The U.S. House of Representatives voted yesterday to require the Defense Department to disclose whether military drones are being operated domestically to conduct surveillance on American citizens.
A requirement buried in a lengthy appropriations bill calls on newly confirmed Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to disclose to Congress what "policies and procedures" are in place "governing the use" of military drones or other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) domestically. The report is due no later than 90 days after the bill is signed into law.
The vote on the bill, which was overwhelmingly supported by Republicans and opposed by Democrats, comes as concerns about domestic use of drones have spiked. Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, launched the first filibuster in three years yesterday to call attention to the Obama administration's drone policy, and CNET reported last weekend that Homeland Security required that its UAVs be capable of "signals interception" and "direction finding" of cell phones in use on the ground.