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Unmanned Planes Could Begin Flying Over Texas in a matter of months(Drones Patrol Mexican Border)
The Statesman ^ | Tuesday, May 11, 2010 | Tim Eaton

Posted on 05/11/2010 2:52:30 PM PDT by nickcarraway

FAA says it's working on approval that would allow the flights.

After years of political pressure from Texas politicians, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar said Monday that he expects the federal government to deliver unmanned aircraft to watch over the border with Mexico by this fall.

Cuellar, a Democrat from Laredo, said he has had discussions with top officials from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's office of air and marine operations, and they agreed to the timetable, subject to Federal Aviation Administration approval to allow the surveillance planes — often referred to in the political vernacular as "Predator drones" — to fly over Texas.

Laura Brown, an FAA spokeswoman, said the administration is "working as quickly as we can on this."

Cuellar said the FAA told him that regulators' main concern has been with Texas' heavy airplane traffic — both private and commercial.

If approved, the unmanned aircraft in Texas would add to the federal government's existing border effort, which includes a handful of other unmanned aircraft, 20,000 Border Patrol agents, about 650 miles of border fence and 41 mobile surveillance systems, according to Customs and Border Protection.

The plane, which is made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and officially called a Predator B, is able to spot illegal border activity and send images in real time to border officials.

At that point, Border Patrol agents could be dispatched, according to Customs and Border Protection.

Cuellar — along with Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison and Gov. Rick Perry — has been trying to bring the unmanned aircraft to Texas for years.

Cornyn and Perry, both Republicans, have been among the most vocal critics of the regulators' pace.

"Washington needs to quit fiddling while the border region of America burns," said Perry, who has been calling for Predators since 2005.

Also last week, Cornyn said that the FAA's pace "borders on foot-dragging."

Cuellar has refrained from using harsh words directed at the FAA.

Instead, he invited FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt and Alan Bersin, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, to his office on May 20 to make sure an agreement can be reached.

"My interest in this is to get this done as quickly as possible," he said.

Cuellar, who leads the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism, has asked the FAA to give priority to Texas' request.

Cuellar and Customs and Border Protection officials said a home for a Texas-based Predator already has been identified at Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi.

Kimberly Kasitz, a spokeswoman for General Atomics, said one unmanned aircraft costs $10 million to $12 million.

Discussions in Washington have centered on bringing one Predator to Texas to be deployed along the border with Mexico to fight drug trafficking, human smuggling and violent Mexican drug cartels.

The Texas plane is still under construction, Cuellar said. If it is not ready by the time the FAA approves its flight, then one would be borrowed from another location, Cuellar said. He would not say where because of security concerns.

Places with unmanned aircraft systems in the U.S. include Arizona, which has three; North Dakota, which has two; and Florida, with one.

Unmanned aircraft have grown quickly in popularity in the defense and surveillance sectors, said Peter W. Singer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of "Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century."

Since 2003, the military has acquired about 7,000 unmanned aircraft that are flying surveillance and combat missions in overseas wars, Singer said, and it happened "in a bureaucratic blink of an eye."

And even today, each branch of the military remains eager to obtain more.

"Basically, the Air Force is buying them as fast as they can," Singer said.

Meanwhile, Customs and Border Protection has said it intends to increase unmanned aircraft systems across the country this year, and it expects a complete network of the unmanned planes all along the border by 2015.

Officials boasted about the Predators' effectiveness in a fact sheet published in February 2009. They reported that Predator B planes have flown more than 1,500 hours and contributed to the seizure of more than 15,000 pounds of marijuana and the apprehension of more than 4,000 undocumented people.

But more can be accomplished with the unmanned aircraft, Cuellar said Monday.

Discussions already have taken place about turning the Predator's high-resolution cameras, which Cuellar said could read a label on a bottle of water from 19,000 feet, on to Mexico to track movements of drug cartels.

But there are still a lot of sovereignty issues, Cuellar added, so any advancement of the idea would be up to Mexican government officials.


TOPICS: Extended News; Mexico; Politics/Elections; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: aliens; border; bordersecurity; domesticdrones; drones; dronesbp; dronesus; mexico

1 posted on 05/11/2010 2:52:31 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

with rockets and machine guns I hope.


2 posted on 05/11/2010 2:53:39 PM PDT by fish hawk (Dreaming in my flight, I fly beyond my dreams.)
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To: nickcarraway

They may say they are getting them to watch the border, but they will be used against us.


3 posted on 05/11/2010 2:54:18 PM PDT by DonaldC (A nation cannot stand in the absence of religious principle.)
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To: fish hawk

C-130 drones with the fancy machine guns.


