The drones, which are produced by the Chinese company DJI, are equipped with restricted areas, but those restrictions are easily reworked, and legions of the Chinese machines have been seen canvasing Washington D.C., according to Politico.
The swarm of foreign spy-bots has been covered in briefings in the Senate Homeland Security, Commerce and Intelligence committees, per three anonymous sources Politico cited.
Politico reported that “seven government officials, lawmakers, congressional staffers and contractors,” were interviewed with a guarantee of anonymity, because they are not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.
The horde of anonymous Capitol Hill wonks report that they do not believe that the Chinese government is overseeing the drones. But their foreign nature, and their mass proliferation in the nation’s capital obviously present significant national security risks.
DJI, however, has received funding from the Chinese government, and it has attempted to hide that fact.
“Any technological product with origins in China or Chinese companies holds a real risk and potential of vulnerability that can be exploited both now and in a time of conflict,” explained Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who is the vice-chair of the intelligence committee, and acknowledged that Chinese companies can be duplicitous.
“They’re manufactured in China or manufactured by a Chinese company, but they’ll put a sticker on it of some non-Chinese company that repackages it so you don’t even know that you’re buying it,” Rubio said.
Rubio explained that this deception is dangerous because “anything that’s technological has the capability of having embedded, in the software or in the actual hardware, vulnerabilities that can be exploited at any given moment.”