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Published On: Fri, Sep 27th, 2013

DOJ IG: Feds using drones to help police since 2006, expanding aid to ATF

The FBI has been using drones to support its law enforcement operations since 2006 and has spent more than $3 million on the unmanned aircraft, the Justice Department’s internal watchdog said Thursday.

Festo Smartbird photo drone

Festo Smartbird photo drone

The disclosure came in a new report by the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, who revealed that the department also has awarded $1.26 million to at least seven local police departments and nonprofit organization for drones.

IG said another Justice Department component, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, plans to use drones to support future operations. To date, the ATF has spent almost $600,000, the IG report stated.

From 2004 to May 2013, the Justice Department spent almost $5 million on the unmanned aircraft.

In June, then-FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress that the FBI occasionally uses the unmanned aerial vehicles but was developing guidelines in anticipation of issues that will arise “as they become more omnipresent.” In one instance earlier this year, the FBI used drones at night during a six-day hostage standoff in Alabama.

Civil liberties groups critical of domestic drone use say such operations could invade people’s privacy. The government worries drones could collide with passenger planes or crash, concerns that have slowed more widespread adoption of the technology.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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