Drones: More in Africa; Will Track Gun Owners, Cellphones in U.S.
by Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
Monday, 04 March 2013
At home and abroad, the scope of the drone war is expanding and liberty is contracting.
On February 22, President Barack Obama sent a letter to the speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate, informing them that he ordered U.S. armed forces sent to Niger, where they will “provide support for intelligence collection and will also facilitate intelligence sharing with French forces conducting operations in Mali, and with other partners in the region.”
Accompanying the nearly 300 U.S. troops to Niger were two Raptor drones and the crew to pilot them, according to an NBC News story.
NBC reports that Department of Defense officials verified the deployment of troops and drones, but assured NBC that the drones would be used “for surveillance only.”
Despite the comments made by the unnamed Pentagon officials, drones are not new to Niger.
In February, The New American covered a New York Times report that the Pentagon plans to build a drone base in northwest Africa to enable it keep a closer eye on African organizations believed to be associated with the larger al-Qaeda network.
U.S. intelligence officials insist that the threat from regional al-Qaeda branches is growing and believe that more frequent surveillance can reduce the danger.