Rand Paul Issues Second Letter Asking the FBI About its Drone Use

On March 6th, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) held a 13-hour long filibuster to rally against this administration’s threatening drone policy concerning the targeting of American citizens overseas. He also used the time he had to ask broader questions dealing with the potential targeting of Americans on U.S. soil, which weren’t fully answered.

On June 20th, Sen. Paul requested more answers concerning the current U.S. drone use. Unfortunately, the Senator did not obtain any responses to his first letter, which was directed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to the official release, Sen. Paul questioned the FBI Director Robert Mueller on whether the agency is actively using drones without governance policy, which would be the only way to assure the lawful use of the unmanned devices is authorized.

With the first letter, Sen. Paul asked the FBI for details on the period in which drones have been in use by the agency, and accurate information on whether these devices are armed.

Sen. Paul has now issued a second letter since the FBI failed to provide answers to his questions after Robert Mueller testified before Congress on June 19th claiming that the FBI does operate done aircrafts.

Immediately after the FBI Director testified, details concerning the information he provided before Congress were not revealed. Since rules governing the use of the unmanned devices “were not fully available at the time,” the letter states, “you seemed to indicate through your testimony that some details might be forthcoming.” The use of drones to target Americans over U.S. skies represents the expansion of surveillance powers that weren’t primarily cleared through Congress. Americans could feel threatened by the unilateral decision to use the unmanned devices.

On the second letter, Sen. Paul stressed the importance of transparency and urged the FBI’s director to issue a quick response so that the rights of innocent American people are protected.

News concerning Sen. Rand Paul’s second letter follows a New York Times report indicating that a recent drone strike claimed at least 16 lives in Pakistan. According to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the number of deaths attributed to drone strikes up to this point is close to 4,700.

Ignoring the FBI’s use of drones over U.S. skies could put the rights of millions of innocent Americans at risk. It’s imperative that the FBI Director Robert Mueller issues a response addressing all questions presented by Sen. Paul.

According to his second letter, the Senator might object to the consideration of the nomination of Mueller’s successor if he does not hear back from the FBI Director promptly.

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