Is the Air Force already using unmanned drones to collect images of American citizens?
When the Tea Party led House and the Democrat controlled Senate passed the FAA Reauthorization Act it included a provision to fund 30,ooo drones which would begin flying over the United States by the year 2020. These drones would be operated by Homeland Security and the Department of Energy (why does the Energy Department need any type of surveillance, nevermind drones?) as well as other government agencies.
The thought of a perpetual police surveillance state is frightening on it own accord, but it wasn’t long before the news got worse as some people began openly talking about arming some of these drones with rubber bullets and tear gas, how much longer before live ammunition is being used in these drones?
It can’t get much worse than this, or can it? According to this report it might already have gotten worse.
the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) domestically by the U.S. military — and the sharing of collected data with police agencies — is raising its own concerns about possible violations of privacy and Constitutional law, according to drone critics
We’ve seen in some records that were released by the Air Force just recently, that under their rules, they are allowed to fly drones in public areas and record information on domestic situations
This report noted that they are able to collect that information and then determine whether or not they can keep it
There is a link to the non-classified Air Force report in the article I linked to above and there is indeed some worrisome language contained within. The Air Force is indeed flying exercise and training missions with unmanned drones in United States airways and according to Article 9.6.1 they are allowed to collect data on United States citizens as long as they aren’t looking for specific information or targeting specific Americans. However Article 9.6.2 declares they may indeed conduct targeted surveillance on American citizens if it is authorized by the Secretary of Defense.
But wait, there’s more: Article 18.104.22.168 states that if the Air Force determines after 90 days that the information it collected was not collectible it must be either purged or TRANFERRED. Where would this ill gotten information be transferred to? That question is answered in 22.214.171.124: to either the Department of Defense or another agency which might find the information valuable.
The next question is, how is it allowable for the Air Force to hand over information on United States citizens which it wasn’t authorized to collect in the first place? This seems to be in clear violation of the fourth amendment which protects the people from illegal search and seizure, as well as the Posse Comitatus Act. This was all made possible by the FAA Reauthorization Act which could have been blocked by the Tea Party Republicans in the House but it was allowed to pass by the very same people who promised they would return America to its constitutional roots and the vision of our founding fathers. Somehow I don’t think this was the America our founders envisioned.