UPDATE: according to public records the FBI has used drones on at least four separate occasions since 2010.
FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged Wednesday that the FBI has used drones for surveillance operations inside the U.S. — but only in a “very, very minimal way.”
He told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that the FBI’s use of unmanned aircraft was “very narrowly focused on particularized cases and particularized needs.”
“And I will tell you that our footprint is very small. We have very few and of limited use and we’re exploring not only the use but also the necessary guidelines for that use,” he testified.
The hearing came amongst revelations surround the NSA’s widespread surveillance of communications across the globe under the PRISM program. But for Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, Americans should be more worried about drones…
“If people are concerned about privacy, I think the greatest threat to the privacy of Americans is the drone … and the very few regulations that are on it today and the booming industry of commercial drones”.
Legislators across the US are currently scrambling to piece together city, state, and federal laws before America’s skies are opened to drones in 2015 under the passage of new FAA legislation.
The future resonance between drones and ubiquitous electronic surveillance will likely create the conditions for what Jacques Ellul once described as an administrative “concentration camp”.