned aircraft. It is about the fact that any aircraft, manned or otherwise, are secretly and invisibly monitoring the country. It's a privacy concern.

      June 20, 2013 at 11:28 am | Reply
    • Martoon77

      Would you object to a drone the size of a briefcase hovering outside your windows and taking pictures because you are a member of a certain political party? What if it was following your kids to school? That is why guidelines need to be developed.

      June 20, 2013 at 11:34 am | Reply
  23. jaana

    omg you have be living under a rock to not know this was going on... how stupid do they think people are (or how stupid are people).
    This is a travesty and the FBI should be brought up on charges of treason (along with the CIA and NSA)..

    June 20, 2013 at 11:13 am | Reply
  24. No Kidding

    If another country uses drone to spy on it's people then it's bad.

    June 20, 2013 at 11:03 am | Reply
  25. HZ

    If drones are only used for things that traditionally were done by manned aircraft it's not a big deal. But that's the real quesiton. There should be independent people allowed to monitor drone usage within the U.S.

    June 20, 2013 at 10:34 am | Reply
    • JT

      I think it's important to consider that with manned aircraft there existed a practicality limit in how much could be surveiled, and as such, it was understood that greater scrutiny would be required before LE would undertake aerial surveillance due to the constraints on manpower, time, fuel, etc. With the use of UAVs they have far fewer physical constraints and it may be important to introduce policy constraints as a compromise that was formerly unnecessary.

      June 20, 2013 at 10:47 am | Reply
  26. gc

    please tell me that everyone already knew that we're all being watched and that you all did not need confirmation... Please tell me we're not that dumb as a population....please..

    June 20, 2013 at 10:17 am | Reply
    • Chocolog

      People shouldn't be shocked, but we shouldn't be complacent either. Our privacy is gone, robots are flying around spying on us and all we do is shrug our shoulders and say "Oh yeah, I knew this was going on." like that makes us intelligent somehow? I'd rather people be shocked and outraged than jaded and passive.

      June 20, 2013 at 10:29 am | Reply
      • gc

        Outrage and madness does what? The point is that nobody is going to do anything about it except post on sites such as this. People are lazy and it takes time and effort to stop something like this. This will be a subject for a few weeks and then everyone will forget it.

        June 20, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  27. JoeAnyBody

    So, it has now come to this.

    June 20, 2013 at 10:15 am | Reply
  28. Ralph_in_FL

    Hopefully, the resolution of the drone cameras will be sufficient to detect my upraised middle finger.

    June 20, 2013 at 10:14 am | Reply
    • justme

      They can do that from outer space since the Regan administration..

      June 20, 2013 at 11:26 am | Reply
  29. Jim

    As soon as the word 'drone' is mentioned, people freak out. 'Drone' doesn't mean it was armed, only that it was controlled by a human pilot who was remote instead of on-board. The legality of this type of airborne surveillance is no different than a manned police helicopter. Seriously, anyone who has ever looked at Google Maps knows you don't need a warrant to look out the window of a helicopter or plane.

    June 20, 2013 at 10:13 am | Reply
    • drone haters

      How do you know that the drones are not armed? Do you work for NSA or what?

      June 20, 2013 at 11:32 am | Reply
      • Doug

        we know they're not armed because they don't need to be armed. that would be a tremendous expense that they do not need.

        June 20, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  30. jboh

    Funny how all this stuff was fine and dandy when "Dubya" and the GOP rammed he "Patriot" Act thru congress.

    June 20, 2013 at 10:05 am | Reply
  31. JJ

    Just beautiful....................what next?

    June 20, 2013 at 10:00 am | Reply
  32. cacapipipeo

    I don't understand this. We don't have money to secure our borders but we have money to spy on american citizens... and with the latest technology. All this money and technology should've been used to capture Mexico's drug cartel lords and to prevent human trafficking (aka as their corrupt politicians, military officials and police).

    June 20, 2013 at 9:52 am | Reply
    • JJ

      What an excellent point!!!

      June 20, 2013 at 10:00 am | Reply
    • gc

      See, now why would you wanna stop the drug lords when you make good money off of them? Come on!!! Just saying if the government really wanted to stop the drugs n traffic then they would! Look at our technology, they found Bin laden, you telling me they cant catch the drug lords?! LMAOx10

      June 20, 2013 at 10:23 am | Reply
  33. libertynomore

    This is NOT America.

    June 20, 2013 at 9:51 am | Reply
  34. paullubbock

    How is this news. Everyone flies drones now. Heck I fly drones what's the big deal.

    June 20, 2013 at 9:51 am | Reply
    • John Stone

      Yea I fly my own personal drone too. I watch the governments' drones with my drone.

