U.S. Border Patrol increases use of unmanned drones for surveillance
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency is ramping up its use of fancy technology to monitor the nation’s borders again — this time by opening up Washington’s airspace to two unmanned Predator drones.
The announcement comes as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s six year effort to build the nation’s largest fleet of domestic surveillance drones. The program carries a $250 million pricetag and has produced mixed results, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The planes that will patrol Washington state are no Tacocopters (drone helicopters used to deliver tacos in China). Rather the drones deployed in Washington will be 10,000-pound Predator-B unmanned aircraft with 950-mile coverage ranges that can stay in the air for up to 20 hours at a time, border patrol spokesperson Gina Gray told The Associated Press.
In the Republican primary, Rick Perry suggested that Predator drones should be used to patrol the Southern border, apparently unaware that the nation’s border patrol agency was already doing just that in his own state.
“They have all the equipment, they’re obviously unarmed, they’ve got the downward-looking radar, they’ve got the ability to do night work and through clouds. Why not be flying those missions and using [that] real-time information to help our law-enforcement?” Perry said in August of last year. But the aircraft had already been in use to monitor the Texas, Mexico border for several years. Drones are also used to patrol border areas in Arizona, Florida, and North Dakota.
Read the full story at The Huffington Post