Democrats & Liberals Archives

More Domestic Surveillance... Look up!

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a 300 nautical mile (NM) temporary flight restriction (TFR) bordering the United States and Mexico, specifically above the states of New Mexico and Arizona. The TFR affects a 2,000 foot segment of the airspace for a range of 300 NM, between 12,000 and 14,000 foot, mean sea level (MSL). Furthermore, the TFR is only in effect from 5PM until 7AM daily.

Simply stated, all aircraft are prohibited to fly between 12,000 and 14,000 feet in this specified area.

Why?

The 300 by 17 nautical mile air corridor is used by unmanned surveillance aircraft (UAV) to patrol from the skies.

Now, many would suggest that this type of surveillance is important to patrol America's borders and secure its citizens from suspected terrorists. But without understanding the scope of the surveillance, no one can be certain which agency is using the information that is gathered and stored.


What's a TFR?

TFRs are nothing new; in fact, they've been around and used affectively for many years. When necessary, TFRs are imposed by the FAA to protect persons or property on the surface or in the air from a specific hazard or situation. The objectives are to provide a safe environment for rescue/relief operations and to prevent unsafe congestion of sightseeing or other aircraft above an incident or event which may generate high interest. Typically, the FAA issues airmen notifications called NOTAMs designating the area in which a temporary restriction applies. Situations which warrant these restrictions include toxic spills, volcanic eruptions, nuclear incidents, aircraft hijacking, and forest fires. For events like large-scale sporting events, TFRs may be issued; for the 1996 Olympic Games a TFR was put in place from the surface up to 2000 feet AGL. But more recently however, TFRs, such as the Presidential/VIP movement TFRs, have been issued with little advance notice and will spread out at a moving radius of 30NM.

This TFR, over Arizona and New Mexico is different from most. Most TFRs respect the T in the TFR and normally last for a few hours. In some extreme cases, they last for a day or two, depending on the condition. However, with this TFR, the FAA has established a surveillance-based TFR that was renewed in December for an undefined amount of time. No one is sure when and if this TFR will be lifted.


UAV history

UAVs have been used successfully in military conflicts for many years by the NSA, CIA and DoD for intelligence gathering over foreign soil and foreign airspace. They've been used in military operations to identify enemy positions and were an effective tool in the military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. However, this is the first time in American history that our government has made as policy the use of UAVs over the United States.

Today's UAVs are not like your father's UAV. The UAVs of today conform to DoD/Intelligence Community Motion Imagery Standards for full motion video. These unmanned aircraft are so accurate and can capture detailed video for use by any federal agency and can identify the book that you're reading from thousands of feet aloft.
Which UAVs are in use over the skies of Arizona and New Mexico has yet to be determined, but a Google search provided the following UAVs in use by the military.