      June 20, 2013 at 10:11 am | Reply
  35. jmsbaan

    Welcome to The Obama Totalitarian States of America.

    June 20, 2013 at 9:49 am | Reply
  36. kmac

    Just what is the difference between a drone with a camera in government owned air space and a man with binoculars in a chopper or a man with binoculars on the hill side or in a tree. NONE. This argument about method is crazy.

    June 20, 2013 at 9:23 am | Reply
    • Brian from Baltimore

      Things are about to get real real.

      June 20, 2013 at 9:45 am | Reply
  37. george washinsen

    We have to realize a religion changed our lives.We have to get down in the muck with them to fight them.Normal rules do no apply anymore.

    June 20, 2013 at 9:12 am | Reply
    • Jose

      Yeah, ALL religion changed our lives, should we go after Christians for the massacre of Native Americans? You actually believe violence will solve this? You must be religious.

      June 20, 2013 at 9:54 am | Reply
    • Derpity derp derp

      More people die in bathtubs every year than from terrorism. A religion did not change your life, your fear of low percentage catastrophe did. Freedom isn't free. I wonder how many people who shout that really understand what it means. Freedom isn't free. You have to accept a level of risk for your freedom. If you don't want to have your pockets patted down when you enter a public place you have to accept the .00000000018% chance that someone will bring a grenade in and blow you up. If someone is willing to give up their life for the chance to kill others it's going to be difficult to stop them, especially if their target is "whoever". The answer here is not to hand over the keys to your house car and safe deposit box to the government for "protection".

      June 20, 2013 at 9:59 am | Reply
  38. trustusnot

    nothing to fear other than this administration has shown it will kill americans without due process. move along nothing to see here

    June 20, 2013 at 9:12 am | Reply
    • kmac

      Why do you need a warrant to look at anything that is visible from government or public area. Does a cop need a warrant to look in your front yard as he goes down the street. The crazy tea party want a world with no laws and no enforcement. The drive is really toward who owns the air space above property. When you buy a piece of property will you own the air space above it, will it become yours, will you charge airlines and aircraft to fly over your property. Will you be able to sell those air rights how about those radio and TV electronic waves will they be able to pass through your air space.

      June 20, 2013 at 9:30 am | Reply
      • joe

        kmac: "Does a cop need a warrant to look in your front yard as he goes down the street"

        No, but would you be ok with him climbing on your roof or fence to see what you're doing in your own backyard that you've grown hedge to protect your privacy?

        June 20, 2013 at 10:03 am |
  39. george washinsen

    This is no surprise either about the drones. It is amazing how we wake up so fast. Now we have someone digging up an old plane crash just for the price of the commercial time it can sell. I doubt many of the victims of this thing needs this again in their lives. I can see now former people who investigated or helped, coming out of the woodwork,for pay,to rewrite what they must have helped cover up before ,if this new version is true. They had their chance then,why not then.

    June 20, 2013 at 9:10 am | Reply
  40. G_Edwards

    2013 is the new 1984.

    Thanks Pres Obama and AG Holder.


    June 20, 2013 at 8:38 am | Reply
    • Pandamonius

      You're welcome.


      June 20, 2013 at 11:35 am | Reply
  41. truebob

    I don't see how this is different than car cams or using motorcycles, helicopters or robots. I expect law enforcement to use the best tools available to keep the peace. I don't think this is at all like reading my email or listening to my phone conversations. Google glass is 10 times more invasive as far as I am concerned.

    June 20, 2013 at 8:35 am | Reply
    • George

      Your right about Google glass. Once the pervs get a hold of that it will be a more ridiculous world, but I do have problems with drones too. With the less risk involved on the law enforcement side I can see this easily getting implemented further and further. London had the expense and permission of property owners of putting surveillance cameras through out the city, but a drone with the new ultra-pixel cameras on it can sweep several blocks at once. I see these being over every major city if not put in check.

      So you say to yourself, so what? I'm not up to anything so why do I care. If you take everything in total, all your digital history and records with your personal comings and goings, all this information can easily be made in retrospect to make you look like you were capable of anything. This is also the core of what values we stand for. "Those who sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither." – Benjamin Franklin

      June 20, 2013 at 8:51 am | Reply
    • max

      Well here's another take on the idea. Whose to say that information gathered is always used for law enforcement? It has been proven time and again how corrupt private information gatherers sell out to the highest bidders, so on one side you have a legal safe use but like anything else put into the hands of government, it will be abused and abused and abused.
      I say if it is used for life saving issues and limited to that, fine any other use such as eavesdropping, general gathering of intel should be banned and anyone caught in the act of such will get 20 years. min. now hows that working for ya?????

      June 20, 2013 at 9:00 am | Reply
  42. Bang

    And I admit to shooting them down when they enter my airspace.

