Published On: Tue, Jul 9th, 2013

Rand Paul sends second letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller after first letter goes unanswered

About two and a half weeks ago, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) sent a letter to Robert Mueller, the Director of the FBI, after he said  to the Senate Judiciary Committee that the agency he leads uses drones to conduct surveillance on U.S. soil.

Paul issued a letter to Director Mueller requesting that Mueller address a list of concerns in a set of questions regarding the FBI’s use of surveillance drones without operational guidelines.

“During your appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 19, 2013, you confirmed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) uses drones for the surveillance of American citizens. You also confirmed that the FBI is currently utilizing these surveillance tactics in the absence of any operational guidelines. I am disturbed by the revelation that the FBI has unilaterally decided to begin using drone surveillance technology without a governance policy, and thus without the requisite assurances that the constitutional rights of Americans are being protected.”

Some of the questions Dr. Paul asked include:

How long has the FBI been using drones without stated privacy protections or operational guidelines?

What measures do you intend to adopt to protect Fourth Amendment and privacy rights?

FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee  Image/Video Screen Shot

FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee
Image/Video Screen Shot

In what circumstances would the FBI elect to use drone surveillance? Does this surveillance require a warrant?

And more than a half-dozen more.

He closes with, “In the future, I hope that your agency intends to be more forthcoming with information on its use of drone surveillance. I look forward to your comprehensive reply by July 1, 2013.”

Well, July 1 has come and gone and Mueller did not respond to the letter.

Not one to easily forget, Paul issued a second letter today:

Dear Director Mueller,

“During testimony before Congress on June 19, 2013, you confirmed that the FBI does operate drone aircraft within the United States.  Details on the purpose of these drones and the rules governing their use were not fully available at the time, though you seemed to indicate through your testimony that some details might be forthcoming.

“Given that drone surveillance over American skies represents a potentially vast expansion of government surveillance powers without the constitutionally-guaranteed protection of a warrant, it is vital that the use of these drones by the FBI be fully examined in an open and transparent manner.  The American people have a right to know the limits that the federal government operates under when using these drones, and whether further action by Congress is needed to protect the rights of innocent Americans.

“On June 20, 2013, one day after your admission before Congress, I sent you a letter requesting specific details on the FBI’s use of drones.  I have included a copy of this letter for your reference.  In the letter, I indicated that I would like a response to my questions by July 1, 2013, which was a very reasonable timeframe to produce a response to a limited number of questions.  Unfortunately, I have not received any answers to my questions, and I have not been informed as to when I should expect a reply.

“Legitimate questions on important government functions should not be ignored.  These questions are easily answerable and primarily questions of fact, so I respectfully request again that you provide answers to these questions.  As you know, the President has submitted the nomination of your successor to the Senate, the Senate Judiciary Committee has begun consideration of his nomination, and that nomination could be considered by the full Senate this month.  Without adequate answers to my questions, I will object to the consideration of that nomination and ask my colleagues to do the same.

“Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, and I look forward to a reply very soon.”


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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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