The FBI’s Secret Air Force

In the same week that a federal appeals court ruled that the once-secret National Security Agency (NSA) program that is systematically collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is illegal because it violates the Patriot Act, an alert citizen has forced the FBI to reveal information about its secret air force – an air force that it uses to monitor Americans all across the country.

Friends, whether you believe the ever-increasing surveillance of Americans is good or bad, you need to know how it’s being conducted.

And to know how it’s being conducted we must look behind the headlines – or the stated purpose for the surveillance – and think about how a rogue government can turn its power on perfectly innocent American citizens.

So let’s take a look at this latest revelation and I’ll leave it up to you to decide if this form of surveillance is in keeping with a free society.

As reported by Ars Technica in “The FBI’s secret air force watched the streets of Baltimore”:

As tensions eased and protests continued this past weekend in Baltimore, a small squadron of aircraft circled neighborhoods affected by the riots and other violence of April 27—providing Baltimore City Police with an eye in the sky to monitor the protests and other “possible criminal activity,” as an FBI official told the Washington Post.

These aircraft (or at least some of them) were part of the FBI’s secret surveillance air force—small planes with sensors perfected for battlefield intelligence in Iraq and Afghanistan that have quietly seen service all over the country. The aircraft, equipped with high-definition day and night surveillance systems, gave police a way to spot curfew-breakers on the streets from the sky.

In a response to an inquiry from Ars, an FBI spokesman said, ‘During the recent unrest, the FBI provided aircraft to the Baltimore Police Department for the purpose of providing aerial imagery of possible criminal activity. The aircraft were specifically used to assist in providing high-altitude observation of potential criminal activity to enable rapid response by police officers on the ground.’ The spokesman added that the flights ‘were not there to monitor lawfully protected first amendment activity, and any FBI aviation support to a local law enforcement agency must receive high level approvals.”

[Question. If the FBI was monitoring constitutionally protected activity, do you think it would admit to doing so?]

The article continues:

While the FBI acknowledges the existence of its surveillance fleet, the ownership of these small, unmarked aircraft is well-obscured for operational security reasons. They seldom post flight plans, with records for the aircraft seen over Baltimore having only reported flights last month in Virginia and Florida. The planes, some of which were spotted flying low over the city by residents and tracked by flight watchers on the Internet, are registered to a collection of aircraft leasing corporations and shell companies to hide their true purpose from prying eyes.”

After giving some specifics on the planes, the article reports:

There had been speculation that these aircraft carried advanced digital surveillance gear from Persistent Surveillance Systems, a company that has previously conducted testing in Baltimore as well as Dayton, Ohio and other cities. But given the time of day, and the FBI’s acknowledgement of its aircraft support for Baltimore police, these aircraft likely carried stabilized forward looking infrared and electro-optical sensor systems similar to those purchased by the FBI in 2010 from L-3 WESCAM explicitly for mounting on Cessena aircraft—and from the same family of hardware that the Army has been evaluating for the Apache attack helicopter. These sensor-equipped planes have shown up all over the country in the past few years, apparently as part of law enforcement operations.

Ok. Let all of that information sink in a bit.

I realize that many folks may think it’s great that the FBI was flying secret recon missions over Baltimore. I also realize many folks blindly trust the government to do the right thing.

But I also realize that many of us are very concerned about the direction of the government in recent years and are becoming more concerned about how technology can be used against even the most patriotic of Americans if a rogue government decides to do so.

So friends, as a reminder, if you are concerned about the direction of our country, please join me at the Self-Reliance Association where we share detailed and invaluable information with our members every week and we maintain a library of resources that you can’t find anywhere else.

To learn more about the Self-Reliance Association, please click HERE.

Be safe, secure and free!

Rob Douglas – Security and Self-Reliance Expert

PS: If you’d like to read the entire article cited above, please click HERE.


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