June 11, 2013
Phoenix Business Journal
Mike Sunnucks

U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., has introduced legislation restricting domestic drone strikes and requiring the U.S. government to publicly report American citizens being held in military detention centers such as Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The legislation comes in the form of amendments attached to Pentagon spending bills. They come as more light is shed on domestic surveillance and spying programs via data mining of cell phone, e-mail and Internet data.

The drone measure also comes as Arizona looks to attract one of a half dozen planned federal drone and unmanned aerial system research and operations centers. Salmon’s legislation would specifically ban the U.S. government and military from using drone strikes and other military force to kill Americans on domestic soil.

The U.S. government has used drone strikes to kill several American citizens in foreign countries who were part of Al Qaeda and other terror plots. Arizona and Southern California are also home to drone manufacturing and research and development by contractors such as Boeing in Mesa, Raytheon in Tucson and General Atomics in San Diego. The U.S. Army base at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. is also already a major drone and UAV operations hub.

Salmon and three other U.S. House members have introduced the legislation. The East Valley congressman supports bringing drone and UAV production and research to the state but wants restrictions on domestic military strikes more codified into federal law.

The use of drones is also coming up in the immigration reform debate. One immigration reform bill included stipulations the U.S. Border Patrol operate surveillance drones as often as 24 hours a day, seven days a week to patrol the Mexico border.

The American Civil Liberties Union has also sued the U.S. government today over domestic surveillance programs that mine Americans Internet and cell phone data.

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