It appears that some members of Congress are beginning to see the glaring error in their move to pass the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill which allowed for the massive expansion of the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), better known as drones, here in the United States by both the military and law enforcement.
It is not just the glaring privacy concerns (which will only continue to grow as cutting edge technology is deployed) posed by drones which seem to be troubling Representative Michael Burgess, a Texas Republican.
Referring to the FAA reauthorization bill, Burgess stated that it included “this very simple language allowing for the expansion of unmanned aerial vehicles in the national airspace.”
In the Congressional record from June 27 posted by the Federation of American Scientists, Burgess introduced an amendment to the Transportation Appropriations bill which would prevent armed drones from being used in the United States.
Unfortunately, it was determined that this amendment “proposes to change existing law and constitutes legislation in an appropriation bill and, therefore, violates clause 2 of rule XXI.”
The section being referred to states, “An amendment to a general appropriation bill shall not be in order if changing existing law,” which means that his amendment was struck down.
The acting chair stated:
The Chair finds that this amendment includes language requiring a new determination regarding the end use of certain aircraft systems and their components. The amendment, therefore, constitutes legislation in violation of clause 2 of rule XXI. The point of order is sustained, and the amendment is not in order.However, Rep. Burgess was able to get some statements on the record which I believe are vitally important.
“None of us really thought that was much of a problem, but our constituents are bringing it back to us,” said Burgess. “They are concerned about privacy, and they’re concerned about Federal agencies surveilling normal activities of commerce in which people may be engaged.”
Burgess seems to be less worried about privacy in light of the fact that armed drones very well could fly over U.S. airspace and, most troublingly, be used against Americans.
“If these drones are weaponized, you can–if you’ve been surveilled unfairly, you can go to court and perhaps seek a remedy. But if a bullet is fired from one of these platforms, you don’t have any remedy if you’re the recipient of that bullet,” Burgess stated.
“The amendment that I offer today is preemptive. As to my knowledge, no actual applications have been filed with the FAA to use armed drones in U.S. airspace,” said Burgess. “But I believe it is necessary, as there has been some discussion in the public media about the ability to arm unmanned aerial vehicles. I personally believe this is a road down which we should not travel.”
Saying “this is a road down which we should not travel” is a massive understatement considering just how dangerous this practice could be and just how much it would endanger what few liberties we have left.
It’s quite unfortunate that the bill was rejected completely on procedural grounds but the fact that this is even being brought up in Congress is, in my opinion, a good sign.
At least this reality is becoming evident to more individuals, even our so-called representatives who far too often serve corporate interests – like the massive drone lobby – and not the interests of the people who they are supposed to be serving and representing in Washington.
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This article first appeared at End the Lie.
Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. Madison also now has his own radio show on Orion Talk Radio from 8 pm -- 10 pm Pacific, which you can find HERE. If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at admin@EndtheLie.com
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