Lawmakers question FBI over drone use

In their letter to Mueller, Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Ted PoeLloyd (Ted) Theodore PoeMounting GOP retirements threaten House majority House Judiciary chairman announces retirement GOP anxiety rises over ’18 midterms MORE (R-Texas), who both sit on the Judiciary Committee, said they had been unaware that the FBI was using drones before Mueller's comments. 

They urged the FBI to ban lethal weapons from drones and to obtain a warrant before using drones for surveillance targeted at a particular individual suspected of a crime. If agents aren't targeting a particular individual, the FBI should provide public notice before using the drone, the lawmakers said.

They also asked Mueller to describe how the FBI plans to use drones in the future and to explain the development of agency guidelines for drone use.

They also asked the FBI to identify specific instances when it has used drones, to explain the kinds of information it collects and how long it retains that information.

Lofgren and Poe are co-sponsors of the Preserving American Privacy Act, which would set federal limits on drone use. 

"Existing laws and jurisprudence — outpaced by technology — provide very few meaningful limits on [unmanned aerial system] surveillance of individuals out of the home," they wrote. "UAS can enable the government to conduct physical surveillance at a degree of intrusiveness that we believe to be inconsistent with Fourth Amendment principles."