The Wall Street Journal: Death by drones? U.S. officials weigh security threat

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Drone industry and law-enforcement officials are struggling to find common ground over expanding flights and protecting public safety, a debate thrust into the public spotlight by a reported assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

The Federal Aviation Administration is projecting a fourfold increase, from more than 110,000 currently, in the number of commercial drones flying in U.S. skies in the next five years. U.S. law-enforcement officials, however, want to delay widespread operations until reliable defensive systems are developed.

Saturday’s attack with unmanned aircraft in Caracas was a reminder for the drone industry and U.S. government officials over the potential security threats even readily available commercial drones can pose.

Venezuelan authorities said a pair of explosive-laden drones carrying a total of about 4 pounds of plastic explosives were part of an unsuccessful assassination attempt during an outdoor ceremony in Caracas, with one of the vehicles detonating after government jamming devices knocked it off course. Mr. Maduro was unharmed, but seven soldiers were injured.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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