3/29/16 Pentagon Drones


The Defense Department recently admitted it’s been flying drones over the U.S.  This is troubling for a number of reasons.  The military uses drones to spy on and fire missiles at enemy targets.

The 1878 Posse Comitatus Act made it illegal for the military to be used in domestic law enforcement.  The U.S. has long stood apart from other nations in not using the Army against civilians.

[A slew of federal laws clearly spell-out prohibitions in using the military here at home (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here)]. 

[Even presidential Executive Order 12333 acknowledges there are legal and Constitutional prohibitions against using surveillance assets to spy on Americans.]

Governors have options if they require military capabilities. The National Guard may render aid in emergencies such as natural disasters.

DOD regulations [here, here] require written requests be submitted to the Defense Secretary to get legal approval to use military drones domestically.  But DOD admits some phone call requests were given the okay.  There’s no paper trail on why drones were flown.

In response to a FOIA, the Pentagon admitted it’s used drones on at least 20 occasions since 2006.  But it provides very little detail on when and for what purposes.  It admitted sometimes there wasn’t proper approval.

[Subsequent to its acknowledgement of domestic drone use, the Defense Department made available a list of nine occasions in which military drones were used but it is not clear which, if any of these events, are related to the 20 acknowledged occasions of use.]

In responding to the FOIA, DOD redacted details on domestic drone use. 

If the Pentagon complied with all laws with its drone use then why did it black-out details?

This raises more questions than it provides answers.

Follow Behind the Headlines on Twitter at @BehindTheHead.
Follow Mark on Twitter at
Join us on