  • The Global Hawk, at a $15 million price tag, is over 40 feet long and is controlled by a human operator and not an on-board computer. The Global Hawk can stay in the air for as long as 40 hours. In that time, and without stopping once to re-fuel, it can travel 3,000 miles to its target; focus upon a huge area (as many as 3,000 square miles) from as high up as 65,000 feet; use electro-optical, infra-red and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) cameras to take pictures of the ground; and use wireless technology or satellites to transmit those pictures in "real time". The Global Hawk was first used by the Department of Defense to help NATO bombers spot potential targets in the 1998 war over Kosovo.
  • The Predator is quite similar to the Global Hawk: it also requires a human operator and a long runway for take-offs and landings. But at $4.5 million each, the 27-foot-long Predator is cheaper and smaller. Used extensively in Bosnia and Afghanistan, each Predator is equipped with a color nose camera, a day variable aperture TV camera, a variable aperture infrared camera (for low light/night), and a synthetic aperture radar for looking through smoke, clouds or haze. The cameras produce full motion video and the SAR still frame radar images. According to Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Troy Beshears, a UAV platform manager in Washington, D.C., a Predator's cameras "can read a 3 to 6-inch letter from 10,000 feet."
  • The Cypher is relatively small. Some "mini-Cyphers" are only 8 feet tall and 3 feet wide, and weigh only 30 pounds, which allow it to enter buildings as well as hover above or land on top of them. Unlike the Global Hawk and the Predator, the Cypher flies itself. A fully automated uninhabited spy plane, it simply needs to know where to go to find its targets. Once supplied this information, the Cypher can launch itself (vertically, like a helicopter); can use the military's network of Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) to find out where its launch has placed it; and can use a variety of on-board cameras to "see" where it needs to go. Internal computer programs will also tell the Cypher when it has arrived, what to do, and when to return to home base. Onboard each Cypher are video cameras, Forward-Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) cameras, chemical detectors, magnometers (explosive locator), radio and satellite links, microphones to relay pre-recorded announcements, and so-called non-lethal payloads (tear gas and/or smoke canisters, steel spikes to puncture tires or printed propaganda). It isn't primarily designed to be used as a spy plane (or as an automated assassin) in wars against heavily armed combatants, though it can serve quite well in such instances. The Cypher's real usefulness is in what the US military calls "operations other than war," that is to say, in domestic police actions or enforcements of the law against civilian non-combatants one wants to disperse or arrest, but not murder in cold blood.
  • The Desert Hawk is truly tiny. Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the Hawk is just 32 inches long with a wingspan of 52 inches, is powered by an electric motor, and is able to fly for an hour to 75 minutes at a time. It is operated in a system that includes six Desert Hawks, a ground station, and a remote viewing terminal, plus a field kit for repairs. While the Desert Hawk looks like a remote-controlled model plane, it is much more sophisticated. Its missions are programmed in advance using a touch-screen interface on a laptop computer. A mission can be changed while the aircraft is in flight. The aircraft lands by itself without guidance from its human operators. Rather than taking off from a runway, the aircraft is launched into the air with a bungee cord that can stretch out to 150 feet. "It can fling it up 200 feet in short order," David Eichstedt, Lockheed Martin's project manager said. "A key factor of our system is it's fully autonomous. You don't have to have a guy standing there with a joy stick," he said. The Defense Department is looking at expanding the use of the Desert Hawk by placing unmanned air vehicles and their operators with Army Special Operations forces. Four systems have been delivered to the British Army. For now, Lockheed Martin is focused on military uses of the Desert Hawk.

Patrolling America's Skies

FAA regulations block unmanned air vehicles from using the national air space, making civilian applications problematic. NASA and the aviation industry are embarking on an effort to determine which regulations and advancements in unmanned air vehicle technologies are needed to allow aircraft like the Desert Hawk as well as larger unmanned craft to routinely use the national air space. Resolving those issues will open up the national air space for civilian applications of UAVs.
Air patrol is nothing new within the United States; the Civil Air Patrol has been used effectively for many years to assist local and federal governments in many areas, mostly for emergency services.
When the Civil Air Patrol was founded in 1941, its principal purpose was to allow private pilots and aviation enthusiasts to use their light aircraft and flying skills in civil defense efforts. Civil Air Patrol became a permanent peacetime institution in 1946, when President Harry S. Truman signed Public Law 476 establishing it as a federally chartered, benevolent civilian corporation. Since then, CAP has been used very briefly in areas of reconnaissance for the DEA, US Forest Service and US Customs but mainly consists of the following functions.


  • Emergency Services, such as disaster relief and search and rescue missions
  • Aerospace Education to the aviation community
  • Cadet Training (this is a youth-based education program, to promote CAP for civil service)

A potential for new abuse

This new program should be of concern to many Americans, as civil liberties may be violated in the process. Americans should demand from their lawmakers the scope of the program and whether or not Americans are subject to overhead surveillance.

The 40,000 people living and working in Sierra Vista, Arizona, are probably unaware of the roving cameras the fly above them while they sunbathe in their backyards. The same goes for those that live in El Paso, Texas or the sleepy town of Deming, New Mexico.