    June 20, 2013 at 8:30 am | Reply
  43. Latuf Tak

    Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out there to get you!

    June 20, 2013 at 8:30 am | Reply
    • truebob

      But 99 percent of the time, it does.

      June 20, 2013 at 8:36 am | Reply
    • bankrupt1

      exactly. and its not like people don't have reason to be paranoid, or that they should lose their rational brain.

      June 20, 2013 at 9:12 am | Reply
    • Jonathan

      Just because you're not paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you. Catch-22.

      June 20, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Reply
  44. Veganhealth

    Boy, the news keeps getting worse and worse for our country. At some point the sheepsters are going to revolt. I have been a huge Obama supporter, but this latest news makes me wonder if the guy has any control over the country.

    June 20, 2013 at 8:19 am | Reply
    • max

      OMG!!!! How could you say that???? He has control......................over Chad and a few other nothing places...................

      June 20, 2013 at 9:02 am | Reply
  45. Twiz1

    I am way more ok with drones flying over us then downloading my emails and such. However, these baby steps towards a real life big brother is a little disturbing.

    June 20, 2013 at 8:18 am | Reply
  46. uncdig

    I don't have a problem with the use of drones for surveillance. I do have a problem with the continued "misstatements" and convenient "ommissions" coming out of Holder & this administration. Waiting to hear Holders' excuse this time

    June 20, 2013 at 8:12 am | Reply
  47. us_1776

    Drones are the biggest threat to commercial and general aviation since its inception.


    June 20, 2013 at 8:05 am | Reply
  48. ME

    Fine with me.
    If you have not done anything wrong.....you have nothing to worry about.
    Let the NSA and the FBI do their jobs.

    June 20, 2013 at 8:04 am | Reply
    • Ryan

      It's not that you are doing something wrong. They are. And with all the laws that pass right under your nose, you probably are doing something wrong. Silly American.

      June 20, 2013 at 8:14 am | Reply
    • Adam

      Terrible argument. If we start allowing this, then what's wrong with just allowing warrantless searches? If you've done nothing wrong, what's the problem?

      June 20, 2013 at 8:16 am | Reply
    • G_Edwards

      Says the person who doesn't even use a real name for a posting ID.


      June 20, 2013 at 8:45 am | Reply
    • weezer

      Your argument has been used by all totalitarian governments to keep an eye on and to control their citizens (Soviets, Chinese, etc.)

      I agree that criminals have the most to worry about, but if you think there has been mistakes and abuses of power by local police departments in the past, just wait until the government starts a targeted strike program by drones.

      June 20, 2013 at 8:56 am | Reply
  49. Beavis

    How is this news? Drones were used to find Chris Dorner

    June 20, 2013 at 7:46 am | Reply
  50. Gorsh

    Everybody remember when you thought people like Alex Jones were crazy, saying the NSA was recording your phone calls, drones were watching you etc?

    Sadly, a lot of you shrug and say "Well they ARE crazy to think the government would ever do anything bad..."

    June 20, 2013 at 7:44 am | Reply
  51. joe c

    welcome to the jewnited states of israel...AIPAC/israel=9/11

    June 20, 2013 at 7:30 am | Reply
  52. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    Know who the REAL enemy is...

    Have you been discharged with honor; from US military service?
    Do you own a Bible ?
    Do you own an American flag ?
    Do you own ANY guns ?
    Have you EVER had ANY thoughts of LIMITED GOVERNMENT ?
    Have you EVER said ANYTHING bad about PUBLIC UNIONS ?
    Have you EVER thought that you have been taxed too much ?
    Are you opposed to TAX PAYER funded; abortion on demand ?
    Have you EVER listened to conservative talk radio ?

    WHAT ??? ??? ??? !!! !!! !!!

    Where is that ARMED DRONE now???
    What is the ETA to this guy ???

    June 20, 2013 at 7:22 am | Reply
  53. Paige

    our founding fathers created a weak federal governmennt for a reason. Right now we are witnessing what happenes wheb the federal gov. is given too much power. Forget states rights, what about the rights of the citizens? if something isn't done to stop things like this and take power away from the fed and the president, then we might as well resign ourselves to an oligarchy.

    June 20, 2013 at 7:00 am | Reply
  54. Fkatsguide

    Too bad the FBI wasn't able to use their drones to help find Jimmy Hoffa the last 30 or 40 times they dug for him.

    June 20, 2013 at 6:46 am | Reply
  55. Jeff

    This is quite entertaining. Sounds like Chuck Henry is black because rather doing any stating of facts he just throws the race card around. Keep up the ad hominym attacks will confide no one. My ancestors came from Germany and Hitler and it sure sounds like you need to read up on that. How did he come to power? Or did they not teach that at your school? Btw Grassley just lives down the road. He's a farmer and just a regular guy. Read his story while you're at it. To everyone around here who he may interact with he's just Chuck not Charles.

