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FBI has received aviation clearance for at least four domestic drone operations

Craig Whitlock
The Washington Post [1]
June 21, 2013

The FBI has received clearance from federal aviation officials to conduct drone surveillance operations in the United States on at least four occasions since 2010, according to public records and U.S. officials.

The FBI began seeking permission in 2009 from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones domestically and received authorization for its first operations a year later, according to documents released Thursday by the FAA.

The documents provide virtually no detail on where the FBI has operated drones in U.S. airspace, for what purpose or how long the missions lasted. But they shed some additional light on the origins and extent of the FBI’s secretive drone program, which FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III revealed Wednesday in Senate testimony.

Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the FBI uses drones “in a very, very minimal way and very seldom.” He gave no other details, except to say that the agency has “very few” drones and “that our footprint is very small.”

Full story here. [1]