With all of the recent domestic surveillance talk lately, news of unmanned vehicles silently patrolling the skies isn't a shock anymore, but it should be.

It really should be.

Posted by john trevisani at January 30, 2006 1:23 PM
Comments
Comment #118517

Patrolling the sky, patrolling the streets, patrolling the airports. When will all this patrolling stop?

Does anybody know how many airplanes supposedly looking for forest fires are really trying to beam Halliburton’s Rove-Ray through our tin-foil helmets?

Posted by: sanger at January 30, 2006 1:38 PM
Comment #118519

Just curious. With all this security, how many terrorists have been caught trying to infiltrate US borders in 2005?

Any?

Posted by: phx8 at January 30, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #118525


Find out if there was abuse of power or not first, then we can worry about patrolling the skies.

Posted by: Rahdigly at January 30, 2006 2:14 PM
Comment #118527

How can this be true?
All I have heard is how Bush is doing NOTHING to protect our borders.

Posted by: kctim at January 30, 2006 2:19 PM
Comment #118529

John,

Either you’e joking or you’re more paranoid than anyone I’ve ever heard of!

I, for one, am glad to hear something positive being done about border security. Such stories are rare these days.

You better hope the Democrats don’t pick up on this. It will backfire on them instead of going nowhere like the so-called “domestic spying” issue. People actually care about boarder security. This is a positive story for 99% of the population.

Posted by: TheTraveler at January 30, 2006 2:25 PM
Comment #118530

Sanger. Just curious, but how much did they pay you for Conservative soul? If violating Conservative principles has a price, it certainly included an all-expense paid trip to someplace warm.

Posted by: Grubbery at January 30, 2006 2:28 PM
Comment #118531

Rahdigly,

Find out if there was abuse of power or not first, then we can worry about patrolling the skies.

I can just hear the Republicans praying that some Democratic senator comes out and says something like that! The Democrats can’t afford to look week on this of all issues.

Posted by: TheTraveler at January 30, 2006 2:31 PM
Comment #118536

This is all just obfuscation of the issue. Bush monitored private communications without obtaining a warrant, in clear violation of the FISA law and the constitution, and is trying to justify it by a blizzard of irrelevant blather. Yes, the courts will have the final say and Congress could investigate, but with Republicans in control and loath to rock the boat, and with the court being packed with believers in the “unitary” executive (which essentially makes the country an elective monarchy, since it overturns the powers of both the legislative and judicial branches by usurping their powers), it is unlikely that either branch will say “Boo!” about Bush’s shenanigans. This is the status that the right wing has sought. All the pieces are in place to maintain control of the country indefinitely. The executive will have the power to imprison anyone designated “enemy combatant,” which can be applied to a citizen who is obstructing the “War on Terror”, for instance, by criticizing the administrations efforts. In this theory, there is nothing stopping such application, as long as the administration believes it to be correct.

Now, you might argue, that Bush would never do that. That no good conservative or Republican would dream of violating the constitution to that extent. That the wide discretion afforded President under this theory is merely a tool to fight terrorists and would never be used to hold on to power. But our government was founded on the belief that no one person should have such power. That’s why we have a constitution and its attendant Bill of Rights. This “theory” of governance throws all that out the window and makes it the province of one elected official. And this coopts all the checks and balances. It gives the executive branch all the power it needs to grab and maintain power. Because there is no part of the theory that limits such power; it’s all up to the interpretation of the executive.

What I find most scary is that so many people are accepting this rationale due to their utter loyalty to the man who currently holds the office. We seem to have bred a legion of authoritarian cheerleaders over the last couple of decades. I’m not sure how it will end.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at January 30, 2006 2:40 PM
Comment #118541

WHAT???

The 40,000 people living and working in Sierra Vista, Arizona, are probably unaware of the roving cameras the fly above them while they sunbathe in their backyards.

Just how many millions of dollars has been spent so we can see some bare Arizona titties???

