Alternately steamy and wholesome, raunchy and childlike, “Magic Mike” reveled in the glistening, undulating, six-pack musculature of the male body, focusing chiefly on that of its star, Channing Tatum.

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There was nothing pre-sold, focus-grouped or otherwise market-driven about it. The effect was twofold, making its sunnily optimistic portrayal of men inviting, and its basking in the female gaze all the more disarming.

There’s no way that a sequel could recapture that movie’s sense of dumb-bunny innocence. “Magic Mike XXL” is a more calculated, less spontaneous enterprise by definition, less a natural outgrowth than an evolutionary imperative, given the first film’s worldwide box office take of more than $160 million.

But writer Reid Carolin and director Gregory Jacobs — Soderbergh’s longtime first assistant director, who takes over the helm here — do their best to infuse the follow-up with the same bracing joie de vivre and old-fashioned bump-and-grind salaciousness. “Magic Mike XXL” tries mightily — if unsuccessfully — to match its predecessor’s stature as a camp classic, the epitome of trashy summer fun for the whole pansexual, polymorphously perverse, omni-libidinous family.

“Magic Mike XXL” is organized as a joy ride, with Mike joining his old Florida dance troupe, the Kings of Tampa, to perform one last barnburner of a show at a strippers’ convention before they disband to pursue various straight businesses. Tito (Adam Rodriguez) wants to open an artisanal frozen-yogurt truck; Tarzan (Kevin Nash) plans to be an artist; and Ken (Matt Bomer), now a Reiki healer given to meditation and sage-burning rituals, will presumably continue on his well-chiseled path to enlightenment. The drama, such as it is, lies in whether the guys can find the courage to throw out their antiquated costumes and routines and find something fresh for the “lay-deeze” they dance for.

Goodbye, Village People. Hello, 50 Shades.

The plot is as mechanistically structured as a case study in “Screenwriting for Dummies.” It’s less a story inhabited by fully realized characters than a loose conglomeration of smoldering, make-it-rain set pieces interspersed with forced dialogue about inner drag queens and sexual healing.

Granted, as in the first installment, there are examples of extraordinary dancing in “Magic Mike XXL,” and Tatum once again proves his bona fides as an actor of fine comic instincts. Unfortunately, many of the film’s best moments have already been revealed in the trailers, including Mike’s “Footloose”-esque welding scene and a cute little twirl he does after introducing himself to a woman named Zoe (Amber Heard), who has a tendency to pop up in the most random of places. Joe Manganiello, who plays a character named Big Dick Richie, appears in what might be the film’s most memorable scene, in which his character creates a one-man show of manscaped, gyrating mayhem for the benefit of an impassive convenience store clerk.

On their way from Florida to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for the annual strippers’ convention, the boys on the bus make all sorts of new friends, including Rome (Jada Pinkett Smith), the proprietor of a lurid den of debauchery, and a room full of divorcees swilling wine and complaining about the men they’ve just left.

Andie MacDowell plays the most talkative and sexually adventurous of that bunch, and her delivery of the word “day-um” when she unzips Richie’s vest is one of the funniest moments in “Magic Mike XXL.” Pinkett Smith also slips effortlessly into her role as a strip-club emcee who’s part tummler — “Is anyone not on birth control? Because there’s gonna be some grown-up woman (stuff) up in here tonight” — and part sinuous, sloe-eyed guide to the nasty side.

The climactic sequences of “Magic Mike XXL” — staged after the de rigueur montage of frantic rehearsals and last-minute glitter-throwing — feel perfunctory and, in all honesty, pretty lame, especially when each of the Kings of Tampa comes out for his one or two minutes of take-it-all-off glory. The big number is an ingeniously choreographed mirror routine featuring Tatum and franchise newcomer Stephen Boss, each of whom invites a woman in the audience to play with gymnastic, up-close-and-way-too-personal moves usually reserved for hot-sheet motels or cheesy honeymoon suites.

Earlier, Michael Strahan, playing one of Rome’s stars, slathers himself in oil to deliver a full-body massage. Donald Glover, as a baby-faced performer named Andre, coos impromptu ballads to a woman awkwardly pretending she’s not mortified. Ken sweeps up a shy housewife into a swoony lap dance while singing “Heaven.”

