At a time of high tension between the U.S. and China, the federal government is using Chinese drones to spy on Americans. So says a report in Axios, which shows the FBI and Secret Service recently purchased surveillance drones from a Chinese company called Da Jiang Innovations (DJI). This despite a 2017 DHS report that said those very DJI drones could pose a national security threat by leaking data back to the Chinese government.
Gordon Chang, author of The Coming Collapse of China, says this is dangerous. "These drones do send information to the cloud, and they do use a mapping service that Beijing can access," he tells KTRH. "Therefore, there is no justification for U.S. law enforcement buying these drones."
A spokesman for DJI denied that any data was leaked or transmitted back to China, calling the allegations "false" and "fantasies promoted by some of our critics."
Whether it is actually happening or not, Chang argues that it is a real possibility. "There is a potential for DJI and for the Chinese Communist Party to surveil the United States with these drones," he says. "And because of that possibility, the United States should not be using these drones."
In 2019, the U.S. Interior Department grounded all of its drones over security concerns related to China. Chang believes our government should do the same thing now with any Chinese-made drones. "We've got to do this," he says. "This is a failure of political will, this is a failure of strategic vision."
"The Chinese have to be laughing at us, that we allow them to see everything the FBI sees and everything the Secret Service sees," Chang continues. "This is incomprehensible."