Coming to a neighborhood near you? A Predator drone, courtesy of the U.S. Air Force.
For some strange and troubling reason, the Senate’s passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, which could drastically change the way the American military relates to U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, failed to raise much of an uproar. Now we may have homeland drone surveillance to worry about, too, according to Salon’s Glenn Greenwald. —KA
Glenn Greenwald in Salon:
The LA Times quotes a retired U.S. General acknowledging that Predators are used “in many areas around the country, not only for federal operators, but also for state and local law enforcement.” Customs officials who own the drones claim there is legal authorization for this usage because they indicated in their budget requests to Congress to purchase the Predators that one purpose was “interior law enforcement support.” But Jane Harman — the former Blue Dog member of Congress who was the Chair of the Homeland Security Sub-Committee at the time the Predator purchases were approved — insists that “no one ever discussed using Predators to help local police serve warrants or do other basic work.” But even if you believe Customs officials, think about what they’re saying: the importation of drones to U.S. soil for law enforcement purposes was authorized not by a new law or regulatory scheme, nor pursuant to Congressional hearings or debates, but all because they inserted the phrase “interior law enforcement support” into their budget request — such a trivial mention that even the Chair of the Homeland Security sub-committee says she didn’t even realize this was being approved.