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FBI & Air Force OSI knocked on my door

I think these sorts of visits are rare, and only occur when there is a good security reason that the feds did not share with the OP, and probably with good reason
Yes it is rare-- In most instances Just like getting permission to fly next to an airport you Need permission from the Base commander to fly around the perimeter of an Air force Base Try just going out to Edwards and flying around outside the fence see how long it takes them to stop you!
This entire incident is consistent with something like that happening at the time the OP was flying, legally, so for security concerns they wanted to know who the pilot was, and what they were doing.
That statement is actually a little scary. If I simply take a picture outside the gate does that give the Government the right to investigate "Who" I am? BUT they got his info before hand and could have easily investigated his background Why send out agents for a personal visit?
 
Seems to me if you figure out the drone pilot was a Chinese nationalist on a visa then a visit would be warranted.

If you find out the drone pilot is an American citizen businessman, my thoughts are no visit should be necessary. I dunno.

Do you consider the possibility that there can be classified, sensitive activity occurring at a military base that justifies looking into a drone flight regardless of who the pilot is, and in fact a discussion with the pilot is an important part of addressing security concerns?

Or, in your view, if the authorities determine the pilot is an American with a drone photography business, law-abiding, otherwise ordinary citizen, there are no possible circumstances that justify an in-person conversation?
 
Seems to me if you figure out the drone pilot was a Chinese nationalist on a visa then a visit would be warranted.

If you find out the drone pilot is an American citizen businessman, my thoughts are no visit should be necessary. I dunno.

But I get it, it's a drone and drones are bad juju.

Actually, I think you still aren't.

It's not drones that are bad juju.

It's "unknown" that's bad juju. The more sensitive the security issue, the more trivial the unknowns can be and still be considered bad juju by authorities, needing to make the unknown known.
 
Do you consider the possibility that there can be classified, sensitive activity occurring at a military base that justifies looking into a drone flight regardless of who the pilot is, and in fact a discussion with the pilot is an important part of addressing security concerns?

Or, in your view, if the authorities determine the pilot is an American with a drone photography business, law-abiding, otherwise ordinary citizen, there are no possible circumstances that justify an in-person conversation?
I consider him innocent until proven guilty and a citizen with the same rights to freedom of expression and privacy as I enjoy.
 
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That statement is actually a little scary. If I simply take a picture outside the gate does that give the Government the right to investigate "Who" I am? BUT they got his info before hand and could have easily investigated his background Why send out agents for a personal visit?

We don't know. Why is that scary? There's lots we don't know when it comes to National Security.

Similar type of situation: It's legal to take pictures of Nuclear Power plants. In fact, it's legal to set up with a tripod on a hillside with a long telephoto lens and record the comings and goings of employees, gathering information about who, when, what vehicles, etc.

If authorities became aware someone was doing this, is it your view that it's wrong for the FBI to investigate? Have a chat with this person?

This is not a hypothetical example.
 
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I consider him innocent until proven guilty and a citizen with the same rights to freedom of expression and privacy as I enjoy.

I'm honestly confused... you consider where you fly to be a right to privacy?
 
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you consider where you fly to be a right to privacy?
I enjoy the Debate fellow member:
The pictures I take and where I take them in Public are private. and I can fly any place in public I would like as long as I am not breaking a law.
If they have something to hide at that base create a NFZ and don't allow drones Nearby-- Such as Edwards.
The photos I take legally in public are of no concern to the government until they can prove what I am doing with them is a crime.
 
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The photos I take legally in public are of no concern to the government until they can prove what I am doing with them is a crime.

The simple fact is with any public capture, you don't and never can know that, and no, crime doesn't have to have anything to do with it. A sensitive security issue is enough to contact you and discuss it.

Depending on the issue, you could even be obligated to keep it confidential under penalty if you do disclose to someone, thereby committing a crime.

Rights are not absolute. There is this well-established concept in law referred to as "compelling state interest" that can supercede your individual rights.

Sensitive, serious National Security circumstances are one of the things that often constitute a compelling state interest that supercedes individual rights.
 
Rights are not absolute. There is this well-established concept in law referred to as "compelling state interest" that can supercede your individual rights.
In the U.S. the "States" interest are the Peoples interests And No law may be passed or enforced by any entity that interferes with ones own individual rights That's in the constitution.
The simple fact is with any public capture, you don't and never can know that, and no, crime doesn't have to have anything to do with it. A sensitive security issue is enough to contact you and discuss it.
Suspicion is not a crime and If what I saw with my drone- in public was such a national security interest that it warranted FBI intervention then I would question the Air force's display of this object in plain site. I am close to Palmdale they Build and test fly stuff we could only dream of there I have yet to see one in flight or just lying about for that matter.
 
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Do you consider the possibility that there can be classified, sensitive activity occurring at a military base that justifies looking into a drone flight regardless of who the pilot is, and in fact a discussion with the pilot is an important part of addressing security concerns?

