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(37,305 posts)
Sat Sep 28, 2013, 10:35 PM Sep 2013

Drone Loans: Customs and Border Protection Records 500 Predator Flights for Other Agencies

Customs & Border Protection released a new list to EFF this week that details the extensive number of times that the agency has flown its Predator drones on behalf of other agencies—500 flights in total over a three-year period. This list shows, yet again, how little we know about drone flights in this country and how important it is that we place limits on drone use to protect Americans’ privacy rights.

EFF obtained the list of federal, state and local agencies as a result of our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the agency. Not only does the list show the total number of flights by year between 2010 and 2012, but it shows CBP flew its drones over 100 times just for Department of Justice components including FBI, DEA and US Marshals. This is in direct contradiction to a recently released DOJ Office of Inspector General (OIG) Report (pdf) that stated DHS had flown its drones on only two occasions for DOJ law enforcement components.

We discussed some of the other agencies that benefited from CBP’s Predators in a previous post, but some agencies on the list are new. These include the Grand Forks SWAT, the North Dakota Narcotics Task Force, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Minnesota Drug Task Force, and several branches of the military.

The list also includes several county sheriff’s departments. However, CBP has refused to release the names of these agencies, arguing in a recent court filing that to do so would disclose secret law enforcement techniques and would somehow “reveal that CBP is aware of the illegal activities taking place in a particular location.” It’s hard to fathom how releasing the name of a county sheriff department—without any other information about the drone flight for that department—would somehow let the criminals in the area know they’re being watched and help them evade detection.


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(30,058 posts)
1. And what is the problem with patrolling our borders? If it is true there is illegal activity
Sat Sep 28, 2013, 10:58 PM
Sep 2013

Occurring what is wrong with observing the activity?



(37,305 posts)
3. DHS said other agencies had only used it twice but this shows in excess of 100...
Sat Sep 28, 2013, 11:14 PM
Sep 2013

So what was supposedly for use by DHS and border control is actually being used by other agencies which is not what they were authorized for.



(62,444 posts)
4. DHS is a department ; CBP is an agency
Sun Sep 29, 2013, 01:55 AM
Sep 2013

Do you want to try that again in something resembling coherence?

CBP is an agency of the DHS.

"So what was supposedly for use by DHS and border control is actually being used by other agencies"

What is it you are trying to say there?


(56,582 posts)
6. Doesn't USDA have more drones than DHS?
Sun Sep 29, 2013, 04:03 AM
Sep 2013

Drones are how they keep track of irrigation and planting compliance, no?



(37,305 posts)
7. I have no idea but it sounds like drones are being used more than we know for domestic surveillance.
Sun Sep 29, 2013, 09:20 AM
Sep 2013

The intersection with law enforcement is the part that we need to know about before it gets out of hand.

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