Friday, June 21, 2013

FBI admits using surveillance drones to spy on Americans on US soil

Thom Hartmann, Truthout

You need to know this. As if the news of the NSA's phone and internet spying weren't enough to worry us, the FBI has just admitted to using surveillance drones to spy on Americans on US soil. During a Congressional hearing on telephone data collection, FBI director Robert Muller said the agency is in the "initial stages" of developing privacy guidelines, and has only used drones in a "very, very minimal way." However, Americans are skeptical of such a description after being told that sweeping data collection was only a "modest" invasion of our privacy. Democratic Senator Mark Udall, said he is "concerned the FBI is deploying drone technology while only being in the 'initial stages' of developing guidelines to protect Americans' privacy rights." Senator Udall explained that he understands drones have the potential to "more efficiently and effectively perform law enforcement duties," but promised to do everything in his power "to hold the FBI accountable and ensure its actions respect the US constitution." In keeping with the defense of NSA spying, Director Muller urged Congress to consider national security before placing any limits on drone surveillance and data collection. He said, "Are you going to take the dots off the table, make it unavailable to you when you're trying to prevent the next terrorist attack?" Our nation is at a crossroads in deciding how much privacy we are willing to give up in the name of security. As Benjamin Franklin said, "those who would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."