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Wildfires burn through Colorado causing thousands to evacuate, and protests in Turkey are in 13th day. Tune in at 7am ET.
May 23rd, 2013
07:55 AM ET

Pres. Obama to deliver nat'l security speech defending drones in fight against terror – Dan Lothian reports

In just a few hours President Obama will deliver a major national security speech now that his administration is acknowledging that the U.S. killed four Americans in drone strikes. The admission was made in a letter to Congress on Wednesday. "We expect the president to announce new restrictions on how those controversial drone strikes can take place," Lothian says.

March 8th, 2013
09:37 AM ET

Sen. Wyden on Abu Ghaith court appearance: Americans want a want tough approach on terror

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on Sulaiman Abu Ghaith's court appearance in New York City, and the U.S.'s drone policy.

Filed under: Drones • Terrorism
March 7th, 2013
09:57 AM ET

Rep. Hoyer: Key to fixing fiscal issues is with balanced approach, says lawmakers need to come to an agreement on drone policy

This morning on "Starting Point," Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) talks with Soledad O'Brien about what he hopes will come from President Obama's dinner with GOP senators last night. He also weighs in on Attorney General Eric Holder's comments on authorizing use of lethal force via drones in U.S.

Filed under: Drones • Economy
February 8th, 2013
12:12 PM ET

Sen. Wyden: Every American has right to know if government believes it's allowed to kill them

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on CIA nominee John Brennan being grilled by Senate committee and the U.S.'s drone program.

Filed under: Drones
January 23rd, 2013
11:12 AM ET

Rise of the drones: NOVA filmmaker Peter Yost on the ever-evolving technology behind drones

The evolution and power behind drones are not only changing how the United States fights wars abroad, but also they are advancing the way the drones are increasingly being used as a surveillance tool here in America. On Wednesday, PBS will debut a special by filmmaker Peter Yost called "Nova: Rise of the Drones." This morning Yost joins “Starting Point” to provide more insight into the drone engineers, pilots, military bases and the stunning advances in unmanned aerial technologies.

Yost, a multiple Emmy-nominated filmmaker, says the U.S. has been using drones in different capacities for many decades. In his film, Yost says he includes rare and amazing footage from as early as World War II where pilots “were flying via remote control from one plane to another and...would sometimes bail out with parachutes.” Here in the U.S., Yost says the use of domestic drones “is playing out as we speak.”

Yost says the technology is “accessible to anyone right now” and the pieces can be purchased at a department store. He adds that after mounting a camera, anyone could then stream the footage back to their iPhone. Yost says FAA regulation is underway for those who want to use drone technology for commercial purposes and should be in place for the near future.

Filed under: Drones
July 4th, 2012
11:11 AM ET

Student, professor explain how they hijacked drone using GPS signals

By 2015, unmanned drones will be allowed in U.S. airspace, raising many questions about our national security and privacy.
What some University of Texas researchers set out to prove was whether it took much effort to hack them.

With just $1,000 worth of software, the group was able to successfully hijack a civilian drone. Dr. Todd Humphreys and his team of students first experimented at the University of Texas at Austin. Then, the team was asked to demonstrate the process for the Department of Homeland Security.

Dr. Humphreys and graduate student Daniel Shepherd explain how they were able to hack into the drone, and what implications it has for our nation's safety.

Filed under: Drones • Hacking
May 22nd, 2012
12:36 PM ET

Sen. Carl Levin: Counterfeit military parts pose 'significant safety risk'

Because of a recent surge of counterfeit military parts– such as pieces of equipment used in aircrafts– the Senate Armed Services Committee has adopted new legislation to change the procedural laws for buying new or refurbished parts.

Senator Carl Levin joins Starting Point this morning to explain the details of the new law, which he has been working on alongside Sen. John McCain.

Levin explains that the news laws say that parts can only be bought from contracted, authorized distributors or certified suppliers and dictates that suppliers will be responsible for their own repairs.

Regarding the threat posed by the counterfeit parts, Levin explains that the problem occurs almost exclusively with equipment produced in China, and poses a "significant" safety threat to the nation.


Filed under: Defense • Drones
April 23rd, 2012
12:24 PM ET

Rep. Markey: Public debate needed on drone use in U.S.

When most people think of high-tech, unmanned drones, they usually think of the military using them to spy on enemies overseas or carry out attacks.

But the Federal Aviation Administration just released a list of more than 50 domestic institutions across the country that have applied for their own private drone programs. It includes small towns and even universities. The list has some lawmakers worried about privacy.

This week, Congressmen Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Tx.), drafted a letter to the FAA chief, saying "The agency has the opportunity and responsibility to ensure that the privacy of individuals is protected and that the public is fully informed about who is using drones in public airspace and why."

This morning on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien," Rep. Markey explains his concern over the widespread use of drones in the U.S.

"The FAA has already begun the licensing of drones for police agencies, for some other public institutions," he says. "But they are saying they could license upwards of 30,000 drones, public and private, that is commercial as well, in the United States by the year 2020. That is, within eight years, we could have 30,000 of these drones gathering information about Americans flying over the heads of the American people."

"It's un-American for this kind of information to be gathered for commercial purposes without their first being a debate in our country that these eyes in the sky now perhaps the size of the palm of your hand floating over your house are able to gather information that could be used actually in a detrimental way that could harm your family," he adds.

Filed under: Drones • Privacy • Surveillance