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Is Obama blowing smoke over U.S. drone flights, or just clueless?

By   /   February 15, 2013  /   No Comments

By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau

FREDERICKSBURG – President Barack Obama asserted on Thursday, “There has never been a drone used on an American citizen on American soil.”

But that report from Reuters appeared to be contradicted on several fronts.

The London Express quoted local and federal law-enforcement officials in California suggesting that the unmanned aerial devices were used this week in hunting down rogue cop Christopher Dorner.

On the other side of the country, the Miami-Dade Police Department has been authorized to fly drones since 2011.

The department’s permit from the Federal Aviation Administration clears the drones to fly up to 300 feet, and limits them to operating inside a working crime scene.

And in the heartland, local law-enforcement agents borrowed a U.S. Air Force Predator Drone to help them identify and round up cattle rustlers in the Dakotas.

Playing along, reporters on Thursday asked the president whether the U.S. government could target a citizen on American soil.

Obama appeared to rule that out, but left himself some wiggle room.

“We respect and have a whole bunch of safeguards in terms of how we conduct counterterrorism operations outside of the United States. The rules outside of the United States are going to be different than the rules inside the United States,” he said.

Watchdog.org previously reported that the FAA expects that 30,000 aerial surveillance drones will be flying in U.S. airspace by 2020.

Contact Kenric Ward at kenric@watchdogvirginia.org or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward

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Kenric Ward is a veteran journalist who has worked on three Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers. A California native, he received a BA from UCLA (Political Science/Phi Beta Kappa) and holds an MBA. He reported and edited at the San Jose Mercury News and the Las Vegas Sun before joining Watchdog.org in 2012 as Virginia Bureau Chief.

Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau, is in no way affiliated with "The Virginia Watchdog". Any similarities between Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau and "The Virginia Watchdog" is completely coincidental and unintentional. Any inquiries into "The Virginia Watchdog" may be done through their site.