    June 20, 2013 at 6:32 am | Reply
  56. Mark Roath

    Within last two years, a drone crashed in El Paso, Texas, and the party responsible was never identified, was the owner the FBI, Border Patrol or military?

    June 20, 2013 at 6:25 am | Reply
    • Doug

      none of the above. it was operated by the Mexican government, it had gone off course and crashed.

      June 20, 2013 at 10:02 am | Reply
  57. Bob 'rehoboth-beach foodie" Yesbek

    Now that explains the nightly noise and light over my house but my neighbor swears that they are UFO's and not drones.

    June 20, 2013 at 6:14 am | Reply
  58. things to think about

    to defeat the national debt we could secede from the union declare states sovereignty. Either that or go to war against the federal government. What are they gonna do when our own troops stand down their orders to fire on us? Hire their UN thugs to try and wax us? We are tired of a government of by and for Banks and Lobbyists.

    The answer to 1984 is 1776

    June 20, 2013 at 6:14 am | Reply
  59. Wgf

    Pretty soon drones will be sending you speeding tickets in the mail

    June 20, 2013 at 5:47 am | Reply
  60. Leif

    We are already living in a police state. We have surrendered our freedom because of a few crazies from Saudi Arabia.

    June 20, 2013 at 5:41 am | Reply
    • Fkatsguide

      Or Kenya.

      June 20, 2013 at 6:47 am | Reply
  61. Farrok

    I have some very bad neighbors a few streets over send in the drones. At 2:00 A.M. when they are partying hit them and hit them hard (;

    June 20, 2013 at 4:35 am | Reply
  62. ed

    Its Really STRANGE how all the criminal activity is called scandals? Why is no one in JAIL???? This country is F*^ked... Run while you can....

    June 20, 2013 at 3:42 am | Reply
  63. Mark

    Spying on computers and using other technology is okay when evidence is presented to an independent court and a warrant is granted. It is called CHECKS AND BALANCES.

    June 20, 2013 at 3:22 am | Reply
    • Paul

      I normally agree. but not when those courts are secret... where is the check and balance there?

      June 20, 2013 at 3:39 am | Reply
  64. Mark

    I have been suspecting that for a long time. If you have this technology then your government will use it against you. Their is no more accountability.

    June 20, 2013 at 3:18 am | Reply
  65. Doh

    Well who wouldn't use drones? Loads cheaper than law enforcement sending up a manned helicopter.

    June 20, 2013 at 3:07 am | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Certainly true, and I don't have any major objections to such things. But there needs to be proper oversight to guard against abuse, and someone needs to think about what might happen when one of these things crashes into a crowd or freeway. It's real easy to lose radio control, especially in urban environments.

      June 20, 2013 at 3:38 am | Reply
      • Swami121

        It's not that easy to lose radio control over a UAV, but when you do, there are fail-safes. Return to home, hover in place, waypoint return.

        June 20, 2013 at 5:10 am |
  66. bankrupt1

    It will end up in the wrong hands or perverts will interpret everything wrong so they can feel the power. Training isn't always right and you can't go on looks, or even what people say. Seems like they could use it to find out who is bribing who in our government. That would be a good use.

    June 20, 2013 at 2:54 am | Reply
    • bankrupt1

      I could see using it to track politicians. Make sure they aren't being coerced, bribed, threatened, etc.

      June 20, 2013 at 2:55 am | Reply
      • bankrupt1

        and that they aren't out stealing resources for industry and such. minerals, water, organs, whatever...

        June 20, 2013 at 2:56 am |
  67. bankrupt1

    Doesn't it seem odd that they could have the same senator for this many years?

    June 20, 2013 at 2:50 am | Reply
    • bankrupt1

      is he a plant by the defense dept?

      June 20, 2013 at 9:02 am | Reply
  68. bankrupt1

    Fire, Aim, Ready leadership...and we are supposed to follow this?

    June 20, 2013 at 2:48 am | Reply
  69. thinking

    Hey, what's going on here? Where are the republicans vs. liberals fights? They used to entertain me.

    June 20, 2013 at 2:38 am | Reply
    • Bulldog Butler

      It's just too confusing to break it down into "my party vs. your party" on this issue. Obama supports military drone strikes – Republicans are trying to hold back an emerging industry. This issue makes American politics topsy-turvy. :-)

      June 20, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  70. stalkingnightmare

    Most people do not know that even community organizations/ big corporations are also participated in this surveillance programs. I have my own experience.


