FVX Research, KQM Aviation, Aviation and Nbr PXW Services. These are some of the company names – apparently “normal” – that were used for some operations of the FBI, especially for surveillance operations, conducted with the support of aircraft with sophisticated surveillance equipment that for months circled dozens of American cities. The fleet – hidden behind the name of companies that actually work for the US government – is made up of 115 aircraft; more than 100 flights were identified in 11 states over a 30-day period since late April, orbiting both major cities and rural areas.
The news came from the Associated Press, which conducted an investigation that lasted several months. “For decades the planes have provided support to FBI surveillance operations on the ground” admitted the spokesman Christopher Allen, adding that “the planes are not equipped or used for bulk collection activities or mass surveillance.”
According to the Washington Post these planes were used also during the protests in Baltimore, in the days when the protests of African American communities in the name of Freddie Gray – who died a week after his arrest for serious injuries to the spine – reached their peak. Furthermore, the planes would be equipped with particular technology capable of tracking thousands of cellphones. At the end of last year the Wall Street Journal revealed that cellphones of millions of Americans had been “bugged” by the US government looking for criminals. According to the US headline this technique had become fully operational since 2007 and Cessna aircraft had then been employed in over at least five large cities.
Translation provided by Maria Rosaria Mastropaolo