Rep. Peter King said on Wednesday that he did not object to the FBI using drones to conduct surveillance on American soil, even if it is done “very seldom,” as agency Director Robert Muller told legislators on Capitol Hill.
“I really don’t,” the New York Republican, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, told Jake Tapper on CNN. “To me, it’s another form of surveillance.
“Sometimes, they use binoculars. Sometimes, they use telescopes. Sometimes, they just use eyesight.
“So long as it’s not penetrating someone’s home, there’s no Fourth Amendment issue — obviously, it’s not something that should be abused — it’s a legitimate law-enforcement tool that should be used in certain circumstances,” King said.
Under testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mueller said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation used drones “in a very, very minimal way” on American soil.
“Very seldom,” Mueller said in response to a question from GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
Muller added that the agency was developing guidelines on the use of drones in such instances.
“We are in the initial stages of doing that,” Mueller said, the Associated Press reports. "Our footprint is very small. We have very few of limited use, and we're exploring not only the use, but the necessary guidelines for that use."
Turning to reports that Edward Snowden has denied allegations that he was a spy for China, King said that “sound intelligence work” by the U.S. would ferret out any possible connections he might have with that country.
Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who exposed the U.S. government's top-secret surveillance programs, dismissed suggestions on Monday from former Vice President Dick Cheney that he might be sharing information with China.
He is believed to be in hiding in Hong Kong.
“I know that it’s being looked into, but I’m not in a position to say what his relationship with China is,” King told Tapper. “This is something that has to be looked into as to why he went to china, any previous connections he has, any intelligence that he might be giving them.
“That, to me, is just sound intelligence work on the part of our government.”
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