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'Glenn Beck': Spy Drones to Patrol U.S. Skies?

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," June 16, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, GUEST HOST: Since taking office, President Obama has expanded the use of drones in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to aid our military. But now, the FAA is under pressure to approve the use of unmanned spy vehicles here in the United States.

Will that put Americans under a government-monitored microscope? Let's ask Wayne Simmons, former intelligence operative and Jacob Hornberger, the founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.

Gentlemen, welcome here. Wayne, to you first. Do drones work? And what do they do when we use them in Pakistan or Afghanistan or Iraq?

WAYNE SIMMONS, FORMER INTELLIGENCE OPERATIVE: Hi, Judge. Yes, they absolutely work. We have — we have actually, judge, second generation platforms now called multi-platform technology.

We can actually put a dirigible up that can stay up about seven days from about 20,000 feet over virtually any type of war zone or any type of area and real-time view, the enemy coming at us from virtually any direction.

So I suspect that we can take that same technology, move it over onto the southern border or perhaps the northern border and use that to keep an eye on the bad guys trying to come across our border.

NAPOLITANO: But Jacob, the last time I checked, the military is not allowed to operate in the United States. The CIA is not allowed to operate in the United States. The right to privacy is still enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.

Question: Can the federal government put satellites in the sky, whether you call them drones or something else, to spy on us as we go about our daily business in this country?

JACOB HORNBERGER, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, THE FUTURE OF FREEDOM FOUNDATION: Of course not. And it's never going to be limited to just, quote, "the bad guys." You're talking about the continuing trend toward the militarization of the American society. Ad it revolves around things like the war on drugs that is a failed war that has gone on for some 30 years.

They're going to be using these drones to monitor backyards of people, to see what they're growing and what they're smoking. This is the road to "1984," Orwell's nightmare, judge.

NAPOLITANO: Wayne, should these drones be able to kill Americans who are in foreign countries whom the president has targeted even though the Constitution requires the government to arrest Americans, charge them with a crime and put them on trial?

SIMMONS: Well, that is certainly way above my pay grade, judge. It's a good question. It's a question that someone way above me is going to have to deal with at some time. But the bottom line is, I admire and respect Jacob and his work.

But I would suspect that he's just way off on this issue about spying on Americans on the southern border. That's not what this technology is for. It can be utilized only to spy on the terrorists that are at the border.

And we need that. We don't have a fence. We have don't have a wall. This can provide and go a long way to protecting Americans and our national security at the same time.

NAPOLITANO: Jacob, what is there to keep the drones just on the border? What is there to restrain local police from asking the feds to spy on somebody? Stated differently, isn't this the beginning or the likely beginning of a slippery slope to the government watching us wherever we go?

HORNBERGER: Of course. It's just the same concept that cameras on every street corner. Well, why don't we just put a camera on everybody's home and car? That will keep everybody really safe.

I came across an article — I don't know how reliable it is — but where a county in North Carolina has been using drones to monitor a motorcycle group at a fair grounds because they look suspicious.

This is the type of thing that inevitably happens when you have government having this kind of military type of power, judge.

NAPOLITANO: Wayne, you would agree that the drones and the government has no business spying on ordinary Americans. You would only support this if this were kept to the borders looking at people trying to get in.

SIMMONS: That is correct, judge. And listen, I work and battled way too long, for too many years to protect the rights and civil liberties of Americans. I'm not about to endorse anything or allow anyone, quite frankly, and would do everything in my power to prevent it to spy on Americans.

That's not what we do with this. And by the way, these are not — these drones not necessarily — would not necessarily be owned by the military. They would be private.

NAPOLITANO: Got it. Got it. Wayne Simmons, Jacob Hornerberger, thanks for joining us.

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