Look up in the sky, it’s the F.B.I.

That plane you see in the sky? It’s possible that it’s the F.B.I. An investigation by the Associated Press has revealed that the F.B.I. has over 100 secret planes in the United States. The F.B.I. uses the planes for covert surveillance operations.

According to the Associated Press, the FBI operates a fleet of undercover planes equipped with video cameras, some of which can also gather cell phone data. The FBI says these flights target suspected criminals, and that a warrant is not necessary in most cases.

Well that’s not alarming at all.

The spy planes were used in 11 states and over 30 cities. The F.B.I. tried to keep their planes secret by registering the aircraft with the FAA under fake corporations. Anyone who looked up the tail number in the FAA database would find a non-descript company such as “NG Research” and then dead-end at a P.O. Box address.

The Associated Press started investigating after reports of a plane over Baltimore drew curiosity and suspicion.

The FBI program has come under scrutiny recently after Baltimore citizens noticed a suspicious pair of planes circling over the city following the protests over the death of Freddie Gray, an African-American man, in police custody. The FBI has said it provided aircraft to the Baltimore police to provide “aerial imagery of possible criminal activity.”

Another day, another concerning story about possible privacy violations in the U.S.


[PBS] [The Hill] [Image via Associated Press] [Image via Andrew Harnik/Associated Press]