The FBI has been using drones for some time probably about 9 years). Years, in fact. When Sen. Paul (R-KY) started asking questions about that, the FBI decided to comply with the law and did the requisite “Privacy Impact Analysis”…which is on one hand pretty funny and on the other hand pretty serious. Since the FBI started the drone business in 2005, and deployed them in 2006, there had to be a PIA (which I’m sure the FBI and any other Agency receiving one considers them) and records show that at least one was completed. It should be available by FOIA – at least on line, by default.
Therefore, Muckrock filed a series of FOIA’s because, well, that’s what Muckrock does to obtain those PIA/PIAs. It even fought a tough lawsuit for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
So? They got the PIA, right? Nope.
All those PIA documents have been redacted in full. Even the cover page. Turns out there’s a Catch-22 or Rule-22, if you will which isn’t totally outrageous. Some things have to remain secret, although you have to really wonder just who gets to decide that.
“Justice Department guidelines allow agencies to withhold PIAs if publication would “reveal classified, sensitive, or otherwise protected information (e.g., potentially damaging to a national interest, law enforcement effort, or competitive business interest).” Department guidelines require separate justification for keeping PIA findings from the public, but the FBI did not release any such justification documents, either.” – Muckrock
So they refiled because the FBI didn’t even bother to justify the non production of documents. Just what that will accomplish is unclear.
So what’s funny about the whole thing?
“When asked to clarify the wholesale redaction of the privacy impact assessment, the FBI cited its litigation with CREW as a block on responding. "Unfortunately this matter is pending litigation," wrote Christopher Allen of the FBI Office of Public Affairs, "so I will not be able to comment."- Muckrock
In other words, “Do drones invade your privacy? Sorry, that’s private”.
So much for the promised transparency.
Btw, by writing about privacy, I’ve probably triggered NSA interest: Check this Make Use Of article out. Not that they need an excuse…they can always lose the HDD.