    June 20, 2013 at 2:15 am | Reply
    • thinking

      I know. It's not even a secret. Monsanto, a chemical company that manufactures some of the most toxic chemicals known to man, uses surveillance and harassment to intimidate farmers, then force them to pay profit shares, because their crop is contaminated with their genetically engineered seeds. Farmers must also agree to a gag order. And it's all legal.

      June 20, 2013 at 2:44 am | Reply
  71. J.V.Hodgson

    Here we go taking exception to development of technology ( drones vs surveillance satellites) the latter that were already capable of use.
    Ever heard of Spy satellites that can hone in and read the number plates off cars or Google earth, where I can hone in on exactly where I live.... that was earth shattering to me. It means not just our lovely government but any terrorist or person with a grudge against me can see when I'm home or not = chose the right time for sniper surveillance with an illegal gun or place an IED he finds out how to make off the internet to blow me up, or even a pressure cooker bomb.
    The total crassness of some media is awful. They sit there pontificating and saying transparency = they have to have the final say on the parameters of operation and what any specific government and its agencies determine shall be classified and secret. That's impractical.
    WE have oversight of all parts of government including the FBI... now if it takes the FBI to tell congress about the use of drones and why and the oversight committee had not discovered that worrying about whose fault or why we didn't know is irrelevant .
    The only issue is did drone use help save lives or solve a crime or even partly prevent a crime.... so congress do your job lay down the rules and stop making a major crisis out of things that could already be done irrespective of drones. Drones just make it easier and more effective results wise. Our president and government have duty to defend us against all enemies foreign and domestic.

    June 20, 2013 at 2:04 am | Reply
  72. nullhogarth

    As it happens, there really aren't a lot of regulations on drones, either privately- or publicly-owned. They can be used by anyone, from a police agency, to a private detective, to a stalker. It's an interesting new world.

    June 20, 2013 at 1:35 am | Reply
    • bankrupt1

      some rug worshipping kids are selling them in the mall.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:51 am | Reply
    • Scott

      This is the downfall of the modern conservatard. They simply can't grasp that the government is simply keeping up the technology of modern criminals.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:55 am | Reply
      • Downfall

        Evidently it concerns modern liberals also. Read the article again with comprehension. CNN spent a lot of print space on Grassley's concerns, typical of this particular new agency however they also mentioned Feinstein's concerns as well.

        June 20, 2013 at 2:25 am |
    • John Stone

      Stalkers can use them !?! Damn where can I pick one up ?

      June 20, 2013 at 10:37 am | Reply
      • Bulldog Butler

        Right here, John: 3drobotics.com and diydrones.com – good sources of information for anyone concerned about drones as not all drones are alike.

        I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the FBI is using multirotors like the one on the front page there. A multirotor has a range of about a mile or two, battery life of maybe 15 minutes, and a payload of 10 – 20 lbs., tops. They are better than manned helicopters because they can get in closer and maneuver through cover (fly through a window, etc), but a multirotor is only good for surveillance if you've already got the target's general location (up on that roof, beyond that fence, etc.) – useful for a dragnet but not the sole necessary tool. So this type of drone is used primarily in a hostage/stand-off situation to find and identify the suspect and any immediate hazards in the area so that SWAT teams can move in to engage.

        June 20, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
  73. DW

    All these stories about nothing and yet they make so many people upset.

    June 20, 2013 at 1:30 am | Reply
    • Scott

      I think it's likely that these people will always be upset and these types of issues are just triggers.

      June 20, 2013 at 2:00 am | Reply
    • thinking

      Thank you for your comment. You may now return to sticking your head back into the sand.

      June 20, 2013 at 2:46 am | Reply
  74. Nixon's Ghost

    Drones done shot a dead man down
    The first shlt I took was when I was on the ground
    You end up like a dog that's been watched too much
    Till you spend half your life just figuring what.. Drones in the U.S.A.
    We got drones in the U.S.A.
    We got drones in the U.S.A.

    June 20, 2013 at 1:22 am | Reply
  75. annieL

    This is technology. Everybody loves technology, right? How about that smartphone that replaced your simple cell phone that replaced your cordless landline phone that replaced your dial phone? Who still owns a rotary dial phone? How is a drone different from say, the Goodyear blimp hovering over the football stadium equipped with video cameras shooting film of you in bleachers, or over your political rally or street protest, or those traffic cameras installed at intersections to see you running a redlight and getting your tag number? The time to protect privacy is to prevent the next step in technology from being manufactured and sold to somebody who will use it. But who wants to stifle technology development? Nobody. We want whatever the technicians invent next, don't we?

    June 20, 2013 at 1:11 am | Reply
    • aaron

      If it's going to create 1984, stiffle the technology. The technology is available to clone humans, but it was banned worldwide for the greater good. If you want your every move to be monitored by the government, visit North Korea, Iran, or China. Get a good look at those government's use of the technology you want to deify.