The often coarse but never cynical leitmotif of “Magic Mike XXL” is that Mike and his friends make it their life’s work to listen to women, cater to their wishes, embody their fantasies, banish their inadequacies and acknowledge them as queens, as Rome calls her customers — who pointedly come in all ages, races, shapes and generously proportioned sizes. As if he wasn’t endearing enough, Mike even refers to God as a “she.”

But for all of its exalting, sex-positive feminism, there are more than a few moments in “Magic Mike XXL” when the simulated mounting, thrusting, bumping and grinding look less like fun than the dutiful ministrations of scantily clad wage slaves, their female admirers concentrating, with similar determination, on keeping the dollars unfurling and their rictus-like smiles from flattening into bemusement or plain boredom. At the point when one lucky lady (sorry, “lay-dee”) is doused with copious squirts of chocolate sauce and whipped cream, it’s possible to wonder whether the filmmakers’ defense of female desire has slipped from devotion into patronizing caricature.

“What do women want?” was a question that even confounded Freud. Despite its admirable intentions, “Magic Mike XXL” hasn’t got a clue, either.

Two stars. Rated R. Contains strong sexual content, pervasive profanity, some nudity and drug use. 115 minutes.

Ratings Guide: Four stars masterpiece, three stars very good, two stars OK, one star poor, no stars waste of time.

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“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families and the people of Binghamton,” he said.

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Since then, Obama has issued statements or given speeches after more than 10 more mass shootings. His reactions have steadily grown more political, more emotional – and perhaps most notably, more resigned.

On Thursday, after a gunman killed nine people at at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, a visibly frustrated and angry Obama took to the podium at the White House to declare that our thoughts and prayers are no longer enough to stem the tide of mass shootings in America. But he offered little in the way of legislative solutions.

Here are six key moments in Obama’s evolution of how he talks about our nation’s gun violence.

1. Tucson: Avoid political rhetoric

Jared Loughner shot Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., and nearly 20 other people with a handgun on Jan. 8, 2011. Six were killed.

Obama eulogized the victims but warned against overtly political rhetoric.

“It’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds,” he said.

2. Aurora: Remember the victims

James Holmes entered a movie theater on July 20, 2012, shooting and killing 12 people and wounding 58.

After visiting the victims, Obama spoke about about how it’s important to remember the victims, not the shooter.

“My main task was to serve as a representative of the entire country and let them know that we are thinking about them at this moment and will continue to think about them each and every day,” he said.

3. Newtown: A call to action

Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother on Dec. 14, 2012, and then 26 people at a nearby school, mostly young children.

Newtown marked a shift for the president, who wiped away a tear more than once in public statements on the shooting. This was the first time he promised “meaningful action” to prevent another such event.

“We can’t tolerate this anymore,” he said. “These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.”

He later issued 23 limited executive actions on gun control and called on Congress to pass legislation. Four months later, a bill to expand background checks and ban assault weapons failed in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

4. Navy Yard: Resignation and American exceptionalism

Aaron Alexis entered a building Sept. 16, 2013, at the Navy Yard in Washington and shot and killed 12 people.

This was the first time the president let on that he was somewhat resigned on the fight for gun control. But it was also one of the first times he emphasized a now-common theme in his speeches about gun violence: No other advanced nation suffers mass shootings like the United States does. He repeated calls for action.

“It may not happen tomorrow and it may not happen next week, it may not happen next month – but it will happen,” he said. “Because it’s the change that we need, and it’s a change overwhelmingly supported by the majority of Americans.”

5. Charleston: Waving the white flag

Dylann Roof allegedly shoots and kills nine parishioners at a church in South Carolina on June 17.

June arguably marked one of Obama’s darkest moments on gun violence. He essentially waved the white flag on gun control, admitting there’s not a lot more he can do.

“(At) some point, it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively,” he said.

6. Oregon: Unfocused anger

A gunman kills nine and injures at least seven on Oct. 1 at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

Obama is officially angry at the state of America’s gun laws. He gave a speech at the White House on the evening of the shooting that only a president toward the end of his time in office could. He urged – almost pleaded with – people who support gun control to demand their politicians do something about gun violence. But it was also clear that he remained somewhat resigned when it comes to any immediate action.

“(T)his is something we should politicize,” he said. “It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic.”

Philip Bump contributed to this report.

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Grandmothers: They feed you, they spoil you, they constantly needle you about your relationship status.

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And, according to anthropologist Kristen Hawkes, they might be the driving force behind the evolution of much of human society.

