The Homeland Security Department ordered so many drones it can’t keep them all flying and doesn’t have a good plan for how to use them, according to a new audit that the department’s inspector general released Monday.
In a blunt assessment, investigators said Customs and Border Protection's Office of Air and Marine has a fleet of nine “unmanned aircraft systems” and is awaiting a 10th — though it doesn’t have enough ground support and doesn’t have a good plan for prioritizing missions.
“CBP procured unmanned aircraft before implementing adequate plans,” the investigators said.
The Defense Department uses armed drones overseas in the war on terrorism, but American law enforcement agencies are increasingly turning to them for use in detecting or preventing crimes at home. At the same time, they are butting heads with civil libertarians who worry about intrusion into innocent citizens’ private lives.