FBI Fleet Of Planes Spy On Americans Across The Country

Casey Harper | Contributor

The FBI has a fleet of drones hidden behind fake companies that monitor American cities from the sky with video and cell phone surveillance technology.

The Associated Press investigation found that the FBI operates a fleet of small surveillance planes for investigations — usually without a judge signing off on it. In a 30-day sample period, the FBI flew over 30 cities in 11 states.

The program is largely kept secret. Officials keep mum and inspector general reports feature redacted or withheld documents.

The FBI says the technology is only for gathering intelligence and tracking criminal suspects or terrorists. But the surveillance easily picks up cell phone information and video footage of innocent people.

“The FBI’s aviation program is not secret,” Spokesman Christopher Allen said in a statement. “Specific aircraft and their capabilities are protected for operational security purposes.”

The U.S. Marshals have been known to operate planes with “dirtboxes,” devices that gather cellphone data. Reports that the FBI monitored the Baltimore riots from drones drew interest in the FBI’s use of the technology, but this investigation gives insight into the program’s broad scope.

Because it is so secretive, it is difficult to gather details about these programs. It is safe to assume, however, that they are used to some degree by every federal law enforcement agency.

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Tags : federal bureau of investigation
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