Hawkes, an expert in human evolution and sociobiology at the University of Utah, is the author of several studies on the “grandmother hypothesis,” which asserts that many of the characteristics that distinguish us from our ape ancestors are thanks to the thoughtful care of our mothers’ mothers. In the latest, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, she and her co-authors explain how grandmothering is a crucial factor behind the spread of monogamy.

The ancient evolutionary explanation goes like this: When grandmothers started to help out with child rearing, they freed up mothers to have more children, more quickly. Those longer-lived grandmothers end up having more grandchildren, each of whom carried their genes for longevity, helping to increase the human life span. Longer lives and larger kin networks also made it more advantageous for men to mate with and protect a single women, so humans relationships became monogamous.

No wonder grandma is always asking why you aren’t married yet.

The chain of events that connects the existence of grandmothers to monogamous relationships is convoluted but compelling. It starts, Hawkes explains, with the Hadza people of northern Tanzania.

Hawkes began studying the Hadza in the 1980s. They are among the last hunter-gatherers in the world, and their way of life has persisted unchanged for tens of thousands of years. The fact that they eschew agriculture and continue to hunt and forage as their ancestors did makes their community a rare window onto human’s prehistoric past, Hawkes explained.

One of many things she and her colleagues noticed was that the older Hadza women were “these amazingly productive tuber diggers,” she said. “They gathered this really important food resource that little kids are just too little to be good at finding,” and then fed the tubers to the children.

The sight of grandmothers feeding children might seem mundane to those of us whose own grandmas insist on plying us with food whenever we visit. But for Hawkes, it sparked a “eureka” moment.

The presence of post-reproductive women is something of an anomaly in the natural world, where, as anyone who has watched a nature documentary can attest, the prime directive is to find food and a mate. Among primates, humans are the only species that continue to live beyond menopause. Since having children is what drives evolution, there’s no good evolutionary reason for women to live past their ability to reproduce — at least as far as nature is concerned.

Unless, as Hawkes suggests, it’s so those women can become grandmothers.

In a 1997 study in the journal Current Anthropology, she and fellow anthropologists James O’Connell and Nicholas Blurton Jones argued that long post-monopausal lifespans evolved as older women began to play a greater role in caring for young. If a grandmother was around to help out with her daughter’s children, the daughter was able to have more babies more quickly, rather than waiting until their older children were capable of caring for themselves (humans are also the only primates who give birth to a second child before the first is fully mature).

The longer a woman lived, the more grandchildren she was able to care for, meaning that the longest-lived grandmas had the most descendants and were best able to pass along their longevity genes. Over the course of millennia, this resulted in human lifespans that lasted decades past the point at which women were able to have children.

In 2012, Hawkes worked with an Australian statistician to develop a mathematical model for this process. They found that grandmothering could roughly double human lifespans from those of our closest ape cousins over the course of about 60,000 years.

Now Hawkes had humans living for far longer than they ever had before. She knew what the older women were doing — taking care of their grandkids — but what about the men?

Unlike women, male fertility doesn’t decline around age 40. This meant that human societies had far more fertile men wandering around, and not enough women for them to mate with. This was a big shift from the grandmotherless societies of our primate relatives, where fertile females usually outnumber males. (Biologically speaking, male creatures tend to spend more time hunting and fighting, and are therefore at a much higher risk of an untimely death.)

There are three ways that male animals, driven by biology to ensure the furtherance of their genes, can maximize their number of offspring: They can attempt to mate with as many females as possible, they can stick with one female and prevent other males from mating with her and they can invest time and resources in the offspring they already have.

Among most species, males opt for the first option, since a lady can only be pregnant and responsible for one batch of offspring at a time. That’s why bonobos, our closest relatives, have astronomical rates of sexual interaction.

But when the ratio of fertile adults is skewed towards men, playing the Don Juan can be a risky proposition. With increased competition for mates, “the advantage ends up going to guarding the woman you’ve got,” as Hawkes put it. Among the newly longer-lived humans, it became evolutionary advantageous for men to mate for life, devoting their time and energy to protect a single woman and her children. Thus, Hawkes and her colleagues argue in their PNAS study, the monogamous relationship was born.

Hawkes and other proponents of the grandmother hypothesis believe a whole host of other unique human qualities might stem from grandmothers: bigger brains (because longer lives result in bigger payoffs for time spent learning skills), complex communities (because of the switch from independent to cooperative child rearing), big game hunting (enabled by those big brains and big communities) even empathy (because large kin networks required that we evolve to respect and understand one another).