4 posted on 05/11/2010 2:54:54 PM PDT by Paladin2
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: fish hawk

be careful what you wish for. if they can blow up mexicans
they can also blow up other civilians


6 posted on 05/11/2010 2:56:22 PM PDT by rahbert (Only a poor snake charmer blames his snake..)
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To: nickcarraway
The Phantom Ray drone will take care of the problem!
7 posted on 05/11/2010 2:57:02 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (?)
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To: fish hawk
with rockets and machine guns I hope.

Amen to that! And if Canada and Mexico want to do the same thing on *their* side of the border I'd have no problem with that.If you enter *any* country in violation of its immigration/entry requirements you should be prepared to die.

8 posted on 05/11/2010 2:57:05 PM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Host The Beer Summit-->Win The Nobel Peace Prize!)
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To: nickcarraway
Been there for years, haven't you heard of the Marfa lights and Bailey's Prairie?
9 posted on 05/11/2010 2:57:26 PM PDT by HoustonCurmudgeon
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To: DonaldC
Just send these guys


10 posted on 05/11/2010 2:57:37 PM PDT by camerongood210
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To: nickcarraway

Unless they’re armed, its a waste of time and money.


11 posted on 05/11/2010 2:57:44 PM PDT by Little Ray (The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!)
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To: nickcarraway
"...any advancement of the idea would be up to Mexican government officials."

Until US citizens are allowed to buy Mexican property (to build a Free State), I say, FU Mexico.

12 posted on 05/11/2010 2:58:06 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: nickcarraway

They were supposed to do it a long time ago.


13 posted on 05/11/2010 2:59:49 PM PDT by Sacajaweau (What)
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To: nickcarraway

UCAV specs?


14 posted on 05/11/2010 3:00:51 PM PDT by AFreeBird
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To: rahbert

Definitely. Who do you think they care more about violating the law?


15 posted on 05/11/2010 3:02:51 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
Unmanned Planes Could Begin Flying Over Texas in a matter of months(Drones Patrol Mexican Border)

/sarc Yeah..like that will work.
“Hey Jose, we are gonna stop crossing the border because some plane is flying far above us, and will never fire on us.
When did planes in any skies ever stop illegals from crossing any border anywhere?
Just build the darn wall. Every bloody inch across the border. A strong, super fortified, unscalable { incapable of being ascended. unclimbable} wall. Its easy enough to do. India was able to do it and virtually stop illegals streaming in from Bangladesh.
"planes in the skies" nonsense is yet another red herring. In reality, 0bozo wants as many Mexican illegals here as possible, so he can use them to steal the elections in 2012.

16 posted on 05/11/2010 3:03:25 PM PDT by SmokingJoe
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To: rahbert

“be careful what you wish for. if they can blow up mexicans
they can also blow up other civilians”

I was just thinking that.


17 posted on 05/11/2010 3:03:43 PM PDT by dljordan (Psalm 109:8 "Let his days be few; and let another take his office. ")
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To: nickcarraway

Who knows what data they will gather, and how the data will be used?

Of course, such information is probably classified.

If they are to monitor objects and living things heading from the US to Mexico, the job should be easy.


18 posted on 05/11/2010 3:04:15 PM PDT by givemELL (Does Taiwan eet the Criteria to Qualify as an "Overseas Territory of the United States"? by Richar)
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To: nickcarraway

All that will accomplish is a more accurate count of how many are crossing the porous border. I guess we can add them to our census count for the Lone Star State and increase our congressional apportionment.


19 posted on 05/11/2010 3:04:51 PM PDT by VRWCmember
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To: nickcarraway
But there are still a lot of sovereignty issues, Cuellar added, so any advancement of the idea would be up to Mexican government officials.

Why? The mexican government officials don't give a rat's @$$ about our sovereignty issues when they print "how-to" manuals to help their citizens invade our country.

20 posted on 05/11/2010 3:06:29 PM PDT by VRWCmember
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To: rahbert

the House and Senate woud be a good start.


21 posted on 05/11/2010 3:07:00 PM PDT by fish hawk (Dreaming in my flight, I fly beyond my dreams.)
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To: nickcarraway

They are not going to do anything.

Perry, Kay Bailey and Cronyn are RINOs.


22 posted on 05/11/2010 3:13:08 PM PDT by Frantzie (McCain=Obama's friend. McCain/Graham = La Raza's Senators & Estefan-Rubio)
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To: nickcarraway
Why is Texas waiting for the Fed?
23 posted on 05/11/2010 3:14:35 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: knarf
Global Hawk UAV
24 posted on 05/11/2010 3:17:04 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: VRWCmember

“Why? The mexican government officials don’t give a rat’s @$$ about our sovereignty issues when they print “how-to” manuals to help their citizens invade our country.”

