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.
Aerial surveillance represents a changing frontier for law enforcement, providing what the government maintains is an important tool in criminal, terrorism or intelligence probes. But the program raises questions about whether there should be updated policies protecting civil liberties as new technologies pose intrusive opportunities for government spying.
U.S. law enforcement officials confirmed for the first time the wide-scale use of the aircraft, which the AP traced to at least 13 fake companies, such as FVX Research, KQM Aviation, NBR Aviation and PXW Services. Even basic aspects of the program are withheld from the public in censored versions of official reports from the Justice Department's inspector general.
What this means is that when the aircraft is flying, the FBI has a -complete- record of where every cellphone in range is, second by second. They have a matching video record. They can track the comings and goings of vehicles for hours, even days depending on how long they had aircraft overhead. Most important, they are trying very hard to stonewall any inquiry into this effort.
But now, -finally- the Associated Press has decided This Is A Story, so now of course its Important and not the tinfoil hatted ravings of some random blogger asshole called The Phantom.
Ask yourselves this question, my friends: What kind of government feels the need to know the exact whereabouts and activities of every single goddamn person in a large city, 24/7/365?
Answer is, obviously: A nervous one.
More to the point my American friends, YOUR government feels the need to know exactly where you are at all times, and they are spending stupendous amounts of money to do so. They track your phone calls, your cell-phone location, they do aerial surveillance, they track every single piece of mail that gets delivered to you, they have full unfettered access to your financial transactions, they have license plate readers on cop cars and static locations to track your vehicle. Plus I'm sure there's much more we don't know about yet.
Question two, what does the US government have to be so nervous about? Offhand, I'd say the bureaucracy is run by career psychopaths who know how precarious their sinecures really are, and who really want to crush any overt move to downsize their budgets. They are focusing on their true natural enemies, the Conservatives.
What makes me say that? I keep seeing stuff like this popping up.
The Department of Justice is concentrating on "far-right" groups in a new study of social media usage aimed at combating violent extremism.
The Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) awarded Michigan State University $585,719 for the study, which was praised by Eric Holder, the former attorney general, earlier this year.
"There is currently limited knowledge of the role of technology and computer mediated communications (CMCs), such as Facebook and Twitter, in the dissemination of messages that promote extremist agendas and radicalize individuals to violence," according to the NIJ grant. "The proposed study will address this gap through a series of qualitative and quantitative analyses of posts from various forms of CMC used by members of both the far-right and Islamic extremist movements."
The study draws more upon right-wing forums than upon the corners of the web inhabited by Islamist extremists.
As much as they are hell on blowing shit up and killing people randomly, the Mooslimb jihadinis are exactly zero threat to the Government Establishment of the USA. Some "little people" may get killed, but ISIS and all the other head choppers are no big deal to the USA. The Tea Party though, that's some serious business. The Tea Party could easily f- things up for all kinds of power brokers, sponge artists and other parasites of the American government just by cutting taxes.
Another clue is that even the FBI itself said in testimony that their ubiquitous surveillance systems are useless for catching jihadini weenies.
But if you want to keep track of 100,000 Tea Party types who show up for a rally on a Sunday afternoon, those systems are exactly what you need.
Western governments have decided that their own citizens are the biggest threat they face.
Take that thought under advisement, and consider it for the next little while.