“It’s amazing when you start to take grandmothering into account, how much it can tell you,” Hawkes said. “It’s such a rich likely source for a lot of other activities.”

Not everyone agrees. The grandmother hypothesis is controversial in the world of anthropology. Many studies have argued that the evolutionary payoff for grandmothering is insufficient to account for the dramatic increase in human longevity. Others say that Hawkes’s emphasis on grandmothers disregards the fact that in many hunter gatherer societies, including the Hadza, men provide the vast majority of food for their young.

A competing theory on menopause argues that it stems from intergenerational conflict among women. In other species, like elephants, younger females suppress their fertility while older females reproduce, so as not to compete for help and resources. Menopause achieves the same effect, but in reverse.

But Hawkes believes that one reason the grandmother hypothesis sits uncomfortably with some scientists is that it turns much of what is assumed about human societies on its head.

The “standard textbook story” for monogamy, as Hawkes puts it, starts with nuclear families and long lasting pair bonds. If they were in it for the long haul, women were more likely to mate with good hunters, so larger, smarter communities developed, complete with kin networks,

“That ‘Ozzie and Harriet,’ ‘Leave it to Beaver’ story is one we all know so well,” Hawkes said, so it’s no wonder that anthropologists take it for granted.

But the grandmother hypothesis suggests that the monogamy isn’t quite so innate. Rather than being something fundamental to humans, Hawkes’s narrative has it developing over time — a response to the circumstances at hand, just like any other evolutionary adaptation.

It’s a less romantic account, perhaps, but it might be a more interesting one. Try asking your matchmaker grandma about it next time she calls.

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Nearly $4 out of every $5 raised so far on behalf of GOP White House contenders has gone to independent groups rather than the official campaigns.

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Outside groups have already amassed more than $235 million — more than four times the nearly $63 million raised collectively by the Republican field through June 30, according to reports filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission.

So far, the dynamic is different on the Democratic side, with 80 percent of the more than $80 million raised so far to support Hillary Rodham Clinton and her competitors flowing to their campaigns.

Clinton boasted the biggest campaign haul of any candidate, raising $47.5 million. Contributions under $200 made up nearly 17 percent of her total. That was in sharp contrast with Republican Jeb Bush: Just 3 percent of the $11.4 million he raised came from such low-dollar donations.

The lopsided war chests on the right underscore how the financing of political campaigns has been fundamentally rewired in the five years since federal courts loosened restrictions on political spending by corporations and rich individuals.

Those decisions triggered a rush of big donations and political operatives to independent groups that can accept unlimited donations, a trend that has dramatically accelerated this year. This election cycle has already seen bolder collaboration between super PACs and campaigns than previous races, as well as a proliferation of nonprofit groups aligned with individual candidates.

The 2016 elections are now poised to mark a tipping point: the first time outside groups outstrip the clout and resources of many campaigns.

“It’s pretty clear that the super PACs are playing an unprecedented role,” said Michael Malbin, executive director of the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute, which tracks political contributions.

“This whole development to me is staggering,” he said. “You’re in a fundamentally different system than 12 years ago or eight years ago.”

The huge pack of well-funded independent groups flanking the Republican candidates has fueled anxiety among party elders that the GOP is in for a drawn-out, bloody primary fight — one that could possibly roll into the nominating convention in July.

“It could end up with the Republican vote split up in a lot of different ways,” said Ron Weiser, a former finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, who is neutral in the 2016 race. “No one is going to go away if they have a lot of money in their super PAC.”

“There are people who are concerned that this could end up a long and very extensive primary that could allow the opponent to gain substantial advantage,” Weiser added.

Bush is far ahead of his rivals in the money race with $119.4 million raised by various entities supporting his bid. In second place, Sen. Ted Cruz is being bolstered by $51.2 million raised by his campaign and aligned super PACs, while supporters of Sen. Marco Rubio have donated $45 million between his campaign, a super PAC and a nonprofit.

Strip away their outside allies and the top contenders are more evenly matched. Cruz, who jumped in the race first in late March, has raised $14.2 million for his campaign. Rubio pulled in about $12 million, while Bush collected $11.4 million in just two weeks as a declared candidate. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson is not far behind, with $10.5 million.

