When the Air Force activated its first unmanned aircraft wing in 2007, the military invited journalists out to Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to come take a look at the robotic future taking off.
Today, that kind of openness would be unthinkable. The Air Force began to limit press access to Creech in 2009. In the last six months, they’ve closed it off almost entirely, turning down every American media request to visit the drone pilots. The only visit approved during that period was from a British outlet, involving Creech’s UK drone squadron, Air Force officials tell Danger Room.
Drones are the signature weapon in America’s wars, from Afghanistan to Yemen to Pakistan. Their employment has become one of the world’s most sensitive political issues. But, thanks to the near-blackout of the media, the public knows less and less about the drones — and the people who operate them.