The Trump administration’s David Glawe, undersecretary for intelligence and analysis at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Hayley Chang, DHS’ deputy general counsel, warned a bipartisan group of senators, “Terrorist groups overseas use drones to conduct attacks on the battlefield and continue to plot to use them in terrorist and criminal attacks elsewhere. This is a very serious, looming threat that we are currently unprepared to confront,” in testimony on June 6, 2018. They told the Senate committee that oversees the department that it needs new authority.
They urged Congress to give it new powers to disable or destroy threatening drones, according to testimony viewed by Reuters.
The group of senators including Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, a Republican, and the committee’s top Democrat, Claire McCaskill, who last month introduced legislation to give DHS and the Justice Department authority “to protect buildings and assets when there is an unacceptable security risk to public safety posed by an unmanned aircraft.”
“The federal government does not have the legal authorities it needs to protect the American public from these kinds of threats. The threats posed by malicious drones are too great to ignore,” Johnson noted.
Johnson said a bipartisan group of senators backs the legislation.
FBI deputy assistant director Scott Brunner told the committee the agency is “concerned that criminals and terrorists will exploit (drones) in ways that pose a serious threat to the safety of the American people.”
Threats could include surveillance, chemical, biological or radiological attacks or attacks “on large open air venues” like concerts and sporting events and attacks against government facilities, he said.
The American Civil Liberties Union said in a letter to the committee that it opposes the bill, which “amounts to an enormous unchecked grant of authority to the government to forcefully remove drones form the sky in nebulous security circumstances.”