Drone Fleet to Include Domestic Surveillance Capabilities
According to one estimate, since last year the Department of Homeland Security has stockpiled more than 1.6 billion bullets, mainly .40 caliber and 9mm. DHS also reportedly purchased 2,700 Mine Resistant Armor Protected Vehicles (MRAPs) to go with their bullet stockpile. Now this? DHS has customized its drone fleet to include domestic surveillance capabilities that would help government identify civilians carrying guns and track their cell phones.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has customized its Predator drones, originally built for overseas military operations, to carry out at-home surveillance tasks that have civil libertarians worried: identifying civilians carrying guns and tracking their cell phones, government documents show.
The documents provide more details about the surveillance capabilities of the department?s unmanned Predator B drones, which are primarily used to patrol the United States? northern and southern borders but have been pressed into service on behalf of a growing number of law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the Secret Service, the Texas Rangers, and local police…
The prospect of identifying armed Americans concerns Second Amendment advocates, who say that technology billed as securing the United States? land and maritime borders should not be used domestically. Michael Kostelnik, the Homeland Security official who created the program, told Congress that the drone fleet would be available to “respond to emergency missions across the country,” and a Predator drone was dispatched to the tiny town of Lakota, N.D., to aid local police in a dispute that began with reimbursement for feeding six cows. The defendant, arrested with the help of Predator surveillance, lost a preliminary bid to dismiss the charges.