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Police and State Patrol officers in Minnesota, Minneapolis on May 29. Photo: Steel Brooks/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Customs and Border Protection sent a drone into Minneapolis on Friday to take live footage of protestors at the request of federal law enforcement, a CBP spokesperson told Axios.

What's happening: Demonstrations have surged in the city for three days as people protest and mourn the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after at least one police officer knelt on his neck on Monday. Protestors set fire to a Minneapolis police station on Thursday night.

Details: The aircraft, as first reported by Vice, was identified as an unmanned predator drone by an investigative reporter with The Project on Government Oversight.

  • It was launched from the Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota and later returned there, after law enforcement deemed it no longer necessary, the spokesperson said.
  • CBP did not clarify why officers found the drone unnecessary or which agency requested it.

What they're saying: CBP said its Air and Marine Operations division "routinely conducts operations with other federal, state, and local law enforcement entities to assist law enforcement and humanitarian relief efforts.

  • “No government agency should be facilitating the over-policing of the Black community, period. And CBP has no role in what’s happening in Minneapolis at all," Neema Singh Guliani, a senior legislative counsel for the ACLU, said in a statement on Friday. "This rogue agency’s use of military technology to surveil protesters inside U.S. borders is deeply disturbing, especially given CBP’s lack of clear and strong policies to protect privacy and constitutional rights."
  • "We need greater restraints on government use of sophisticated technologies to spy on the public. This is not the moment to expand such spying," Adam Schwartz, an EFF senior staff attorney, told Axios.

Go deeper... In photos: Protests over George Floyd's death grip Minneapolis

Go deeper

Mark Meadows: "Most of Donald Trump's America is peaceful"

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows argued Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that "most of Donald Trump's America is peaceful" and that the violence that the Trump campaign has so frequently highlighted as part of its "law and order" message is in "Democrat cities."

Why it matters: One of the main themes of last week's Republican convention was that scenes of violent protests and crime are what America will look like under a Joe Biden administration. Biden shot back on Thursday, saying: "The violence we’re witnessing is happening under Donald Trump. Not me. It’s getting worse, and we know why."

19 mins ago - World

Scoop: U.S. and Israel held secret talks on Iran "plan B"

Bennett and Biden. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney/Pool/Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel held secret talks on Iran last week to discuss a possible “plan B” if nuclear talks are not resumed, two senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time a top-secret U.S.-Israel strategic working group on Iran has convened since the new Israeli government took office in June.

50 mins ago - World

Scoop: Jake Sullivan plans to visit Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE next week

Sullivan. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

White House National Security adviser Jake Sullivan is planning to travel to the Middle East next week, including a stop in Saudi Arabia. He would be the most senior Biden administration official to visit the kingdom.

Why it matters: Sullivan's first trip to the region since taking office is expected to include stops in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, sources briefed on the plans tell Axios. All three countries are longtime U.S. partners who have faced some early tensions with Biden.