April 25th, 2012
(HigginsBlog) – The US has been forced to reveal the location of 63 secret bases used to conduct aerial drone flights for domestic spying operations.
A lawsuit has forced the FAA to reveal the location of 63 Secret Drone bases located inside the United States some of which will be the starting point for a massive deployment of airborne robots flying over the United States for spying on citizens which will eventually conduct targeted killings across the country.
While the information released shows an alarming number of bases being used for military and local law enforcement drones, perhaps the most startling revelation is that the United States is allowing Canadian Border Patrol Drones to operate across the Canadian border.
Odds are that the are many more drone bases inside the United States whose locations have been kept secret for various national security reasons and the lawsuit only forced the government to release the names and locations of permitted US drone operators.
That means that the type of drones – be they for targeted killing, guiding missiles, or general surveillance – and the number of drones at each location still remains a secret although the FAA says they plan on releasing such information at a later date.
Maps Of Known Drone Bases:
The Drone Threat To US Citizens
FAA List Of Permitted Drone Operators:
|U.S. Air Force||Mississippi Department of Marine Resources|
|Arlington Police Department||Mississippi State University|
|U.S. Army||U.S. Navy|
|City of Herington, Kansas||New Mexico Tech|
|City of North Little Rock, AR Police Department||Ogden Police Department|
|DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency)||Ohio University|
|DHS (Department of Homeland Security) / CBP (Customs and Border Protection)||Orange County Sheriff’s Office|
|DHS (Department of Homeland Security) / Science and Technology||Polk County Sheriff’s Office|
|DOE (Department of Energy) – Idaho National Laboratory||Seattle Police Dept|
|Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service||Texas A&M University Corpus Christi|
|Department of the Interior – National Business Center/Aviation Management Directorate||Texas A&M University – TEES|
|Eastern Gateway Community College||University of Alaska Fairbanks|
|Texas State University||University of Colorado|
|FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation)||University of Connecticut|
|Gadsden Police Department||USMC (United States Marine Corps)|
|Georgia Tech Research Institute||University of Florida|
|Kansas State University||University of North Dakota|
|Mesa County Sheriff’s Office||NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)|
|Miami-Dade Police Department||Utah State University|
|Middle Tennessee State University||Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University|
|New Mexico State University Physical Sciences Laboratory (NMSU-PSL)||Washington State Department of Transportation|
The EFF reports:
FAA Releases Lists of Drone Certificates—Many Questions Left Unanswered
View Map of Domestic Drone Authorizations in a larger map
This week the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finally released its first round of records in response to EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for information on the agency’s drone authorization program. The agency says the twolists it released include the names of all public and private entities that have applied for authorizations to fly drones domestically. These lists—which include the Certificates of Authorizations (COAs), issued to public entities like police departments, and the Special Airworthiness Certificates (SACs), issued to private drone manufacturers—show for the first time who is authorized to fly drones in the United States.
Some of the entities on the COA list are unsurprising. For example, journalists have reported that Customs and Border Protection uses Predator drones to patrol the borders. It is also well known that DARPA and other branches of the military are authorized to fly drones in the US. However, this is the first time we have seen the broad and varied list of other authorized organizations, including universities, police departments, and small towns and counties across the United States. The COA list includes universities and colleges like Cornell, the University of Colorado, Georgia Tech, and Eastern Gateway Community College, as well as police departments in North Little Rock, Arkansas; Arlington, Texas; Seattle, Washington; Gadsden, Alabama; and Ogden, Utah, to name just a few. The COA list also includes small cities and counties like Otter Tail, Minnesota and Herington, Kansas. The Google map linked above plots out the locations we were able to determine from the lists, and is color coded by whether the authorizations are active, expired or disapproved.
The second list we received includes all the manufacturers that have applied for authorizations to test-fly their drones. This list is less surprising and includes manufacturers like Honeywell, the maker of Miami-Dade’s T-Hawk drone; the huge defense contractor Raytheon; and General Atomics, the manufacturer of the Predator drone. This list also includes registration or “N” numbers,” serial numbers and model names, so it could be useful for determining when and where these drones are flying.
Unfortunately, these lists leave many questions unanswered. For example, the COA list does not include any information on which model of drone or how many drones each entity flies. In a meeting with the FAA today, the agency confirmed that there were about 300 active COAs and that the agency has issued about 700-750 authorizations since the program began in 2006. As there are only about 60 entities on the COA list, this means that many of the entities, if not all of them, have multiple COAs (for example, an FAA representative today said that University of Colorado may have had as many as 100 different COAs over the last six years). The list also does not explain why certain COA applications were “disapproved” and when other authorizations expired.
We raised these questions in our meeting with the FAA today and were assured the agency will release additional records with this important information soon. As we have written before and as Congressmen Markey and Barton (pdf) stated in their letter to the FAA today, drones pose serious implications for privacy, and the public should have all the information necessary to engage in informed debate over the incorporation of these devices into our daily lives. However, while we wait for additional information, these lists help to flesh out the picture of domestic drone use in the United States.
The Daily Mail reports:
Is there a drone in your neighbourhood? Rise of spy planes exposed after FAA is forced to reveal 63 launch sites across U.S.
- Unmanned spy planes are being launched from locations in 20 states and owners include the military and universities
There are at least 63 active drone sites around the U.S, federal authorities have been forced to reveal following a landmark Freedom of Information lawsuit.
The unmanned planes – some of which may have been designed to kill terror suspects – are being launched from locations in 20 states.
Most of the active drones are deployed from military installations, enforcement agencies and border patrol teams, according to the Federal Aviation Authority.
But, astonishingly, 19 universities and colleges are also registered as owners of what are officially known as unmanned aerial vehicles.
It is thought that many of institutions, which include Cornell, the University of Colorado, Georgia Tech, and Eastern Gateway Community College, are developing drone technology.
There are also 21 mainstream manufacturers, such as General Atomics, who are registered to use drones domestically.
As well as active locations, the FAA also revealed 16 sites where licences to use spy planes have expired and four where authorizations have been disapproved, such as Otter Tail County, Minnesota.
[...]However, the FAA is yet to reveal what kinds of drones might be based at any of these locations.
The agency says it will release this data later.
Most of the drones are likely to be small craft, such as the Draganflyer X8, which can carry a payload of only 2.2lb.
Police, border patrols and environmental agencies, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), could use for them effectively.
While few would object to vast open areas being monitored for wildfires, there are fears of privacy violations if drones are used to spy over cities.
Other drones – likely to be operated only by the armed forces – might include the MQ-9 Reaper and the MQ-1 Predator, which was used to kill American Al Qaeda boss Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen last September.
Certificates of Authorizations (COAs), issued to public entities like police departments, are active in 42 locations, expired in 16 and disapproved in four.
Special Airworthiness Certificates (SACs), issued to private drone manufacturers, are active in 21 locations and not active in 17.
Among the other unanswered questions, however, are is exactly how many drones each registered user owns.
The FAA has confirmed that there were about 300 active COAs and that the agency has issued about 700-750 authorizations since the program began in 2006.
Source: The Daily Mail
Source: Higgins Blog