January 10, 2010
KPRC news in Houston recently filmed a secret experiment by law enforcement agencies including the Dept. of Homeland Security of a drone intended to spy on Americans.
The drone uncovered during this investigation are not like the large, expensive models used by the military for targeted strikes on militants half a world away. These are manufactured by Insitu out of Bingen, Washington (corporate offices located in Australia), only weigh about 40 pounds (18.1 kg) before monitoring equipment is installed. This model has the capacity to stay airborne for up to a day.
The Houston Police Department responded with the following statement, “Potential public safety applications include mobility, evacuations, homeland security, search and rescue, as well as tactical.”
Such benign excuses were also used during the passage of draconian bills such as FISA and the Patriot Act before it was revealed the much more insidious and rampant applications of those tools.
Houston is within the coastal and border zone of America, where two-thirds of the population lives and where constitutional rights are routinely disregarded according to the ACLU, yet this poses the question about whether this is pilot program and the usage of unmanned drones might become a regular policy of law enforcement agencies in surveillance operations.