FBI Director Admits Drone Use on American Soil

Mike O'Brien

FBI Director Robert Mueller admitted to Congress on Wednesday that the bureau uses unmanned drones for surveillance on U.S. soil.

In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, he said such drone use is done in a "very, very minimal way, and very seldom."

However, Mr. Mueller's admission looks certain to fuel mounting concern about the government's surveillance practices and the rules regarding the use of unmanned drones both domestically and internationally.

Mr. Mueller was asked at Wednesday's hearing whether the bureau has a raft of policies and procedures regarding the "operational limits" of FBI drone use in America.

He responded: "We are in the initial stages of doing that, and I will tell you that our footprint is very small.

"We have very few, and of limited use, and are exploring not only the use, but the necessary guidelines for that use."

The news comes as it emerged that the National Security Agency is considering cutting the number of systems administrators it employs in an effort to avoid another Edward Snowden-style leak.

Snowden, who worked as a systems administrator at NSA through a contract with Booz Allen Hamilton, leaked details about a classified NSA surveillance program to the media.

The NSA wants employees to go through top-level security clearance before allowing them access to classified documents.

NSA Director Keith Alexander told the House Intelligence Committee the NSA currently has about 1,000 systems administrators, most of which are contract positions because of budget cuts.

Drone usage will be discussed at IDGA’s Homeland Security 2013 event in October. For more details, go to www.HomelandSecurityExpo.com