Spy in the Sky: WTOP examines drone debate

WASHINGTON – You usually can’t hear them or see them. But they’re watching. And they’re everywhere.

A federal appeals court has ruled that the CIA must provide a more detailed response to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, seeking records about drone attacks. Today’s decision from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is part of an ongoing national debate about the use of drones.

WTOP will air a special 10-part series, “Spy In The Sky” on Monday, March 18 through Friday, March 22 at 7:10 and 8:10 a.m. Each report can also be found online, along with exclusive photos and video.

Drones range in size from a basketball – used by hobbyists – to some UAVs or “unmanned aerial vehicles” that are larger than a jet and armed for strategic military operations.

Yet the use of drones generally sparks intense debate, questions about security versus privacy, and fear.

In “Spy in the Sky,” WTOP focuses on the use of drones both abroad and at home and how policy makers, police, and civil rights advocates are shaping their future.

WTOP National Security Correspondent JJ Green observes drone operations at U.S. military bases in Southwest, Asia and the Middle East. He visits Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nev., and the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Southern Maryland to interview program officials and drone pilots during exercises. He also probes the use of drones with current and former federal aviation officials and U.S. intelligence officers.

WTOP’s Andrew Mollenbeck journeys to Southwest Virginia and Central Virginia to interview the first sheriff’s department in the Commonwealth to purchase drones. He meets with the Adams Morgan resident who received an FAA warning for flying a camera drone over the District. Mollenbeck also obtains vastly different perspectives on drone use from police in Miami-Dade – who embrace the technology – and Seattle Mayor Michael McGinn, who shut down the city’s drone program last month.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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