      June 20, 2013 at 4:27 am | Reply
  76. John

    This whole thing seems to be way over the line. Every other headline is "admits" like someone broke down on the witness stand on a Perry Mason show. Is anyone surprised? Why shouldn't they use them? Grassley just needed to find a way to get in the spotlight, reading (and not very well) the questions that someone else had written for him, as if he had discovered some deep, dark secret. And Sen. Feinstein, if you really think that drones are the biggest threat to our privacy, you haven't been on line lately. The fact is time and science march on, new techniques are developed, and every one of them is scary, whether its gunpowder or balloons or planes or fingerprints or drones. And it is not going to stop whether we like it or not. I would feel a lot better if we had people in Congress who could and would act intelligently, pursue meaningful questions and investigations, and act in our best interests for a change.

    June 20, 2013 at 1:03 am | Reply
  77. Chuck Henry

    Let's get all freaked out about the FBI trying to stop crime. Boy that's scary. It's horrible how they violated the privacy of Al Capone, and John Dillinger, as well as nailed a lot of traitor selling secrets to the Soviets during the cold ware. But I suppose those must be your heroes folks. They like the drones because they can get them in position in a timely manner instead of waiting to maneuver the Satellite while some hostages get it in the neck. Wake up you paranoid crybabies.

    June 20, 2013 at 1:02 am | Reply
    • Kenny Kiklar

      ...says the good little sheep.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:05 am | Reply
      • Chuck Henry

        Says the paranoid doper

        June 20, 2013 at 1:12 am |
    • adibese

      Your government thanks you for your blind support. Never, in history, has a government terrorized, killed or imprisoned their own citizens.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:12 am | Reply
      • Chuck Henry

        I kinda think you missed the chapter on Stalin.

        June 20, 2013 at 1:45 am |
    • Downfall

      McCarthy and his cohorts must be your heroes, among others.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:22 am | Reply
    • nullhogarth

      I'm with you, Chuck. Good to know there's a level head out there somewhere.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:33 am | Reply
    • Brandon

      yea the govt is just doing all this to protect us... hahahahaaha. Chuck believes it. Chuck believes in Obama too. Some people are just too relient and believe in govt too much. Chuck is one of them. Thinks the USA is invincible. Thats what Rome thought too. Sorry Chuck but the govt is obviously up to no good if you cant see it by now you are either completely retarded or you are in denial. It just takes some people longer to understand stuff. Chuck is one.

      June 20, 2013 at 2:58 am | Reply
  78. thinking

    The best way to avoid a really big problem is by addressing it when it is still a small problem.

    June 20, 2013 at 1:01 am | Reply
  79. lightseeker

    Listen, we Americans can't do anything about it anyways. Try to stop the government from doing something they are intent on doing and you will end up like MLK, President Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X and Stokley Carmichael. I can see a civil war coming, because these corrupt government officials will stop at nothing, to make zombies out of all of us.

    June 20, 2013 at 12:34 am | Reply
    • mickey1313

      That is why every single american needs to arm up, and tell the government ebgough is enough. This is our country, they administer it, it is not theres to rule. PFC Manning is a hero, Snowden is a hero, Asange is a hero.

      June 20, 2013 at 12:41 am | Reply
      • Chuck Henry

        Really? ARM UP. Well that just proves the FBI needs this drone capability to keep track and pinpoint nuts like you.

        June 20, 2013 at 12:56 am |
      • Kenny Kiklar

        Chuck Henry is a good little sheep. Bow down to your ma$ters, Chuck. Kiss the king's ring.

        June 20, 2013 at 1:06 am |
      • Chuck Henry

        Hey Kenny, I can't wait to see you with all you big talk on the news soon taking on the FBI. I'm glad you were able to escape from the Branch Davidian compound back in the day, but it might be a little harder now. You are the sheep. It's people like you that gave Hitler his start. Fascist loser. Kenny – "If'in it twernt for the goverment and dem black folk, I'd be a millonare butz they are keepin me down"

        And I hate to break this to you Rambo, but everything you need to know about the Kennedy assassination is in the Warren report. I just wanted to address that since that is probably where you were going next.

        June 20, 2013 at 1:20 am |
    • doregroj

      not surprised tell me whats the difference between a drone over your head or a satellite over your head, seeing the same thing. Havent you seen the movie yet.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:08 am | Reply
    • Downfall

      People like Kenny gave Hitler a leg up? You're incorrect people like you put Hitler in power. The Warren Commission Report? What a joke. You bleat in your sleep.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:28 am | Reply
      • Chuck Henry

        I see you don't want to address your racism. Wow, fear of a black planet run wild.

