The explosion of unmanned aerial surveillance drones by the government is paying dividends for law enforcement authorities and yet exacerbating angst over terrorist attacks from within, air traffic safety and the risk of "eyes in the sky" over law-abiding citizens.
At least 106 agencies across the country have permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate 207 drones - numbers that are expected to increase as the FAA speeds approval of low-flying drones into the U.S. aviation system by 2015, as required by Congress.
Drones have been a game changer in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as providing real-time surveillance of the U.S.-Mexico border, but their proliferation has prompted concerns mainly over national security.
Last week, a suspect in Boston agreed to plead guilty to federal charges involving a plot to fly remote controlled aircraft loaded with explosives to collapse the dome of the U.S. Capitol and attack the Pentagon.
Texas Republican U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul has summoned experts including, Texas' Montgomery County Sheriff Randy McDaniel and University of Texas-Austin engineering professor Todd Humphreys, to testify Thursday before his oversight and investigations panel within the House Committee on Homeland Security.