Are you SURE Bill Clinton isn’t still president?

Will there be a “pay” website for this?

Novel way to pay off the deficit. Take pictures of bare Arizona titties and then get all the pervs to pay to see them!!!

Now THAT’S creative! Can anyone say, “balanced budget”?

Posted by: Jim T at January 30, 2006 2:43 PM
Comment #118561

Jim T. No one in this administration can say “balanced budget.”

What we have is instead of “tax and spend” Dems. we have “spend and spend” and only relief is to keep the “lifestyles of the rich and not so famous.” No this administration would sooner look under rocks, monitor private telephone calls, or now look at those poor families in Sierra Vista, whose husbands are deployed in the swamp we call Iraq, and cry “either your with us or your for the ememy” than do anything responsible like not create a debt that our great great grandchildren will need to pay.

So for those of you (and you know who you are) please feel “safe” while this administration trashes the Bill of Rights. People get the govt they deserve.

Posted by: Mike at January 30, 2006 3:30 PM
Comment #118563

Traveler:
If you and evidently 99% of the country believe this (overhead domestic surveillance) is such a good thing then why haven’t you heard about this?

This is an administration that uses public relations better than anyone. And yet, they didn’t announce to their citizens that they are ‘protecting the borders’ by having cameras overhead.

Saying that you’re doing something about the borders (and by the way, the 300NM corridor is only bordering parts of Arizona and New Mexico. Last i checked, California and Texas have significant borders too.) by having cameras patrol overhead every night, yet hiding the surveillance program is, in a word: inconsistent. Don’t you think?

Posted by: john trevisani at January 30, 2006 3:46 PM
Comment #118566

I usually disagree with the decisions our president makes in regards to war and the second round of tax cuts etc. However, on the issue of boarder security I will most likely come down on his side on this one. Living in California and knowing that illegal aliens cost us more than 8 billion dollars per year in medical expenses and education, something has to be done.
We have to stop the flow of aliens coming across our boarders. Yes, we may have to give a few of our rights to solve this problem, but what is the alternitive? Continue paying for them?
If we find the NSA, CIA, DOD or the Bush administration used any information from this program against any American citizen for any reason, then we may have to reconsider. But I for one, am willing to give this program a shot before I bash it…

Posted by: Rusty at January 30, 2006 3:55 PM
Comment #118568

was that tinted windowed car or van that drove past your house last night a custom car or a government agent with listening devices motoring your family live.

Posted by: roger at January 30, 2006 4:00 PM
Comment #118574
Yes, we may have to give a few of our rights to solve this problem, but what is the alternitive? Continue paying for them?

The someday epitaph of a free people, perhaps. How sad.

Posted by: Amani at January 31, 2006 1:34 AM
Comment #118598

It’s to late to stop the flood. This is a war of greedy capitalists vs. the middle class that the majority (middle class) can’t afford to loose.

# 1 secure the borders.
# 2 issue national ID cards (DMV cards).
# 3 impose ‘SERIOUS’ fines on employers who hire.
# 4 block bank accounts for non-citizens or guests.
# 5 create a guest worker program that protects US citizens.
# 6 make the feds pay for deporting all thieves that have snuck in.

It’s just a start…but it should end the war……….

Posted by: Sick & Tired at January 31, 2006 7:48 AM
Comment #118602

John,

“The 40,000 people living and working in Sierra Vista, Arizona, are probably unaware of the roving cameras the fly above them while they sunbathe in their backyards.”

Probably not. The Army’s Fort Huachuca is in Sierra Vista and is home to some pretty interesting stuff.

https://icon.army.mil/

Posted by: Rocky at January 31, 2006 8:32 AM
Comment #118605

So for the people that feel it’s okay; you won’t mind if i surround your home with video cameras, making certain that every window is covered.

After all; it’s for your security.