        June 20, 2013 at 1:33 am |
      • Downfall

        "Fear of a black planet run wild?" I wrote nothing about blacks, or anything remotely related to race, ethnicity etc. Your reading comprehension leaves much to be desired, no doubt you ditched school more often than attended.

        June 20, 2013 at 1:49 am |
  80. KandisBot

    I've had spy drones here from Libya. The couple worked at HUD with me & were known to Washington to be overseas in Libya. Since then I've seen them a few times & they've spoken. The first Libyan one had spoken & looked smug just as it had said. Bugs & birds.

    June 20, 2013 at 12:31 am | Reply
  81. thinking

    I Politicians are mostly corrupt and corporations profit from that. Most politicians are CEOs, executives, major stock holders, and they have connections to the super wealthy and corporations. They are detached from the realities that the rest of us citizens face – they do not have our worries. Politicians should act in our interests – not make us targets for terrorists and outlaws. We are their employers.

    June 20, 2013 at 12:29 am | Reply
  82. lightseeker

    The drone program started during President G.W. Bush's first installation by the Supreme Court.

    June 20, 2013 at 12:27 am | Reply
  83. volsocal

    WHo are the FBI agents using drones? I mean, what are their names? I would trust them a lot more if they had the guts to be identified and own up to what they are doing. The problem really arises when federal government employees caught abusing their authority (like the IRS guys) don't get exposed or punished. Anonymity is the key to corruption. It is the same weapon that protects a terrorist.

    June 20, 2013 at 12:22 am | Reply
  84. Jeff

    I am just your average American who cares little about politics, but Obama is really starting to scare me.

    June 19, 2013 at 11:59 pm | Reply
    • Chuck Henry

      Lots o' white folks is scared of dem black folk.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:24 am | Reply
    • Tibho

      These programs were started before Obama. The FBI, NSA, and CIA should deploy all necessary technology to keep us safe just as long as they don't unnecessarily violate our privacy. This is government of the people by the people and it is the legislators you voted in that authorized all these programs. Why are people not equally complaining about the commercial use of these same technologies.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:33 am | Reply
  85. Christine Olson

    While drones are pretty awesome for surveillance, No doubt the FBI will abuse this just like they misuse thier informant program and informant money. They wont be watching thier informant criminals, or potential terrorists – like the boston marathan bomber (who was probably an informant of the FBI). The FBI will be watching thier critics while trying to drum up new ways to create and scapegoat a negative public sentiment against thier critics.

    June 19, 2013 at 11:59 pm | Reply
  86. Peter

    Is it 1984 yet?

    June 19, 2013 at 11:51 pm | Reply
  87. Bill

    Long live the United Socialist States of America.

    June 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm | Reply
  88. Dink_Winkerson

    Now the NSA can here me order a large pepperoni with extra cheese, and the FBI can watch them deliver it!

    June 19, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Reply
    • Eddie

      Man, this is out of control. Everyday no matter what I eat. The US Government knows what it is and then run stupid ads from the place. This is beyond absurd. Stop claiming its terrorist your watching. I am a veteran and American. What the hell is wrong with these people? Why is nothing being done?

      June 19, 2013 at 11:47 pm | Reply
  89. rjsenterp

    It just keeps getting worse. Boy is the federal government out of control. And after 5 years in office there is no one to blame but Obama. And yes, he is making war on his own people or at least setting the stage.

    "When in the course of human events..."

    June 19, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Reply
    • Peter

      The stage was set with the passing of the Patriot Act.

      June 19, 2013 at 11:51 pm | Reply
      • Downfall

        Various parts of the Patriot Act have been in effect for many years, the Act itself merely expanded and formalized the powers.

        June 20, 2013 at 1:05 am |
  90. rjsenterp


    June 19, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Reply
  91. Knucklehead

    This is all deception. They just want to get people worked up about these drones while they develop the insect-sized ones that can enter your house through your soffits or ventilation system and watch your every move and listen in on every conversation. NSA has the algorithms to crunch all the data. Watch what you gripe about at dinner. Better not be your govt, which seeks only to protect you.

    June 19, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Reply
    • daveyoung

      Obamma like dat !

      June 19, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Reply
    • Chuck Henry

      Now that's a good comment and I totally concur. The people here are missing what's coming next, or maybe already in your house.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:30 am | Reply
  92. stalkingnightmare

    It is not just intelligence agencies who spy on Americans. There are big corporations, community organizations, religious organizations and even individuals spy on Americans. There is one big well coordinated network.
    I have my own experience.

