“A small plane flies near Manassas Regional Airport in Manassas, Va., on May 26, 2015.
The plane is among a fleet of surveillance aircraft by the FBI, which are primarily used to target suspects under federal investigation. Such planes are capable of taking video of the ground, and some _ in rare occasions _ can sweep up certain identifying cellphone data.” Photo credit: Andrew Harnik, AP
– “FBI behind mysterious surveillance aircraft over US cities”
“The FBI is operating a small air force with scores of low-flying planes across the country carrying video and, at times, cellphone surveillance technology – all hidden behind fictitious companies that are fronts for the government, The Associated Press has learned.
The planes’ surveillance equipment is generally used without a judge’s approval, and the FBI said the flights are used for specific, ongoing investigations. In a recent 30-day period, the agency flew above more than 30 cities in 11 states across the country, an AP review found,” quoting the AP’s Jack Gillum, Eileen Sullivan and Eric Tucker.