September 27, 2013
The Department of Justice has released a report by the inspector general Michael Horowitz that admits to an “uncoordinated approach” to their drone program.
It was revealed that the DoJ spent an excess of millions on unmanned aerial aircraft for law enforcement because this type of aircraft had the capability to “maneuver covertly in areas where individual expectations of privacy are not well-defined, such as in the immediate vicinity of residences.”
The report outlined how the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have spent an estimated 3,600,000 between the two agencies on equipping and developing drone programs for their agencies.
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Office of Justice Programs (OJP) was in the process of assisting the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) with the expansion of “state and local law enforcement use [of unmanned aircraft systems] over a wider-number of areas.”
The OJP gave out some many grants that they “had difficulty confirming to us how many UAS-related awards it had made.”
Drone testing was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), along with the US Marshals Service (USMS); while the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and the Office of Community Orientated Policing Services (COPS) funded 7 law enforcement agencies and non-profit organizations with $1.2 million that was used to acquire drones.
As stated in the report: “From 2004 to May 2013, DOJ law enforcement components reported spending in total approximately $3.7 million on UAS, with the FBI accounting for over 80 percent of this amount.”
Robert Mueller, former director of the FBI, told Congress in June that his agency “occasionally uses the unmanned aerial vehicles but was developing guidelines in anticipation of issues that will arise as they become more omnipresent.”
Last May, President Obama spoke at the National Defense University (NDU). In his speech, Obama suggested that Congress establish a special court to authorize targeted assassinations as outlined in his new counterterrorism guidelines.
Obama said: “A perpetual war – through drones or special forces or troop deployments – will prove self-defeating and alter our country in troubling ways.”
Drone strikes are justified, according to Obama, because they prevent terroristic activity.
Obama asserted: “The establishment of a special court to evaluate and authorize lethal action has the benefit of bringing a third branch of government into the process, but raises serious constitutional issues about presidential and judicial authority.”
Neal Katyal, acting solicitor general, maintains that there should be a panel of national security staffers that make up the “national security court” (NSC).
The NSC is expected to be an arm of the executive branch and under ultimate control of the president.
As a model for this secret kill court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) could serve as a model because by its nature the new kill court would do the sole bidding of the president with regard to whom it approves for drone strikes.
Under Obama, the further expansion of a “kill list” of persons identified by the current administration as deserving of execution without due process has grown exponentially.
Obama claimed that the US is safer because of the efforts of his administration.
Obama asserted: “From our use of drones to the detention of terrorist suspects, the decisions we are making will define the type of nation and world that we leave to our children. So America is at a crossroads. We must define the nature and scope of this struggle, or else it will define us.”
Potential targets for Obama’s new drone program could be “those who want to kill us” or “terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat” to “all potential terrorist targets.”
The day before Obama spoke at the NDU, Attorney General Eric Holder pointed out: “Based on generations-old legal principles and Supreme Court decisions handed down during World War II, as well as during the current conflict, it is clear and logical that United States citizenship alone does not make such individuals immune from being targeted.”
Concerning the 4 Americans killed by drones under the Obama administration, Holder said: “Since entering office, the president has made clear his commitment to providing Congress and the American people with as much information as possible about our sensitive counterterrorism operations. To this end, the president has directed me to disclose certain information that until now has been properly classified. The administration is determined to continue these extensive outreach efforts to communicate with the American people.”