Bush donated $388,720 to his own campaign for “testing the waters” activities, covering travel, legal fees, polls and consulting done before he declared his bid in early June. Advocates for stricter campaign finance rules have argued that the former governor skirted reporting requirements by spending months traveling and raising money for his allied super PAC, all while maintaining that he had not decided yet whether to run.

Bush aides said Wednesday that his donation to the campaign showed that he was following the rules.

“Jeb 2016’s first report affirms what we have publicly stated over the past few months_that if Governor Bush engaged in any testing-the-waters activities that they would be paid for appropriately, and that if Governor Bush decided to run for office that any testing-the-waters expenses would be reported at the required time,” spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said in a statement.

All the expenditures are dated June 5, which was 10 days before he announced he was running.

Bush officials also announced Wednesday that he will release the names of the fundraisers bundling donations for his campaign by the next filing deadline in October.

For now, the campaign only disclosed the names of lobbyists acting as bundlers, as required by law, showing that eight raised a collective $228,400 for Bush during the second quarter of 2015.

The top bundlers were William Killmer of the Mortgage Banking Association, who raised $36,200; Dirk Van Dongen of the National Association of Wholesalers, who raised $33,900; and Ignacio Sanchez, co-chair of the lobbying practice at DLA Piper, who raised $32,400.

The former Florida governor received $176,850 from individuals who identified themselves as working in the banking industry, including $16,200 from people who work at his former employer, Barclays.

He received an additional $207,950 from people employed in finance or the financial services and $43,500 from those who work in private equity.

Bush’s rivals for the GOP nomination — even long-shot candidates lagging in the polls — were also able to tout big fundraising hauls, thanks to their outside allies. Former Texas governor Rick Perry raised just $1 million for his campaign, but has generated more than $16 million in super PAC money, largely from three wealthy backers. The biggest sum came from his campaign finance chair, oil pipeline executive Kelcy Warren, who donated $6 million.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who pulled less than $600,000 during his first official week as a candidate, will benefit from three different groups — a super PAC and two nonprofits — that have collected more than $8 million so far.

Brad Todd, the GOP strategist running the pro-Jindal Believe Again super PAC, said an expanding universe of donors has helped fuel the big takes.

“It used to be that once you went through the Bush ambassador list, you were at the end of the rainbow,” he said. “But there are people who are very engaged in this presidential contest who were never a Ranger or a Pioneer,” the titles given top bundlers for former president George W. Bush.

The biggest campaign haul in the second quarter was by Clinton, who pulled in $47.5 million in 2-1/2 months. Priorities USA Action, a super PAC backing her, raised another $15.6 million.

One of her challengers for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, also posted a strong showing, raising $15.3 million — the vast majority from small donors who gave less than $200.

The campaign is likely to use the larger-than-expected fundraising tallies, particularly his impressive haul among the grassroots, bolster the senator’s claim to speak for Democratic Party base.

But other contenders on the left lagged behind. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley announced he pulled in $2 million, while former Rhode Island senator and governor Lincoln Chafee reported that he had raised just $30,000 from donors, in addition to lending his campaign $364,000.

Several contenders — including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — declared their runs after the close of the last quarter, so will not file their finance reports until mid-October.

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Washington Post staff writers Jose A. DelReal, Rosalind S. Helderman, Catherine Ho and John Wagner contributed to this report.

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The presidential executive order would force the Pentagon, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to reveal more details about the size and surveillance capabilities of their growing drone fleets — information that until now has been largely kept under wraps.

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The mandate would only apply to federal drone flights in U.S. airspace. Overseas military and intelligence operations would not be covered.

President Barack Obama has yet to sign the executive order, but officials said drafts have been distributed to federal agencies and that the process was in its final stages. “An inter-agency review of the issue is underway,” said Ned Price, a White House spokesman. He declined to comment further.

Privacy advocates said the measure was long overdue. Little is known about the scope of the federal government’s domestic drone operations and surveillance policies. Much of what has emerged was obtained under court order as a result of public-records lawsuits.

“We’re undergoing a quiet revolution in aerial surveillance,” said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. “But we haven’t had all in one place a clear picture of how this technology is being used. Nor is it clear that the agencies themselves know how it is being used.”

Most affected by the executive order would be the Pentagon, which conducts drone training missions in most states, and Homeland Security, which flies surveillance drones along the nation’s borders around the clock. It would also cover other agencies with little-known drone programs, including NASA, the Interior Department and the Commerce Department.

