POLITICS
08/02/2013 12:06 pm ET

Amendment Would Bar United Nations Drones From U.S. Airspace

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Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) wants to make sure that the United Nations won't be able to fly drones in American airspace anytime soon.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday approved his amendment on a bill funding the State Department that would bar the U.N. from using American money set aside for international peacekeeping activities to fly drones in U.S. airspace.

McCaul has been a staunch opponent of allowing drones in the U.S., though he supports unmanned aircraft use abroad and on U.S. borders. At a hearing last year for the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management, he expressed concern that drones will "dominate the skies" in the U.S. once the Federal Aviation Administration incorporates them into national airspace.

"Civilian unmanned aerial systems can be hacked into and hijacked with a relatively small investment of money and time," McCaul said at the hearing. "These findings are alarming and have revealed a gaping hole in the security of using unmanned aerial systems domestically."

The House does not have much to worry about when it comes to U.N. use of lethal drone strikes during peacekeeping missions, as those missions don't occur on U.S. soil. And the U.N. has only recently looked into drones to help with peacekeeping missions, purchasing one from an Italian company to use in the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of a pilot program. The drone will be used to monitor rebel movements on rugged terrain and border areas, places difficult for the U.N. to monitor by foot.

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