Friday, June 20, 2014

Rush Holt: HR 4372 "Come Clean on Drone Killing" Act needs YOU!

Rep. Rush Holt (representing New Jersey's 12th Congressional district) is on the record declaring that "no matter the safeguards the U.S. drone program is loosely managed and needs greater oversight."

(See the full MSNBC video on Rush Holt and his position on drones from October, 2013.)

Now a bill is pending in Congress -- the The Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act (HR 4372) -- also known as the "Come Clean on Drone Killing" Act. At this writing, quite a few of Rep. Holt's fellow progressive caucus members have become co-sponsors for the bill. So where is Rep. Holt?

Rep. Holt's constituents need to contact him and urge him to co-sponsor the bill today.

Additional resources to help:

Identify your member of Congress

Example letter to a member of Congress in support of HR 4372: the Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act (the "come clean on drone killings" act)

Related posts

First Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) called the U.S. on the carpet for dodging the call from the international community to come clean about its drone killings. Then Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) submitted a bill calling for drone transparency. So ... are we finally going to get the truth?

(See REAL Progressives Demand that the U.S. Come Clean on Drone Killings)

A 2013 U.N. report makes it clear that the U.S. has to report fully on all its drone attacks.

(See 2014: The Year of Transparency (for U.S. Drone Use)?)

The reason the Administration is hiding truth about drones is that they don't have a satisfactory answer for how decisions about drone strikes are made.  As we have known all along, we need the public to think about how crummy the whole drone program is, and then they will be ready to be on our side. The best way to get them really thinking is to shine a spotlight on the secrecy, evasiveness, and deceit involved in the U.S. drone program.

(See Drone Killings: Come Clean )

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Using the EFF Drones Questionnaire to Document Drone Activity at the Local Level - Ocean City, NJ

The exchange below documents the work done by a resident of Ocean City, NJ, to determine if and to what degree local law enforcement is using, or has plans to use, drones. It follows the format provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in its questionnaire “Drone Questions For Police Departments.”


October 18, 2012

Dear Chief Callahan and Retired Naval Commander Mac McCarthy,

I have documented, to the best of my ability, our meeting 9/17/12 re Drones.

Please confirm that this description is accurate.

Thank you.

Steven Fenichel, MD.

On 9/17/12 I met with Police Chief Chad Callahan of the Ocean City, NJ Police Department. In attendance with me was fellow resident Mac McCarthy who is a retired attorney and US Naval Commander.

The purpose of our meeting was to determine the intentions of our police department regarding the possible role of Drones.

We followed the questions from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and its questionnaire “Drone Questions For Police Departments.” The questions asked to Chief Callahan were:

1. Does the department currently have or have access to an unmanned or remotely piloted vehicle ( a “drone”)?

The Chief responded that his department does not currently have or have access or possession of any drones.

2. Does the Department have specific plans to obtain a drone?

The Chief emphatically stated that not only there are no specific plans to obtain a drone but he felt it was unnecessary to ever consider having a drone in Ocean City.

3. Has it issued a request for proposals from drone vendors or manufacturers, or sought external funding for the purchase of a drone?

To this the Chief responded emphatically “NO”.

4. Does the department have any policies, guidelines, or instructions on the department use of drones including legal process required?

The Chief shook his head “no” and stated that he does not see this ever happening while he is the chief.

5. Does another local government agency like a city council or county commissioner oversee or regulate the police department? If so which agency is that?

Chief Callahan stated that City Administrator Mr. Dattilo is his immediate supervisor. The County Prosecutor was also mentioned as having a supervisory role for his department.

6. Any other information that you want to provide about the department.

In discussion with Mr. Callahan about the recent law passed by the Congress giving drones unlimited air access over America in 9/2015 the Chief seemed genuinely concerned. The fact that the 18,000+ police departments will be viewed as major customers for this technology with tax dollar grants from the Department of Homeland Security elicited a response from the Chief that Ocean City would not be interested.

6. May we contact you for more information if necessary?

Chief Callahan gave a positive response to this question.
His phone # is: 609 3999111.
His email is:
"And of course you may always contact me."

Sincerely yours,
Steven Fenichel, M.D. FROM CHIEF CALLAHAN (via email)

October 22, 2012

Dr. Fenichel,

I reviewed the Q & A and it all appears accurate.

Have a safe week.


Chad C. Callahan, Chief of Police

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Is the police department in your community using drones? See the Electronic Frontier Foundation's questionnaire “Drone Questions For Police Departments.”