Posted by: john trevisani at January 31, 2006 8:42 AM
Comment #118623
This is an administration that uses public relations better than anyone. And yet, they didn’t announce to their citizens that they are ‘protecting the borders’ by having cameras overhead.

jt, this just doesn’t sound illegal — even if it is actually happening (you didn’t provide any sources I could check).

The highway patrol in those states routinely patrol the highways with aircraft. What’s the difference?

Posted by: American Pundit at January 31, 2006 10:36 AM
Comment #118632

AP:
Highway patrol and CAP both patrol out in the open; that’s correct. They do so usually with the local authorities’ approval or prior notification.

However, to use the airspace, miles above to secretly record who knows what, spanning multiple states and restrict air traffic for an undetermined amount of time sounds a bit suspect.

This is the first time that America has used UAVs on itself. If i pointed cameras at my neighbor’s house, during the same time that they are, i’d think that i’d have a significant legal problem. i realize that i’m just a lowly, powerless, American citizen that pays taxes.

When is enough, enough?

Posted by: john trevisani at January 31, 2006 10:57 AM
Comment #118652

john,

“This is the first time that America has used UAVs on itself.”

I have to disagree.
There has been photo surveillance, down by Sierra Vista for years, to monitor the Arizona-Mexican border.

http://www.military.com/soldiertech/0,14632,Soldiertech_HomelandUAV,,00.html

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RS21698.pdf

http://www.americanpatrol.com/FEATURES/030502-UAV-TEST/030502_Feature.html

The external links from the third americanpatrol have expired but there are opening paragraphs from the articles.

I could go on with more links but I think you get the point.

Posted by: Rocky at January 31, 2006 12:01 PM
Comment #118664

Rocky:
The stories that you sent over cover the same story that i reported. You’re just proving that they’ve been using UAVs in this area for a while.

Posted by: john trevisani at January 31, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #118666

John,

That was my point. That this isn’t anything new.

This actually started with teathered balloons with motion sensitive cameras back in the ’90s around Fort Huachuca.
This came to the forefront because people were dying trying to cross the border into Arizona.

Posted by: Rocky at January 31, 2006 12:50 PM
Comment #118748

Obviously, our government should be able to snoop when national security is at risk. But how do we establish that? Who says what that means? The simplicity of our constitutional system is that the courts and congress say, and they oversee the attainment of warrants and the executive use of power.

Bush wants to simply be trusted, but this is not a system based on trust. Kingdoms, Empires, dictatorships and other tyrannical forms of government are based on trust: you hope the people in charge are good people. You have to trust that folks are doing what they’re doing in your own best interests.

America forces no such commitment of trust from the people. The politicians and leaders must prove themselves trustworthy. So why should we not ask that of them when they are tasked with protecting us? Why should we not seek to constrain our government to leave us law abiding citizens alone, and instead use our tax dollars their taxpayer-given powers to deal with folks truly involved in bad shit. It both maintains focus in law enforcement and prevents abuses.

I think the Republicans should ask themselves anytime they advocate that Bush be given new power, or an allowance on the use of it, Do I want a Democrat successor to my president to have these powers?

Well do you?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 31, 2006 8:03 PM
Comment #118755

First we have been told that the current administration is doing nothing to secure the borders. Now we are hearing, how dare he patrol the borders that way. Something COULD happen, someone just MIGHT see something they should’nt. Who cares. They just MIGHT see something that will stop another attack.

Jack Trevisani asked if it was o k if they surrounded my house with cameras so they could look in every window of my house.
The Gov’t is not looking into everyones window, and you know it. You just want to make the Prez and the current administration look as bad as you possibly can. The h—- with security, why don’t we just let everyone in all at the same time, so they can all blow all of us up. I am sure the majority of the posts on this site would really have a hay-day saying the prez did not do enough to protect us.

Get a life - wake up, weather you want to admit it or not, the bad guys are out to get us. And if we just set by and don’t do anything, then we will get what is comming to us.

Posted by: DODGE at January 31, 2006 8:40 PM
Comment #118758

Dodge,

“You just want to make the Prez and the current administration look as bad as you possibly can.”

