The FBI Has Been Using Drones Domestically Since 2006

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

So about that whole drone debate in the USA…

It seems the feds decided to simply skip over such a quaint notion and deploy them without telling anyone. Back in December of last year, I highlighted a press release from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) about current drone flights in the U.S. They disclosed that:

Today EFF posted several thousand pages of new drone license records and a new map that tracks the location of drone flights across the United States.


Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 2.49.41 PM


These records, received as a result of EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), come from state and local law enforcement agencies, universities and—for the first time—three branches of the U.S. military: the Air Force, Marine Corps, and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

That story was big news to me at the time, and it was particularly disturbing in light of the fact that Congress has cleared the way for the Federal Aviation Administration to allow 30,000 drones in the nation’s skies by 2020. Well it appears that the whole drone debate was over before it even began, with the FBI having used drones domestically for at least seven years. From the LA Times:

WASHINGTON – Operating with almost no public notice, the FBI has spent more than $3 million to operate a fleet of small drone aircraft in domestic investigations, according to a report released Thursday by a federal watchdog agency.


The unmanned surveillance planes have helped FBI agents storm barricaded buildings, track criminal suspects and examine crime scenes since 2006, longer than previously known, according to the 35-page inspector general’s audit of drones used by the Justice Department.


The FBI unmanned planes weigh less than 55 pounds each and are unarmed, the report said. The FBI declined requests to discuss its drone operations Thursday.


But the auditors determined that the FBI had not addressed the danger of violating privacy rights, and recommended that the deputy attorney general’s office consider writing new guidelines to curb improper surveillance by law enforcement drones.


Officials from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told auditors that there was “no need” to write new privacy guidelines, the report said.

Well, ok then!

In addition to buying drones for internal use, the Justice Department has awarded at least $1.2 million to local police departments to purchase small drones, but failed to track how the money was spent, the audit found.

Hey, why not? Police in Dallas just took delivery of a tank for some reason.

Agents wanted more detailed surveillance photos of the house of Martin Luther King Jr. Day bomber Kevin W. Harpham, according to an official familiar with the operation. As the drone flew overhead, video and infrared images of the pine-studded hills around Harpham’s property were transmitted to FBI agents using a password-protected law enforcement website called Big Pipe.


The FBI used the videos of footpaths and outbuildings on the rural property to plan the raid that captured Harpham on March 9, 2011.

Oh, the irony. So now the FBI is somehow the protector of Martin Luther King’s legacy when they wiretapped him and spied on him while he was alive? Got it. The United States of Hypocrisy.

Full article here.


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Oh regional Indian's picture

With the barium and aluminium in the chemtrails, with android tracking, with iphoney fingerprinting, remote downloading of all phone data, x-ray vans, fema feel ups, tsa pat downs, national snooping agencies..... any notion that we are speaking of the land of th efree is beyond ridiculous.

Let us not forget the newly de-mobbed, angry, drug fuelled "veterans" who are used to getting what they want at the barrel of a gun, a nation addicted to pain-killers.....


I was similarly down and out abotu India and the world in general and then I took a train ride.

And it became clear without doubt that all of this non-sense is a city phenomenan. cities, civilization, overcrowding, 24/7 surveillance, policing, claustrophobia.....


All these are ills of civilized society. left to it's own means and humans in their natural environment.....a thing of beauty, this existence, terra, simple folk, the lot.

Simplicity is not a question of one-button data access....


LetThemEatRand's picture

I don't know what is it, but you seem different to me.

The People are waking up.

EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

"to protect and serve"... the Federal Reserve enslaving the entire planet.


Shame on anyone that lets their child become a cop or join the military.



The Alarmist's picture

They've been using drones since 1933 ... it's the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles that has your knickers in a knot.

phaesed's picture

How dare you say that shit? Some of us served for the right purposes, despite the fact we may not agree with what our Government does, there is no higher duty than to serve. I grew into a smarter, more intelligent person for my military service. It provided me with the means to get my Bachelor's and then move on to my doctorate program. It took me away from drug addictions that I faced with my upbringing, it took me out of poverty. The military is more than being a tool for political reasons, it's about learning how to keep your life together. Some of our soldiers got abused and discarded.... quite a few, but it's assholes like you who are ashamed of those who served that leave so many of us out in the cold. So go fuck yourself, some of us sacrificed our freedoms for yours.

GMadScientist's picture

I plan to treat the drones like smart moviestars do the Paparazzi...and just bore them to death.

Seer's picture

I tell you that the great cities rest upon these broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic. But destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in this country?.

- William Jennings Bryant

Cities are unsustainable by their very nature, they HAVE to import in order to exist/survive.  Those imports come from the countryside.

TPTB have two kinds of "managers," those that manage the containment of folks in the cities and those that manage the lands out in the countryside from which resources are squeezed.  It's a continual march to push rural peoples out of their lands: this is THE key battle ground, always has been and always will be.

