On Fox & Friends this morning, Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano suggested that it would be heroic if an American were to shoot down a surveillance drone above U.S. skies, saying that "[t]he first American patriot that shoots down one of these drones that comes too close to his children in his backyard will be an American hero." Watch:
NAPOLITANO: When the president bombed Libya, the Congress looked the other way. Now the president wants to dispatch plastic drones to spy on Americans. It would be reprehensible for the Congress to look the other way. And I want to give a shoutout to Charles Krauthammer. He's 100 percent correct. The first American patriot that shoots down one of these drones that comes too close to his children in his backyard will be an American hero.
Napolitano was responding in part to news that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has taken steps to explain rules regarding the increased domestic use of surveillance drones, a controversial issue that has drawn widespread criticism and concern. Napolitano was echoing his Fox News colleague Charles Krauthammer's comments opposing domestic drone use. Krauthammer said on the May 14 edition of Special Report: “I would say you ban it under all circumstances, and I would predict -- I'm not encouraging, but I'm predicting -- the first guy who uses a Second Amendment weapon to bring a drone down that's been hovering over his house is going to be a folk hero in this country. ... I'm not encouraging, I'm simply making a prediction.”
There are serious and widespread privacy concerns regarding the use of drones for domestic surveillance. In a letter to the FAA, GOP Rep. Joe Barton and Democratic Rep. Ed Markey each expressed concerns about the need for strict privacy standards and transparency in the FAA rules. The American Civil Liberties Union has likewise expressed similar concerns. But while there are serious concerns over the use of drones domestically, Napolitano's suggestion that an “American patriot” should fire at one being used by law enforcement could lead to serious and potentially dangerous consequences.