With drones becoming a growing part of domestic American life, Congressional Republicans are hoping to push a bill through both the House and Senate to limit the ways in which the government can use drones for domestic surveillance.
“It’s better for us to go ahead and establish some of these constitutional protections in the law so we don’t have agencies getting overly aggressive,” noted Rep. Austin Scott (R – GA), the author of the bill and its House sponsor.
The bill would require the government to obtain a warrant before using surveillance drones, though it grants a number of broad exceptions, including any time the DHS claims a “high risk” of a terrorist attack.
Already there are 64 military drone bases inside the United States, and they are finding their way into the headlines with one drone crashing and turning in a Maryland swamp this week and another fueling a UFO hysteria around the DC area when motorists saw it being transported.
Internationally, the US drones are operating with essentially no legal restriction, assassinating “suspects” on the president’s say-so and conducting surveillance the world over. Though Rep. Scott and others are talking about getting “out in front” of the drone issue, government agencies have been investing heavily in the idea for awhile now, and at least one police department has already raised the prospect of using armed drones over a major US city (Houston). Far from ahead on the issue, they seem to be playing catch-up.