Sunday, February 17, 2013

Forget Security Cameras, Drones are the New Means of National Surveillance

Recently Obama has pulled a page right out the Bush Administration and the Patriot Act by passing laws that now make it legal for the Federal government to use drones on U.S. citizens that are “imminent threats.” For those of you that do not know, drones are like large remote control airplanes that can take pictures, shoot video, and fire deadly missiles. The U.S. has been using drones on foreign nations for years and they have proven to be beneficial because they gather information about possible nuclear weapons in nations like Iran and North Korea without risking the lives of soldiers. However, the recent news about drones being used on U.S. citizens is a bit disconcerting because the phrase “imminent threat” is ambiguous. Imminent implies that something is about to happen, but according to political columnist Roger Simons the Justice Department claims imminent does not “require evidence that an ‘event will take place in the immediate future.’” Instead a U.S. official “merely has to determine that a bad guy has been planning violent activities against the United States and ‘there is no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities.’”

I acknowledge that there are some good things about drones, especially in preventing risking the lives of soldiers, but this recent news opens up a new issue about national security and I’m curious to hear some of your thoughts?


  1. I am totally for the use of drones on foreign grounds. I don't care if they use it to kill other people in other countries. My worry is that they will use them on our on people. I don't think its fair for the government to use them on their own people. Even if it is just for surveillance.
    The patriot act is a joke and makes me absolutely sick. It is unfair for the American people to lose their freedoms during a war that no on supports. I know that this is war time and they have to make the rules a little more strict but the government needs to be able trust its citizens. We also need to focus on demilitarizing our police forces. There is no reason a U.S citizen needs to carry around an assault rifle and the same goes for a police officer. They also shouldn't have access to drones. There is no reason for the police to be using drones. It is a waste of the American peoples money. most of our government agencies are a waste of money. Have they actually used these on citizens and what exactly what would they use them for? Also how do we get the government to get rid of the patriot act?

  2. I hate to get political because I understand that discussing politics is like playing a game of RISK the board game or Mario Party for the Nintendo. They all involve the destruction of friendships.
    Anyway. I'll try to keep this short to avoid political arguments. I do not see the problem with using drones as a mean for surveillance or mapping. Whether it's on our soil, or in another nation. As far as I am concerned, as long as no harm is being done, or missals being launched, a little RC plane that takes photos seems harmless. Key term there is 'seems harmless'

  3. I think this is pretty ridiculous. I just researched this using multiple sources, and apparently it gives the executive branch the power to kill any American citizen with the use of drones without consulting any other branch of the government. What happened to Obama being completely against torture and even closing Guantanamo Bay? Instead I guess he would rather just kill terrorists, even if American. I'm not saying it is not possible for terrorists to have American citizenship, but I think that the use of drones should go through many steps and all branches of the government before used. I just read an article titled "Where's the outrage over Obama's drone policy?" This is a good point. Why don't people care? If Bush had done this, I'm sure the left would have a lot to say. I'm confused. I thought Obama worked for the people (American citizens)?

  4. Actually, drones do not only give the president the capacity to kill American citizens, they've been used to do just that. Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi was a 16-year-old boy at the time he was killed (2011) in Yemen via a drone air-strike authorized by President Obama. Though the USFG claims Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi was not the intended target and pleaded ignorance to his whereabouts at the time of the airstrike, should the Obama administration not have to answer for the death of an American citizen? Furthermore, should we not be worried that such an incident is even possible? And while I tend to be skeptical of both sides of the political spectrum, I can't help but think there is some truth in Tierney's claim that Bush would have received more flak had he done the same thing. Though Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi's death was one of the first things that came to my mind when I read this article, I can't help but feel the media did not, and still isn't, giving this enough attention.

  5. And no attention will be paid. I feel like I'm beating a dead horse by saying this because it's been discussed to death by the class, but the media will do everything that they can to distract us from stories like this. This is a huge setback for the rights of individual citizens, but nothing about it will change, because no one realizes it's happening.