WASHINGTON DC—On June 2, the Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to U.S. Capitol Police Chief, Thomas Manger demanding that the Capitol Police cease using drones made by DJI citing the threat they  are to the United States national security.

The USCP noted they halted the use of the Chinese drones made by Autel Robotics on May 30. Multiple reports indicate that the USCP was purchasing the DJIs by the thousands.

On May 24, 2017, from the Freedom of Information Action, the U.S. Department of the Navy reported that:

“Open source research indicates when the transmitter, tablet, or phone is connected to the web, images, video, and flight records could be uploaded to unsecure servers in other countries via live streaming or transmitted once the air vehicle is connected to a computer using the DJI assistant application. Overall the system should be considered highly vulnerable in the cybersecurity realm and employed accordingly.”

DJI is a Chinese drone manufacturer that uses high resolution optical and thermal cameras. The were banned in the United States in 2017 under former President Trump due to an ongoing threat to cybersecurity, and the possible link of the drones to the Chinese Communist Party.

Reports indicate that the widespread use of Chinese drones by the U.S. resumed soon after President Joe Biden took office.

DJIs were blacklisted in December 2021, due to their surveillance of Ulgher Muslims. The DJI company claims they manufacture military-grade drones and deny being a threat.

On July 14, 2022, the deputy assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, Brad Wiegmann testified before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee that the FBI is in fact purchasing and using drones from the DJI.

On April 5, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered that all Chinese-made drones be grounded due to a national security threat.

“U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Tom Cotton (R-AR) introduced the Countering CCP Drones Act to add Chinese Communist Party-affiliated drone company Da-Jiang Innovations (DJI) to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Covered List. The list identifies telecommunication equipment that poses a threat to America’s national security and bans it from U.S. communications infrastructure. Earlier this week, the Washington Post confirmed that the Chinese government is an investor in DJI, which supplies more than 50 percent of drones sold in the U.S., directly contradicting the DJI’s prior public statements,” reads a statement from Marcio Rubio’s website from February 2, 2022.

Congresswoman Elise Sefanik (R-NY) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Chinese drone maker DJI has repeatedly lied about its links to the Chinese Communist Party while collecting vast quantities of Americans’ data. The FCC should act immediately to further ban DJI by adding it to its Covered List,” said Rubio.