January 4, 2012
Government watchdog groups are concerned that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been loaning out sophisticated, expensive drones to local law enforcement, and in the process turning the military’s hottest new weapon on Americans.
In one of the first known instances of domestic drone use, in 2011 DHS loaned one of its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to police in North Dakota in order to spy on a farmer, Thomas Brossart, who had refused to give back some cows that had wandered onto his property. The Brossart case was the first known drone-aided arrest.
The Washington Guardian reports that since then, DHS and Customs and Border Protection (CPB) have deployed drones several other times to help local law enforcement and other federal agencies.
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