Military and law-enforcement agencies would not have to reveal sensitive operations. But they would have to post basic information about their privacy safeguards for the vast amount of full-motion video and other imagery collected by drones.

Until now, the armed forces and federal law-enforcement agencies have been reflexively secretive about drone flights and even less forthcoming about how often they use the aircraft to conduct domestic surveillance.

Security officials are generally reluctant to disclose operational methods and techniques. But drones are in a special category of sensitivity, given the top-secret role they’ve long played in CIA and military counterterrorism missions. There’s also evidence that federal agencies simply have been unable to develop internal guidelines and policies quickly enough to keep up with rapid advances in drone technology.

“Federal use of drones has gone way up, but it’s hard to document how much,” said Jennifer Lynch, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based group that has sued the Federal Aviation Administration for records on government drone operations. “It’s been incredibly difficult.”

Even Congress has struggled to uncover the extent to which the federal government uses drones as a surveillance tool in U.S. airspace.

In March 2013, lawmakers directed the Defense Department to produce a report, within 90 days, describing its policies for sharing drone surveillance imagery with law-enforcement agencies.

Eighteen months later, the Pentagon still has not completed the report. Air Force Lt. Col. Thomas Crosson, a Defense Department spokesman, said officials hoped to provide an interim response next week and a full version “in the coming months.”

Department of Justice officials have also been reluctant to answer queries from lawmakers about their drone operations. The FBI first disclosed its use of small, unarmed surveillance drones to Congress in June 2013 and subsequently revealed that it had been flying them since 2006.

The Justice Department Inspector General reported last fall that the FBI had not developed new privacy guidelines for its drone surveillance and was relying instead on old rules for collecting imagery from regular aircraft.

Since then, Justice officials have said they are reviewing their drone surveillance policies but have not disclosed any results. An FBI spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

The FBI has resisted other attempts to divulge details about the size of its drone fleet and its surveillance practices.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a nonprofit group that pushes for transparency in government, sued the FBI last year under the Freedom of Information Act for records on its drone program. Although the FBI has turned over thousands of pages of documents, many have been redacted or only provide limited insights.

“They’ve been dragging their feet from the outset, and it’s been enormously frustrating,” said Anne Weismann, CREW’s chief counsel. “I don’t know if it’s because they don’t want to expose the fact that they’ve been operating without any clear guidance or if they just don’t like to talk about it.”

Another section of Obama’s draft executive order would instruct the Commerce Department to help develop voluntary privacy guidelines for private-sector drone flights. The intent is to shape non-binding industry standards for commercial surveillance instead of imposing new regulations by law.

The executive order is an attempt to cope with a projected surge in drone flights in the United States.

For years, the FAA has enforced a de facto ban on commercial drone flights and only permits government agencies to fly drones under tightly controlled circumstances.

Under a 2012 law passed by Congress, however, the FAA is developing rules that will gradually open the skies to drones of all kinds. The drone industry, which lobbied Congress to pass the law, predicts $82 billion in economic benefits and 100,000 new jobs by 2025.

On Thursday, the FAA approved requests from six Hollywood filmmakers to fly small camera-equipped drones on movie sets, the first time businesses will be allowed to operate such aircraft in populated areas. About 40 companies, including Amazon杭州桑拿会所,, have filed similar requests with the FAA. Amazon’s chief executive, Jeffrey Bezos, owns The Washington Post.

Federal lawmakers have introduced several bills in recent years to regulate the use of drones by law-enforcement agencies and strengthen privacy protections, but none has passed.

No department flies more drones than the Pentagon, which has about 10,000 of the aircraft in its inventory, from 4-pound Wasps to the 15-ton Global Hawk.

While many are deployed overseas, Defense Department documents show that the military is making plans to base drones at 144 sites in the United States. Pentagon officials have said they soon expect to fly more drones in civilian airspace in the United States than in military-only zones.

The Department of Homeland Security also conducts extensive surveillance with unarmed drones. Its Customs and Border Protection service has nine large Predator B models, which account for about three-quarters of all drone flight hours reported by federal civilian agencies.

Customs and Border Protection drones patrol a 25-mile-wide corridor along the nation’s northern and southern borders, as well as over the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.

Records obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation show that the border patrol has also outsourced its drones on hundreds of occasions to other law-enforcement agencies throughout the United States. Details of most of those operations remain secret.

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