Or, in your view, if the authorities determine the pilot is an American with a drone photography business, law-abiding, otherwise ordinary citizen, there are no possible circumstances that justify an in-person conversation?
My thinking is along the lines of if you determine the pilot is a foreigner then that might trigger an automatic visit. If the pilot is an American citizen then it may or may not require a visit, depends on the circumstances; I would err on the side of not. For example, if that drone showed up 5 minutes after a B-2 made an unscheduled landing at a base anywhere outside Whiteman, yeah go check. If it's a random guy on a random Saturday and you had classified phone calls with Cuba earlier this week and now you are hearing things, yes...but you can't go investigating the People off the base just because you have secret stuff going on inside the base.

Military can't open a base in town and then start questioning all the citizens who live nearly. You can't put a demill F-4 and an B-52 out front at the gate and when people come to look at it and start taking pictures from outside the gate you start using the FBI to ask questions. That's why I said drone maybe because it would be more understanding and a bit unusual but if the camera is on the ground and in someone's hand, NO the government should not show up at your workplace because they have secrets on base and they wanna know what you saw while you were standing off-base, consensual contact or not. People don't want the FBI calling or coming to their workplace or questioning their neighbors for info about you or calling you on your cellphone a number they shouldn't have....for any reason. Would you like to see a video of what happens when the military confronts people who know their rights who stand off base and take pictures of whatever they can see ON the base regardless of what sensitive activities are going inside there?

Again, there are minor exceptions, maybe the President is arriving tomorrow, maybe new equipment arrives today but has been delayed, I get it if you have reasonable suspicions. I mentioned it earlier but if you are spoofing or probing and looking for opening, yes please deal with it. Everything on a military base is top secret and it's up to military to keep it that way, not the citizens.
 
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I consider him innocent until proven guilty and a citizen with the same rights to freedom of expression and privacy as I enjoy.
I think we often lose sight of this. Based on who's doing the charging and the gravity of the charges, we all need to remember that everyone is absolutely innocent until a judge or jury says you are not. Just because the government accuses you means nothing and everyone has a right to mount a legal (suitable) defense. I remember the one thread where someone mentioned the drone flier tried to blame DJI....well, everyone has a right to use whatever evidence they wish (with some minor limitations of course) to defend themselves with and that including pointing the finger at DJI if they believe it helps make their case. The day we believe that is absurd is the day we start disallowing the defense to introduce certain information (again to some extent). When someone is accused of a crime or violation, unless it is heinous, ideally we need to rally around the accused (or remain neutral) until that day comes. It's really painful otherwise when we allow accusations alone to have such power and as I mentioned earlier if the FBI shows up at your workplace just wanting to talk about your drone, many people would be screwed; it's not right.
 
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The simple fact is with any public capture, you don't and never can know that, and no, crime doesn't have to have anything to do with it. A sensitive security issue is enough to contact you and discuss it.

Depending on the issue, you could even be obligated to keep it confidential under penalty if you do disclose to someone, thereby committing a crime.

Rights are not absolute. There is this well-established concept in law referred to as "compelling state interest" that can supercede your individual rights.

Sensitive, serious National Security circumstances are one of the things that often constitute a compelling state interest that supercedes individual rights.
You make a good point and this is the very reason why you stay away from federal officials in the first place because I can assure you that 99% of the people don't know this and don't know you can go to jail for even lying to them about your drone flight activities, even if it is innocent. Unfortunately flying a drone involved the federal government and as I mentioned earlier, until the hobby is more associated with the state (commonly known as the "people"), we have a lot of changing that has to happen if we want to see this grow. Flying a drone around with a camera is quite a bit different that walking around with a camera in your hand.
 
My thinking is along the lines of if you determine the pilot is a foreigner then that might trigger an automatic visit. If the pilot is an American citizen then it may or may not require a visit, depends on the circumstances; I would err on the side of not.

We agree.

Do you know enough about the circumstances of this incident to make any judgement as to whether or not a visit was required?
 
I think we often lose sight of this. Based on who's doing the charging and the gravity of the charges, we all need to remember that everyone is absolutely innocent until a judge or jury says you are not.

What is it we have lost sight of?

We seem to be going quite far afield of the actual incident in question to slag on the authorities for looking into his flight.

His innocence, from what we know, was never questioned. No charges were brought or discussed. He didn't mention any discussion of possible violations of the law by the FBI.

He flew near an Air Force base, something that I assume happens all the time, but this time there was reason to investigate and determine who it was, and have a chat with them. The resources expended here were significant, mostly in tracking him down, and given the delay it seems it may have taken some effort.

So it's a fair assumption there was a compelling reason to look into THIS flight and get details on who they were and why they were there. Likely a sensitive reason that, as such, we'll never have a clue about, including the OP.

I have no problem with that at all. I have a problem with such authority being abused, which doesn't sound like it in this case.
 
After reading all the posts, all I can say is be glad and thankful you are in the USA where civil rights still mean something and the law enforcement officials here were very cordial.