Wahooo's picture

Nice blog. I love Custer, SD and the surrounding Black Hills. And your Absarokas photo brings back some fond backpacking memories of great sunsets. Nice mix of the economic growth engines, too. Well done!

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Thank you for the kind words.


"We bloggers depend on the kindness of strangers to read our stuff."


lakecity55's picture

and NYC is gtting ready to elect a full-time, communist Mayor.

"Sorry, Mike, NYC will be taking your news network now"

"But, but,"

"We need the income, comrade."

fonzannoon's picture

correct NYC is about to make a sharp(er) turn towards the ditch while they hit the gas pedal

Seer's picture

Call it what it is!  CONTROL.

That anyone would be surprised at this trajectory is a complete mystery.  It's like folks haven't a clue about history and what it teaches us.  POWER always leads us here!  Hurling divisive labels around only results in everyone looking to poke each other rather than actually attack the problem.

lakecity55's picture

"If you see something, don't say anything."

Department of



Seer's picture

Oh, great!  Another "club" to have to sign on to... clubs and groups are perfect handles by which to infiltrate, corrupt and control: Occupy No Street; Tea Time... perfect examples of this in action (names selected to emphasize how they successfully they became marginalized- and now we spend a shit load of energy and time debating not on what they DO or should do, but what they "were meant to do," which does NOTHING, which is EXACTLY what TPTB want).

Labels, no better means of creating diversions for TPTB.

Wahooo's picture

Would it be possible for a population under government drone seige to send up 500-1,000 radio shack type drones and create a cloud of confusion for the enemy?

Seer's picture

Not without licenses to purchase equipment from TPTB-controlled Radio Shack(s).

Listen, you're NOT going to "defeat" any of this head-on.  The more energy you put into it the less power you have for escape velocity.  Besides, fighting TPTB is what THEY want! (it allows them the justification for tighter controls, for squeezing more protection money from us, and, for keeping us from actually applying ourselves toward a REAL "solution")

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Use of force is their expertise, not yours.  Thats how I generally put it.

shovelhead's picture


You could be talking about your own kid.

A bunch of major universities have drone trainig programs. My son was actively recruited by a 'fellow math student' to join the program.

He asked if the program came with a Nazi Gestapo officers hat. He liked the little skulls.

Ended the conversation.

CH1's picture

Nice job, kid!

Congrats, dad.

Seer's picture

Good job, dad, on raising that kid!

lakecity55's picture

It does not need to be a tank.

They are top heavy. I suggest building big fake lures to lead them into a deep hole you have dug with a backhoe and covered up.

Wahooo's picture

It's interesting that in 50 years, Americans have turned against their government twice in a big way. The first time, all the government had to do was exit Vietnam. The second time, I'm not sure what they can do to mollify the malcontents.

Seer's picture

Israel and the US were working on drone technologies together.  I think Boeing was involved...

Reap what ye sow...

Fires eventually extinguish.  Be friends with water...

lakecity55's picture


Yes, most of them are.

Seer's picture

I do that to all the fighter training jets when they race up and down my valley.

I KNOW that eventually energy and the lack of economies of scale to support its extraction and processing will end it all...

29.5 hours's picture



"the paper had more important things to do, such as “cover the turmoil in Syria."

Therefor no coverage of a very important and on-going campaign against our rights and the Constitution.

However, right there on the front page of the NY Times today, there is the extremely important coverage of the N.F.L.'s latest campaign to expand football in Europe.


Seer's picture

"Obama allowed Israel complete access to all of Americans' data without legal restrictions in a secret agreement in March 2009"

I wish that people would make their minds up, does Obama HATE or LOVE Israel?

Israel had access LONG before 2009...

Don't confuse something being new to oneself as it being totally new...  And I'm sure that there's info predating even this: my point was just to point out that this isn't somehow something new which has only been ocurring during the current POTUS (claiming such is great Party Pussy theatrics though).

Seer's picture

"And you wonder why this country is spiraling out of control with debt accumulation."

I don't.  And I think that people need to quit pretending that they they don't know/understand why.

The easy pickings of "dead meat" are long gone.  "Live meat" is on the menu.  We're now starting to see what was always the last thing available on the menu- vulture.  Vultures feeding on vultures.  Only so much consumption possible from a limited menu.  World's a finite place, or is this some new revelation for folks?

Seer's picture

Well, if we're assigning "home work" then how about you provide a dissertation on how "free market capitalism" can succeed in pushing perpetual growth on a finite planet.

Disclaimer: not in defense of anyone, but in defense of logic (and reality).

putaipan's picture

i've always said if it wasn't for 24 there never would have been obama ... black president? cool.

Seer's picture


Trying to get people to reconcile this cognitive dissonance is enough to drive one loony...  On one hand I've got to slap myself from going nuts, on the other I need to slap all the idiots running around (most wearing ideological blinders and or are Party Pussies).

Seer's picture


How many?

How does this compare to all the folks around the globe that we KNOWINGLY bomb, burn and gun down, you know, so we can have "our freedoms?"

