FBI director admits domestic use of drones

by
June 20, 2013

The FBI uses drones for domestic surveillance purposes, the head of the agency told Congress early Wednesday.

Robert Mueller, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, confirmed to lawmakers that the FBI owns several unmanned aerial vehicles, but has not adopted any strict policies or guidelines yet to govern the use of the controversial aircraft.

“Does the FBI use drones for surveillance on US soil?” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Mr. Mueller during an oversight hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Yes,” Mueller responded bluntly, adding that the FBI’s operation of drones is “very seldom.”

Asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) to elaborate, Mueller added, “It’s very seldom used and generally used in a particular incident where you need the capability.” Earlier in the morning, however, Mueller said that the agency was only now working to establish set rule for the drone program.

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