- The Washington Times - Friday, May 22, 2015

The Obama Justice Department issued new guidelines Friday for how the government should operate drones, including declaring a ban on flying them “to engage in discrimination,” ticking off race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation and “gender identity” as out of bounds for drone targeting.

Officials also said drones, or “Unmanned Aerial Surveillance,” also cannot be used to monitor activities protected by the First Amendment.

While saying that drones can be a boon for investigators, the Justice Department said when officials are using them, they must be connected to authorized investigations or other official activities.

“At a minimum, each time UAS are deployed, approval must be granted (1) at the assistant special agent in charge-or-equivalent level at the relevant field office, and (2) by an executive level supervisor within the agency’s aviation support unit or a designated executive level supervisor at the agency’s headquarters,” the guidance said.

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies fall under the Justice Department. Any agencies that haven’t already gotten permission to use drones must get permission from the attorney general, the new guidelines said.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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