And it hasn’t taken much effort.

“Get a life - wake up, weather you want to admit it or not, the bad guys are out to get us. And if we just set by and don’t do anything, then we will get what is comming to us.”

There are those that would say that this is what happening now.

BTW I have an extra one of those tinfoil hats you could borrow.

Posted by: Rocky at January 31, 2006 8:54 PM
Comment #118763

Rocky:

Nothing but negitave comments and left wing slurs. Can’t seem to reply to my post other than to make fun of something.

Have to go now, my commander is chief is speaking. All of you on the left may want to listen and take some notes…..you might learn something, but then again, you will probably only hear what you want to hear.

Posted by: DODGE at January 31, 2006 9:16 PM
Comment #118770

Lets all hope that he is capable of stringing more than two sentences together without stumbling over his toungue.

Posted by: Rocky at January 31, 2006 9:52 PM
Comment #119168

attn. traveler I see by your spelling of BOARDER you must be a product of bush’s “no child left behind” program. Asfar as spying on our borders is concerned, which you feel is fine, please tell me just how 3 million illegals can cross undetected, even with maps where the border patrol is located. Seems we spent a fortune on spycraft that can read a book but not an illegal.

Posted by: artjoe at February 1, 2006 4:19 PM
Comment #119481

Dodge-
Don’t get tangled up in absolutes. When folks say the president isn’t doing anything to patrol the borders, thats more or less an exaggerated way of speaking the truth :that his border patrols are ineffective. Which they are, if so many illegals still get through.

Concerning surveillance: We have limited resources, and a government whose proper function requires that people be free to oppose their government peacefully through the political realm. Constitutional protections serve two purposes:

1)As you so eloquently pointed out, the government can’t possibly look in every window. So, it stands to reason that if we limit investigations and surveillance to those windows most likely to have something worth looking at, then we have made our searches more efficient.

2)It allows the political opponents of our leaders the freedom to peacefully oppose them, and the other candidates to plan strategy without being hampered by their rivals knowing these things in advance.

Again, I would ask: would you tolerate unlimited powers in the hands of a Democrat? Should anybody have such arbitrary hold on power? You underestimate both our loyalty to this country and our resolve to protect it. We don’t ask these things simply for political reasons.

We ask them because we are genuinely interested in what happens next. We don’t want some president farting around with our national security appratus spying on his enemies when he should have them spying on our enemies. With the way Bush has things set up, nobody can tell the difference between a necessary surveillance on a terrorist, and an arbitrary watch on some peaceniks the president thinks are getting in the way of his war. All we ask is that somebody can ask Bush what he’s doing and why, and get some kind of straight answer. That’s all.

As for negative comments? I take them in stride, give as good as I get, and rarely whine about it. I expect to be kicked around by my opposition, and don’t feel that I’m somehow privileged to be above it. I believe that you have to earn agreement. You’ve got no right to expect it just because you think you are right.

The President hasn’t earned my trust, and he’s tried to guilt trip me and my people by alleging we’re doing harm to our efforts in Iraq, and to the war on terror. He appeals to folks like you by saying that y’all are the only ones that get what he’s doing, and that we all need to stick with it.

Trouble with that approach is that it breeds arrogance faster than it breeds competence. When victory for a person requires their own vindication as well as success in the field, then defeat is far more likely. If yours are the only views allowed, and you’re not as right as you think, then despite everything, all the will, all the pride, you will fail. Bush is and has been shutting out other folk’s views, even when their aim is victory.

War is such a complex undertaking that even the best Generals at times must ponder the strategy as if it were their first command. Unfortunately, Rumsfeld’s Pentagon and Bush’s White House believe they got it all figured out, and they’re not going to let the liberals or anybody else in on it. Result: Not enough people to say no to bad strategy. Not enough people who can suggest new strategy and be listened to. Further result: we might lose the war. Plus, every nation that faces us in the future, might decided to do what these folks did. If we fail to learn our lessons here, we will only end up repeating our mistakes later.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 2, 2006 8:04 AM
Comment #119487
Would you tolerate unlimited powers in the hands of a Democrat? Should anybody have such arbitrary hold on power?