How long ago was it that Bill Moyers did "The Secret Government"?  1988?  Nineteen-fucking-Eight-Eight!  Twenty-Five YEARS ago!  And, this was precipitated by actions that had happened years before then.  This has all been a festering brew since the CIA was formed (legitimized, 1947; one year later the state of Israel was formed; oh! and to make one's head spin- ex-Nazis we're utilized in all sorts of the US's post WWII defense agencies).

ebworthen's picture

You mean the Elmer Fudd-eral Bureau of Intimidation?

Why am I not surprised?

You guys (gals) suck.


Seer's picture

POWER doesn't give a shit about laws and "restrictions," which, to borrow from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, "are more guidelines than actual rules.")

POWER ONLY EXISTS because we use it's systems!  This should be pretty fucking obvious in this here piece.  We HAVE to have the Internet, which is Their system.  The BIG mistake is folks thinking that the Internet, even though they paid for it, is theirs.  It's the chains that bind...

People don't know how to survive without the systems that POWER is running.  Those whose lives have been made "easy" are NOT going to revolt against those systems: more of peoples' taxes being paid to the spooks while they, the people, are at the very same time "investing" in the data-collection factories such as FB?  Wait a minute while I slap the loony feeling from my senses...

lakecity55's picture

Go long on .50 Cal Rifle makers.

crowd's picture

So if you travel to the U.S. these days, you'll  end up having guns flying over your head controlled by the same people that are eavesdropping on your communications. That's just rude.

Disenchanted's picture

Philip Giraldi's take:



A Government Answerable to No One

by , September 26, 2013

The Edward Snowden March 2009 memo which reveals that the National Security Agency (NSA) is illegally spying on American citizens and then passing the raw information it obtains on to Israel is particularly shocking because it demonstrates with documentary evidence just how Washington’s inside the beltway crowd places its relationship with Israel above its responsibility to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States. But equally interesting is the tale of the dog that did not bark in the night. The crowds of angry Americans concerned about their loss of privacy gathering in front of the White House failed to materialize because the story, unreported in most of the media, quickly disappeared down the memory hole. The Washington Post placed it on a back page while The New York Times did not report it at all, Managing Editor Dean Baquet calling it a story that was neither "significant" nor "surprising" as determined by his "news judgment." The Times own Public Editor Margaret Sullivan disagreed, however, as did most of the readers’ comments on the failure to include it in the paper. Some commenters noted that the Times is frequently inclined to avoid stories that are critical of Israel.


Perhaps the much better reported role of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in pushing for a war against Syria in spite of the overwhelming objections of the American people had something to do with it, the mainstream media being unwilling to excoriate Israel and its friends twice in one week. But to be fair to the Israelis, they are not the villains in the piece even if they did aggressively seek information on Americans, which one should presume to be the case. It was the newly inaugurated President of the United States and the government he headed that took the steps to share its intelligence on Americans. Israel might have requested or even demanded the information but it was up to the White House to say "no."


continued here:  A Government Answerable to No One


deerhunter's picture

I saw and all black vehicle same in design as an armored money carried.  The markings in white letters simply said,  armed surveillance vehicle,  do not approach.  Tinted windows and could not see in.  There were no license plates front or back.  I was about 3 miles west of Ohare Airport at a light when it pulled up next to me.  I didn't have time to grab my phone and take a picture but I have not seen anything like it.  There were gun key holes for shooting out just like armored money vehicle.  It was odd and it seemed out of place.  Spidey senses going off big time.  But hey,  I wasn't breaking the law, right???

shovelhead's picture

This is why it pays to keep a Capt. 'Tom Hanks' Miller approved 'sticky bomb' handy at all times.

Seer's picture

Imagine how many more rapes they could get away with with This thing.

Think if old Ronnie were still alive he'd support us as "Freedom Fighters?"

Heroic Couplet's picture

Whatever drones are doing, good, as long as there's no Republican in the White House, and the approval rating of Republicans in Congress is at 0%. The real camera work is getting done, by Democrat operatives, on the ground.

shovelhead's picture

At least you won't have to worry about drones crashing gay weddings.

All Out Of Bubblegum's picture

Dig, y'all:


The Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC) is an American governmental/corporate alliance created at the request of corporations "for an FBI-led organization that would bridge the information divide between America’s private and public sectors"    in December 2005. The program facilitates information sharing and cooperation between the FBI and over 200 of the largest American companies, which altogether account for over one third of the gross domestic product of the United States. In December 2012, released documents showed that the DSAC and counter-terrorism programs conducted surveillance of non-violent Occupy Wall Street protesters in 2011.

Seer's picture

Thanks for presenting this.

Not sure if this is the same organization, but I seem to recall some similar corporate-based one that was going to be engaged in some big exercise (that could possibly be another great opportunity to hide some sort of 9/11 behind).

websitefound's picture

America's reliance on drones is frightening, what happens if someone inflitrates, sells, hacks the communication/control systems for these things?  Suddenly you have your own remote controllled airforce......that would be soooooo much fun!



Motorhead's picture

Thanks, J. Edgar!