Predator Drone ‘UAV’ On Long Island Sparks Terror Investigation – Investigators said the drone was being designed to carry 600 pounds of explosives. Jonathan Dienst breaks the story for WNBC.com
A predator drone being built by an engineer on Long Island sparked a large counter-terrorism investigation across the New York area, officials tell WNBC.com. Police said they had stumbled upon overnight testing of the drone at a little-used airstrip in Calverton, Long Island.
The investigation began in February of last year, when investigators first learned testing of the drone was underway. Officials said the drone was being designed to carry more than 600 pounds of explosives.
“It could be in the air for 8-10 hours and there’s potential harm if it is carrying a large amount of toxic material,” NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in explaining why his department’s counterterrorism officials were concerned.
Police surveillance video obtained by News 4 New York shows a white van rolling onto the tarmac, a small group of men jumping out and ground testing the unmanned flight vehicle.
Kelly said the engineer building the drone never reported his work to any agency including the Federal Aviation Administration or local authorities. Investigators said concern increased for a time when they learned the man behind the project was an Egyptian national who had entered the U.S. on a Sudanese passport.
“It was such a bizarre set of circumstances,” said New York State Homeland Security Director Michael Balboni. “Of course we watched it as closely as we did anything that was on our radar screen.”
NYPD officials worked with Suffolk County police and the FBI to determine there were no ties to terror. Under questioning, the engineer said he was an inventor hoping to sell this drone model to the U.S. military. NYPD Lieutenant William McGroarty said during the investigation they had other questions.
“What if this individual could not sell to the military?” McGroarty asked. “Would he then turn and sell it to the highest bidder?”
Andy McCarthy at The National Review states the obvious and what everyone else is thinking….
The testing of the drone was done in the dead of night on a little used airstrip in Calverton, Long Island.
I find this more than a little alarming, notwithstanding the assurances of police that “no ties to terror” have been found, their conclusion that no crime was committed (because there was no lift-off, which would have been a criminal violation of FAA regulations), and their apparent acceptance of the engineer’s claim that he is “an inventor hoping to sell this drone model to the U.S. military.” (The “drone project has now been taken over by a Maryland-based company that has registered with the FAA,” the report says).
First, as we might recall from other investigations over the past several years, it is the practice especially of the FBI to find “no ties to terror” in any case involving Muslims where there is no known evidence of a relationship between the subjects of the investigation and any established terrorist organization (such as al Qaeda or Hezbollah). Because of concerns about “profiling” — despite the fact that we are under siege by Muslim terrorists — the fact that investigative subjects happen to be Muslims is deemed irrelevant (as if, in a Mafia investigation, you would have to ignore whether a subject was Italian or not for fear of being accused of Italophobia.) There is no concession in the report that the subjects of this investigation are Muslims. I’m gonna go out on a limb, though, and guess there’s an itsy-bitsy chance given that the engineer in question is an Egyptian national with a Sudanese passport. The happenstance that the subjects may be Muslims would not of itself make them guilty of anything — but it’s not irrelevant.
Smaller and perhaps more dangerous are the most extreme of all radio control aircraft… RC jets. RC jets are powered by real miniaturized jet engines and actual jet fuel. These scaled-down versions of actual military fighters and test planes are capable of speeds between 230 and 280 mph.
As you can imagine, a remote control jet, coming in at 250 mph would be extremely difficult to guard against.
This should serve as a wake up call to be on the lookout for suspicious activity involving this type of aircraft.
You can see an RC jet in action below.