February 5, 2023

National security officials warn of growing number of drones flying over exclusion zone around Capitol in Washington, D.C.

These drones, made almost entirely in China, have become a serious concern for security and counterintelligence security.

Administration officials and lawmakers do not believe the drones are linked to foreign governments or attempting to breach the security of the U.S. Capitol. However, as consumer electronics become more advanced, the consequences of rapidly advancing technology could pose problems in the future.

Former military intelligence analyst: Biden administration’s purchase of Chinese drones ‘a threat to national security’

U.S. Capitol in Washington DC
(Samuel Kunlun/Getty Images)

An anonymous government contractor familiar with DC airspace regulations and safety told politician“Videos on YouTube can teach your grandparents how to update the software on one of those drones to make it undetectable and do a lot of other things — get rid of altitude caps, all kinds of things. If you’re Go to the store and buy a DJI drone and it won’t fly over airports or certain cities because of certain no-fly zones.”

“So any DJI-made product that we see in DC has been hacked or manipulated to fly in those areas,” the contractor added.

Federal agency buying Chinese drones previously seen as national security threat: report

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro+ drone is shown at CES 2017 in Las Vegas on January 6, 2017.

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro+ drone is shown at CES 2017 in Las Vegas on January 6, 2017.
(Reuters/Steve Marcus)

DJI, one of the most popular drone makers in the industry, requires buyers of its products to download proprietary software and provides users with their own map databases, which can potentially be monitored remotely.

However, DJI has previously been accused of working closely with the Chinese Communist Party.

Chinese President Xi Jinping All enterprises are required to maintain a team of party members and cadres, so as to “listen to and follow the party”.

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Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, state president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivers an important speech No. 1 at a meeting celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, the capital of China, July 2021.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, state president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivers an important speech No. 1 at a meeting celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, the capital of China, July 2021.
(Jupeng/Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images)

Beijing is also a direct investor in the drone company and maintains considerable influence in its operations.

In December, the U.S. government added DJI to the Treasury Department’s blacklist.

Fox News’ Chuck Flint and Joshua Q. Nelson contributed to this report.



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