Congressman Biggs Investigating Biden Administration’s Media Drone Ban From Border

Congressman Biggs Investigating Biden Administration’s Media Drone Ban From Border

By Corinne Murdock |

Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) and the rest of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform are probing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decision last fall to ban media outlets’ drones from flying over the southern border.

On Monday, the committee announced that its ranking member, Congressman James Comer (R-KY-01), sent a response letter to FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. According to their press release, “heavily redacted documents” provided by the FAA in response to an initial committee letter revealed that an FAA headquarters manager believed that banning drones would be illegal initially. However, an “unknown U.S. Customs and Border Protection official” called the manager and convinced that person to change their mind.

“The FAA’s decision to abruptly reverse course on the legality of banning media drones raises questions about potential political interference at the agency to hide President Biden’s border crisis from the public,” read the letter. “That telephonic or other assistance apparently changed FAA’s opinion on the legality of issuing a TFR. Ultimately, the TFR was issued later that evening, raising concerns about its legality and FAA’s rationale for changing its position. These emails call into question FAA’s conduct, particularly where a TFR may have been issued improperly and for the purpose of disrupting media attention related to the border crisis. The American people have a right to transparency when it comes to President Biden’s failed border and interior enforcement policies.”

The FAA first announced its ban in mid-September of last year. At the time, media outlets were informed that the ban was a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) of two weeks. It’s now been a little over six months. 

However, the FAA reversed course again after some resistance from the media. Fox News received clearance to fly its drones the next day. In a later tweet, the FAA encouraged other outlets to apply for clearance. An FAA spokesperson later told Fox News that Border Patrol requested a temporary flight restriction because drones were interfering with those flights made by law enforcement.

The ban occurred after media outlets filmed the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants crossing the Del Rio, Texas area of the border, especially focusing on those huddled under a bridge. 

The committee requested more documents from the FAA pertaining to all documents and communications referring or relating to the day of the TFR, unredacted copies of the emails given to the committee, documents and communications from Biden’s inauguration to present regarding the legality of issuing the TFR, and an explanation of the legal basis relied on by the FAA to issue the TFR.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

FAA Concerns Stalls 5G Rollout Planned For December

FAA Concerns Stalls 5G Rollout Planned For December

By Terri Jo Neff |

Companies in metropolitan areas which have been awaiting 5G cell service will see a bit of a delay now that AT&T and Verizon have put the introduction of some 5G networks on hold until Jan. 5 due to concerns identified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this month.

5G networks, which have been deployed globally since 2019, have greater bandwidth and higher download speeds than 4G systems, making such networks more desirable for use as internet service providers for desktop and laptop computers. Most of the 5G services in the United States will utilize the C-band range is 3700 to 3980 MHz.

AT&T and Verizon are two of the biggest wireless carriers utilizing C-band frequencies for their 5G offerings, with Verizon expected to have nearly 8,000 C-band sites by the end of this year to support its dozen or so C-band compatible 5G devices. But the companies have elected to put off their planned Dec. 5 launch for one month after the FAA expressed concern last week about interference with airplane safety systems.

The FAA went so far as to issue a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) for aircraft manufacturers, radio altimeter manufacturers, operators, and pilots, noting concerns with the forthcoming deployment of 5G wireless broadband networks in the C-band, as well as suggested actions to mitigate any interference with radio altimeters which mostly operate between 4200 and 4400 MHz.

According to the information bulletin, the aviation community needs to remind passengers that all portable electronic devices in checked baggage (including smartphones and other devices) should be turned off and protected from accidental activation and that all portable electronic devices in the cabin and any carry-ons be set to a non-transmitting mode or turned off.

In the meantime, the FAA continues to collaborate with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration “to assess the need for mitigation beyond the recommended action in this SAIB,” the agency said.

The FAA’s SAIB also notes that while wireless broadband deployment has been undertaken in many countries from 3300 to 4200 MHz, it has not gone above 3700 MHz in the United States. So far there have been no reported issues with radio altimeters, according to the FAA.

However, 5G will be initially phased in across the United States between 3700 to 3800 MHz in 46 markets. That is why the FAA is currently conducting a risk assessment as to whether further recommended actions are warranted.