FBI Flew Surveillance Aircraft 122 Times in 7 Days [Aug 25 – 31]
The Federal Bureau of Investigation flew 46 of 100 surveillance aircraft a total of 122 times during the seven day period of August 25th through the 31st. This is a high benchmark in the overall activity of the domestic spy-plane fleet.
The FBI, in speaking with the Associated Press, stated that these flights are “above the board.” With such a high number of flights, many times concentrated in the same States and cities across the U.S., that claim does nothing but placate those who wish to hear no more news of government surveillance.
Having a nearly omnipresent “eye (and ear) in the sky” above the Home of the Free, with no specific stated purpose, how are the American people to entrust that the FBI is not abusing the vast amounts of data scooped up by these flights? Secrecy surrounding the “StingRay,” a widely used cellphone surveillance technology; the known capabilities of very high resolution video surveillance; and the general unaccountable nature of all of the federal surveillance operations should spur people to question these spy aircraft.
Even in the most conservative estimates about the true nature of this program, for example; the aircraft are only airborne to conduct surveillance of “bad guys” (terrorism suspects, drug dealers, etc), the potential for mission creep and abuse of data on innocent Americans is incredibly high.
The FBI has yet to disclose what it does with the data vacuumed up by these planes, how long it is stored for, what type of judicial review or other oversight there is over the surveillance data collected, or many other details whatsoever.
The Post will continue hunting down information on this domestic surveillance operation in an attempt to at least crack the shell of secrecy and peak at what is being done in our name, with our tax dollars and over our heads.
For the sake of comparison, below is a map of the population density of the United States. Many of the flight paths of these aircraft “connect the dots” of population centers, there is almost an aerial highway of surveillance aircraft. Aircraft, for example, will fly a straight line up the Eastern seaboard, then back down later on. It merits questioning whether or not an aircraft performing such a flight has surveillance gear turned on during such a transitory flight, in which case, the number of Americans effected by this operation is much higher. This will be expanded upon in a later piece.