I think that was an act of war myself. It was at that point I think we should have told the Mexican Govt. stop your people from invading or we send the full force of the US military and Mexico becomes US Territory in 6 weeks


25 posted on 05/11/2010 3:17:23 PM PDT by precisionshootist
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To: fish hawk

with rockets and machine guns I hope.

Ditto!to that.I’m tired of playing games with this criminal invasion.Its time too get serious.


26 posted on 05/11/2010 3:24:49 PM PDT by puppypusher
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To: dljordan

A smartly placed minefield with English and Spanish warning sign would work better and be cheaper.


27 posted on 05/11/2010 3:32:00 PM PDT by WOBBLY BOB ("The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants"-Albert Camus)
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To: nickcarraway

Be careful what you wish for gentlemen! They could just as easily be used to keep YOU INSIDE.


28 posted on 05/11/2010 3:34:11 PM PDT by J Edgar
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To: WOBBLY BOB

Even cheaper solution. Every 20 miles or so dig a few grave sized holes in a row and fill them back up. Then put crude stick crosses sticking in the fresh dirt mounds. No warning signs are even necessary, as the point will be obvious to even the illiterate.


29 posted on 05/11/2010 3:39:56 PM PDT by anymouse (God didn't write this sitcom we call life, he's just the critic.)
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To: fish hawk

Yes! A strategically placed Hellfire missile will put a pause in someones step!


30 posted on 05/11/2010 3:47:10 PM PDT by K-oneTexas (I'm not a judge and there ain't enough of me to be a jury. (Zell Miller, A National Party No More))
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To: VRWCmember

I wouldn’t be surprised to if our drones are used to drop illegals MREs,GPS ,bottled water and voting ballots.


31 posted on 05/11/2010 3:57:04 PM PDT by WOBBLY BOB ("The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants"-Albert Camus)
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To: nickcarraway

They already are...

Have a good friend who is a flight officer in the Tx DPS and they have been doing coordinated surveilance between fixed wing manned and unmanned A/C since late last year...

It’s actually been fairly effective...The only problem is getting the boots on the ground to move faster to intercept suspected drug and human trafficking groups...

Not enough personnel...


32 posted on 05/11/2010 4:40:36 PM PDT by stevie_d_64 (I'm jus sayin')
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To: nickcarraway

Drones on the border may prove an effective tool, but Predator B on the US border is like using dynamite to kill an ant. Predators operate above effective small arms range and use advanced datalinks for flight control and sensor data relay. That means $$$$$$$. Those elements are not necessary in a no-threat environment - and are a substantial waste of money. That money could be better spent on personnel to apprehend, process, and prosecute the criminal invaders.


33 posted on 05/11/2010 8:33:54 PM PDT by XHogPilot (A thief might rob you, but politicians can rob your family for countless generations.)
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To: XHogPilot
That money could be better spent on personnel to apprehend, process, and prosecute the criminal invaders.

For some reason, it's very important to the politicians that the border not look like its defended.

So, we get all this "virtual fence", drones and tethered balloons crap.

Evidently, a fence offends their sensibilities. But it's cheaper...and it works.

As Robert Frost wrote, good fences make good neighbors.

34 posted on 05/11/2010 8:47:54 PM PDT by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance on Parade)
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To: 1_Inch_Group; 2sheep; 2Trievers; 3AngelaD; 3pools; 3rdcanyon; 4Freedom; 4ourprogeny; 7.62 x 51mm; ..

Ping!


35 posted on 05/11/2010 9:32:20 PM PDT by HiJinx (~ Illegal is a Crime, it is not a Race ~)
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To: stevie_d_64

Targeting U.S. citizens? For what crimes?


36 posted on 05/11/2010 10:32:09 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Pick an issue, make it a crime...There apparently are no boundaries...


37 posted on 05/12/2010 5:35:12 AM PDT by stevie_d_64 (I'm jus sayin')
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To: nickcarraway

Arizona tested a drone or two I am pretty sure I remember mysterious crashes. I think smugglers will shoot them down and it will become pretty expensive.


38 posted on 05/12/2010 5:35:41 AM PDT by Tammy8 (~Secure the border and deport all illegals- do it now! ~ Support our Troops!~)
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To: nickcarraway

Could be ???? would be MONTHS ?? I do not believe a word.. this is a silence the masses plan.. as soon as they are all legalized the planes or the ‘virtual fence” would cease to work..

I want a REAL fence NOW


39 posted on 05/12/2010 10:14:39 AM PDT by RnMomof7
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