The head of the FBI told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the bureau is using drones as part of its domestic surveillance capabilities.
Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley asked FBI Director Robert Mueller if the FBI used drones for surveillance on U.S. soil.
Mueller said that the bureau uses drones “very seldom.”
Mueller then elaborated to California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein that drones, formally called unmanned aerial systems, are “generally used in a particular incident where you need the capability.”
This marks the first time the bureau has admitted to using the technology to gather intelligence.
Mueller also confirmed that the bureau has yet to adopt any strict polices or guidelines governing their use.
DHS, which has a fleet of drones used to patrol the nation’s borders, has been loaning drones to local police forces to assist them in their operations since 2011.