U.S. government to use ‘drones the size of GOLF BALLS to spy on AMERICAN citizens’
By Daily Mail
9 June 2012
The Obama administration has been widely criticized for its increased reliance on drone strikes to kill suspected terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but according to published reports, a plan is now in the works to harness tiny drones to spy on U.S. citizens.
A 30-page memorandum issued by President Barack Obama’s Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley on April 23 has stated that the drones, some as small as golf balls, may be used domestically to ‘collect information about U.S. persons.’
The photos that the drones will take may be retained, used or even distributed to other branches of the government so long as the ‘recipient is reasonably perceived to have a specific, lawful governmental function’ in asking for them.
The purpose of the cited memorandum is stated as ‘balancing … obtaining intelligence information…and protecting individual rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.’
Andrew Napolitano, former New Jersey judge and senior judicial analyst at Fox News, wrote in his Washington Times opinion column this week that if the military personnel spot something of interest from a drone, they may apply to a military judge or ‘military commander’ for permission to conduct a physical search of the private property.
The memo cited by Napolitano goes on to say that any ‘incidentally acquired information’ can be retained or turned over to local law enforcement, which raises the question of the constitutionality of launching a drone program stateside, and whether it violates people’s right to privacy.
Besides their lethal military application, however, drones can be used in a wide array of scenarios, from tracking down runaway criminals to spraying crops with pesticides.
‘It’s going to happen,’ Dan Elwell, vice president of civil aviation at the Aerospace Industries Association, told the Seattle Times. ‘Now it’s about figuring out how to safely assimilate the technology into national airspace.’