The Department of Defense has admitted to using Predator and Reaper military drones in the US since 2006, according to an internal review. Inspectors for the Pentagon concluded that the missions were few in number and had not violated any laws.
A report by the Pentagon’s Inspector General (IG), dated March 2015, looked at instances when unmanned aerial surveillance (UAS) aircraft – commonly known as drones – have been flown over US territory and found them “fully compliant with laws, regulations and national policies for UAS support to domestic civil authorities.” It was made public on Wednesday, following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the newspaper USA Today.
“We found no evidence that any DoD entity using UAS… in support of domestic civil authorities to date has violated or is not in compliance with all statutory, policy or intelligence oversight requirements,” says the report signed by Anthony C. Thomas, Deputy IG for Intelligence and Special Program Assessments.
Fewer than 20 missions involving spy drones deployed over US territory have occurred between 2006 and 2015, the report says.
Drones were used inside the US only in a very few cases, such as to help put out forest fires and stem floods, one Defense Department official told Fox News.
“We felt like we could help,” said the official, who remained anonymous. “We were supporting first responders.”