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.”
Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Leave a Reply