Wow. Imagine what President Hillary could do with the power to secretly spy on, seize and detain any American citizen. “Travel Gate” and “File Gate” were nothing compared to what’s coming.

You Bush fans just keep giving the office of the President all the power Bush wants. We promise we’ll use it wisely when our turn comes around again. ;)

Posted by: American Pundit at February 2, 2006 8:22 AM
Comment #119634

artjoe,

attn. traveler I see by your spelling of BOARDER you must be a product of bush’s “no child left behind” program.

An odd criticism from someone who doesn’t capitalize names…

Asfar as spying on our borders is concerned, which you feel is fine, please tell me just how 3 million illegals can cross undetected, even with maps where the border patrol is located.

Asfar? What’s an asfar? (To crap with) ;-)

Seriously, because it’s an issue that Bush and Congress have failed to act on to any great extent. That’s why I was glad to hear that something is being done.

Seems we spent a fortune on spycraft that can read a book but not an illegal.

Perhaps you should wait for results before you criticize. There’s nothing (yet) to say the UAV’s won’t help.

Posted by: TheTraveler at February 2, 2006 1:16 PM
Comment #119979

Unmanned drones are excellent resources for guarding our Mexican border (and the Canadian border), if we increase the border parol’s manpower sufficiently to allow them to interdict the illegals that are spotted. The flow of illegals is getting larger and residents in border states report that the illegals are becoming more aggressive. I suspect that they would applaud government activities to reduce the flow.

Times have changed and we don’t fight wars in trenches anymore. Drones will be invaluable in modern warfare. Drones will allow the US to have an effective presence in sensitive international areas without posting an oppressive number of ground troops. Intelligence gathered by drones can be shared with local military forces, such as the growing Iraqi army, and thereby increase their effectiveness also.

Finally, although drones are expensive, they will save soldiers’ lives and trained soldiers are more expensive and more valuable.

The way I see it, this is a win-win situation. Plus, I think the drones are cool!

Posted by: goodkingne at February 3, 2006 6:16 AM
Comment #121954

Interesting site, especially if you want to make claims without serious evidence or an objective view. I have no agenda other then to protect our homeland.

1. How many of you posting to this site have actually visited the area of the border being referenced in these posts?

2. How many of you actually understand the means by which our current Border Patrol agents provide protection and observation of this area.

3. Does anyone actually know what is required by current statutes to interdict an illegal migrant?

4. Does anyone have a thorough knowledge of imagery interpretation or the bandwidth required to receive real time imagery from an unmanned aerial vehicle which has to receive command and control, and communuications data down that same bandwidth.

5. When does someone who has not served in our national law enforcement agencies become an expert in the ways we collect and distribute the data used? Or become paranoid about the misuse of the power bestowed upon us?

I will not begin to state that their have not been abuses of that power, all you have to do is look to Washington DC, and both sides of the isles are equally at fault. Have seen it first hand. But the common, men and women who perform the day to day duty of patroling and protecting our country, have only one agenda, to protect their small piece of our border. They are honorable people full of integrity and a deep patriotic desire to do what is right. In my 25 year career, I have never peeked into a window, not without a federally obtained warrant. Nor do I wish to squander what little (expensive) reconissance capabilities I have to look in joe americans backyard. Number one we lack the financial and personnel resources to conduct such absurdities, number two, we have too much contempt for that type of behavior. We are, by and large professionals, trying to use what little taxpayer provided technology we get, in the most effective manner.

I hope this helps to educate those who will listen with an open mind and remain objective.
By the way, if you want to look at abuse of illegal spying you might want to investigate the Kennedy Presidency, no one party is above using the law as defined by that administration to do what it believes is needed to protect the country.

Posted by: T Gallan at February 7, 2006 12:48 PM
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