    June 19, 2013 at 11:16 pm | Reply
  93. chuck

    When they fly they drone the words "I don't Know"

    June 19, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Reply
  94. Darnell

    Obama is 100x worse than bush.. Obama is starting a war with the American people

    June 19, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Reply
    • daveyoung


      June 19, 2013 at 11:22 pm | Reply
    • James PDX

      Like either party has provided us with a good or honest president in our lifetimes. But you people still keep voting for them – and then complain about the results.

      June 19, 2013 at 11:25 pm | Reply

      My friend the drones are unarmed, and are mostly used on the borders of Mexico by homeland security and fed agents (ICE)......that is all....& the next Pres., dem or repub, will use them too.....

      June 19, 2013 at 11:38 pm | Reply
    • Chuck Henry

      Well then, arm up, get your Klan hood on, and get a move on Cletus. Triumph of the Will and all that jazz. We ain't gwonna let some darky tell us what to do iz we?

      June 20, 2013 at 1:29 am | Reply
    • Chuck Henry

      Well folks like you are always crying about how screwed up the country is. So maybe the government is looking to thin the herd and help you out. But maybe they come for you instead, it's kind of a crap shoot.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:42 am | Reply
    • Gary in Maine

      Darnell: I bet your one of the 13% who think congress is doing a good job. You do realize it's congress' job to provide the over sight for these programs. Fillibustering every single piece of legislation is called obstructionism. Your pathetic GOP/T-Nuts are our county's #1 problem.

      June 20, 2013 at 6:39 am | Reply
  95. BriAN monosso

    If you see one shoot it down.

    June 19, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Reply
    • Richard

      I think there's a couple videos on youtube showing that.

      June 19, 2013 at 11:32 pm | Reply
  96. Mr Ed

    Big deal. Why not whine about helicopters in this instance?

    June 19, 2013 at 11:05 pm | Reply
  97. Misc

    Umm... minimal? Anyone who lives or has a cottage along the St. Lawrence river sees or hears these on a frequent basis.

    June 19, 2013 at 11:02 pm | Reply
  98. notsurprisedatall

    No. No more Drones and no more Data Mining until the proper checks and balances are put in place. I understand that these can be important tools for a whole host of situations, but until their use is completely in line with the Bill of Rights, and the power cannot be abused without clearly defined punishment. NO. I'm tired of secret programs and courts and whistleblowers being called traitors. If these programs are so good for the America, then their is no reason to keep them hidden.
    So No. I don't trust my government with this power over me. I only trust my fellow American citizens when it comes to protecting my rights.

    June 19, 2013 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  99. Knucklehead

    Hey, I'm going on vacation next week...who do I contact to see if they'll keep an eye on my place? Can they program those things to feed my dogs and let them out a couple times a day? It's my tax dollars, after all.... C'mon, time to serve and protect.

    June 19, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Reply
  100. Knucklehead

    What a shocker...as if they would ever limit themselves. Once that Patriot Act was passed, the cat was out of the bag. It might be inconvenient, those drones watching you all the time, but at least you know you're safe...from everybody but the govt.

    This is just the beginning. They won't go back willingly. Did we really beat the Russians? Or become them?

    June 19, 2013 at 10:44 pm | Reply
    • too_much_big_gov

      Very well put. This administration take big brother to scary extremes. This is what you get with an arrogant administration that thinks government knows better than the public.

      June 19, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Reply
      • bankrupt1

        I'm not convinced that its our government. could be, but could be private banking cartel (with many globalist banksters that don't give a rip about this country). we need to throw the Israel firsters and british out of our government. do like they did with tobacco and make it political suicide for any politician accepting money from them, or taking bribes from them. THAT I could see using surveillance on.

        June 20, 2013 at 2:08 am |
      • Gary in Maine

        You know damn well it not the administration, it this do absolutely nothing congress. All these surveillance progranms have been in place spaning multiple presidencies. This obstructionist GOP is our problem. THEY and only they create the laws on which these organizations are supposed to follow. If the obstructionists in congress do nothing, no laws get enacted. OUT WITH THE GOP/T NUTS

        June 20, 2013 at 6:35 am |
      • F. Lee Hall III

        You are thinking of the former Bush administration who tried to instill all Americans with terror, using words like "Patriot, and Homeland", (reminds one of the Nazis).

        June 20, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • Chuck Henry

      If we had become the Soviet Union, your anti-government stance would have you in a cell in Lubyanka right now having your eyeballs torn from the sockets while you screamed like a little girl and confessed. I like how you can compare a regime that killed 20 Milliion of it's own people to the US. Wow.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:39 am | Reply
      • Mark

        This is a flawed argument. I grew in east Germany, they did not arrest you for everything. They kept secret files on us and when you applied for certain jobs those files were used against you. If you went to far with your opinions then you disappeared, get your facts straight, the US is heading towards becoming the USSR.

        June 20, 2013 at 3:20 am |
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