The obligatory follow-up to Monday night’s anti-drone cri de coeur from Krauthammer. On the one hand, Chicago is hosting the big NATO summit this weekend, for which security should be airtight. Has DHS added a special little birdie to their eyes in the sky?
On the other hand, c’mon. Slate reports:
A government source familiar with domestic drone policy was unequivocal, telling me, “There are no unmanned aerial vehicles being operated in the Chicago area and particularly no vehicles that look like the one in the video. The vehicle pictured in the video is a very, very large vehicle, and the areas these are permitted to operate are in unpopulated areas for the most part, or where there is not a heavy concentration of people.”…
If any further confirmation was required to debunk the video, it was provided by the FAA, which hands out permissions for the domestic use of drones. An FAA spokesperson said, “No UAS [unmanned aerial systems] operators have asked the FAA to approve UAS operations in the Chicago area to support the NATO Summit, and the FAA has not approved any UAS operations in the Chicago area.”
A DHS spokesman also insists that it’s not one of theirs. “Aha,” say our resident black-helicopter types. “Of course that’s what they’d say.” Watch the clip for yourself. First, as noted elsewhere, there seems to be sunlight glinting off the drone even though the skies are overcast. Second, it seems never to waver from its perfectly straight flight path. The only suggestion that it’s not a static image being dragged across the screen from left to right by a video editor is that the image turns fuzzy at points, but that seems like a cheap way of showing it supposedly “passing through clouds” or whatever. Third, aren’t these things designed to operate at a much higher altitude? That’s the whole point of using drones instead of planes against jihadis — they’re high up and verrrry quiet so you can’t see them coming. This thing, however, looks like it’s a couple of thousand feet in the air at best. If DHS was going to risk a scandal by using drones for the NATO summit without telling anyone, wouldn’t they insist on maximum altitude to minimize the chance of the bird being spotted?
Or, maybe it’s real and the drones are coming to get us. Any professional or amateur video editors out there have any insights?