If you were in another country (you know where it is .... ) you will be arrested, held incognito, without any charges and most likely just disappear.
 
We agree.

Do you know enough about the circumstances of this incident to make any judgement as to whether or not a visit was required?
Obviously I don't but if it were me in this particular situation, I would know enough from my own experience in the situation that a visit would not be required which is why I would decline the visit. I don't need to know the gravity of the government's side because 1) you can never know what they know and 2) whatever they know can always be used as an excuse for a visit no matter how much or how little they know. I have to think of it that way, in that context, otherwise this is all going to be problematic in the long run; it won't work that way.
 
What is it we have lost sight of?

We seem to be going quite far afield of the actual incident in question to slag on the authorities for looking into his flight.

His innocence, from what we know, was never questioned. No charges were brought or discussed. He didn't mention any discussion of possible violations of the law by the FBI.

He flew near an Air Force base, something that I assume happens all the time, but this time there was reason to investigate and determine who it was, and have a chat with them. The resources expended here were significant, mostly in tracking him down, and given the delay it seems it may have taken some effort.

So it's a fair assumption there was a compelling reason to look into THIS flight and get details on who they were and why they were there. Likely a sensitive reason that, as such, we'll never have a clue about, including the OP.

I have no problem with that at all. I have a problem with such authority being abused, which doesn't sound like it in this case.
Ok, I didn't get that from the message. If you are saying there had to have been a good reason why they would pay a visit, we just don't know it....then ok, perhaps. Good luck to the OP and hopefully this is the last he hears from them. We all can only wish our own "visit" would go as well.
 
Had a business card of an FBI agent taped to my house front door this morning.
On the front, hand-printed, "Cell on back".
No other message.

My wife called with this info right when I got a call from an unknown Virginia number.
He asked me if I was home and I said, "May I ask who is asking?"
He identified himself as an FBI agent and asked if we could meet.
We arranged to meet at a Starbucks half-way between us.

When he arrived, he was with an OSI officer from the Air Force.

After a couple of pleasantries, they said they were there to talk to me about a flight that I had made at the end of October last year.
Apparently, I had flown over the boundary of an air force base by just a few feet.
It was over a hedge row near some adjacent industrial property and nowhere near a runway.

I showed them the photos I took and explained who the client was.
Looks like they were just ensuring I wasn't there for nefarious reasons.

It was interesting to me how long ago the flight was and the fact that they came in person.
I mean, they figured out my cell number and could have just called me.
The OP really has no idea who these people were/are. You get a card to call an FBI officer and he says call his cell?! You meet 2 strangers who may have fake ID's?! A suit or uniform doesn't mean anything nowadays.

You were playing with fire.

Why didn't you call the FBI's main office and ask for the Agent by Name? You don't call a cell number and believe a card is real evidence that an FBI agent came to your door.

How DID you confirm their identities? Did you call both of their offices first? I would have.

Even if they were real representatives of the government, YOU ANSWERED THEIR QUESTIONS?! Believe it or not you may be getting another knock on your door and this time it will be a warrant to search and seize your property. You may have screwed yourself. Why? You admitted you committed a criminal offense.

Finally, this post could be click bait for all we know.
 
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Just hate seeing you harassed by something that could have easily been handled over the phone not saying you handled it wrong I would have done it differently that's all I would have brought my Attorney.
I will just end by saying:
The Government has one goal...to gather evidence on a case. So if you are a suspect or even possibly a suspect, the purpose of the questioning will be to try and gather evidence to convict you at trial. That is it. They are not there to ask about your job or gather drone knowledge- or even get to know you. They are there for evidence to use against you..
Exactly. You hit the nail on the head. Anything he said or showed them, can and will be used against him. As I said. His next contact with them, me be a warrant to search and seize.
 
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The OP really has no idea who these people were/are. You get a card to call an FBI officer and he says call his cell?! You meet 2 strangers who may have fake ID's?! A suit or uniform doesn't mean anything nowadays.

You were playing with fire.

Why didn't you call the FBI's main office and ask for the Agent by Name? You don't call a cell number and believe a card is real evidence that an FBI agent came to your door.

How DID you confirm their identities? Did you call both of their offices first? I would have.

Even if they were real representatives of the government, YOU ANSWERED THEIR QUESTIONS?! Believe it or not you may be getting another knock on your door and this time it will be a warrant to search and seize your property. You may have screwed yourself. Why? You admitted you committed a criminal offense.

Finally, this post could be click bait for all we know.
If you arrive at the meeting location and they show their ID and badges, most of us will be able to determine if we are being duped or not. Also it would be helpful to know what criminal offense he admitted to, I must have missed that part.

Exactly. You hit the nail on the head. Anything he said or showed them, can and will be used against him. As I said. His next contact with them, me be a warrant to search and seize.
Agreed, it is possible (but not likely) there could be bad news coming down the road. You just never know.
 
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