I wonder if the government is going through our lingerie drawers when we’re out of the house.
That’s about the only thing they seem to be missing in their zeal to pry into what Americans are doing.
We all know about the government scooping up our cell phone calls and emails. We also know that they monitor our bank accounts to see if we withdrawing our money in suspicious ways. It’s even a federal crime to withdraw your own money from your own bank account in a “structured way.” You don’t have to commit any other crime. All you have to do is withdraw your own money from your own account in the wrong way.
Now it turns out that the FBI hires fleets of airplanes from dummy companies that it’s created to fly surveillance over Americans. The FBI says that these planes are “not equipped” to fly surveillance over me and thee. They are, rather used for “operational” activities.
So, we have a question, and that question is, do we believe the FBI?
Is this is all shades of Cold War spy stuff turned on the American people? Is the FBI running a U2 spy plane deal like those our country once flew over Communist countries?
We did that because Communist leaders said things like “We will bury you,” to America, and they had the bomb and an air force and missiles and a navy and World War II had proven they knew how to fight.
Is the FBI now running the same kind of surveillance on little old us?
If the FBI turns out to be engaging in a U2 scenario against the American people — and given what we already know the government is doing to us, that’s a fair question — I can’t help but wonder which American managed to scare the government so badly that it is so afraid of its citizens.
Our government is increasingly an isolated bubble of group think whose decision-making positions are held by graduates of a few schools and members of a few think tanks and organizations who all know one another. They are as separated from the American people as a lone fisherman, living on the banks of the Amazon.
They not only don’t know anything about the people of this country, they have contempt for us. If you doubt that, just replay a couple of the comments made by President Obama and Governor Romney in their respective campaigns. If you take them at their words, you can only conclude that We the People are a bunch of unwashed ignoramuses to both of them.
They not only have contempt for us, they are, if all this surveillance means anything, afraid of us.
The real question here is does law enforcement exist to enforce the law and maintain the pubic safety in the interests of domestic tranquility, or does it exist to control the American people? If it turns out that the FBI really is surveilling the American people, U2 style, then I think the answer is clearly the latter.
From the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON (AP) — 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. The FBI said it uses front companies to protect the safety of the pilots and aircraft. It also shields the identity of the aircraft so that suspects on the ground don’t know they’re being watched by the FBI.
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.
The FBI also has been careful not to reveal its surveillance flights in court documents.
“The FBI’s aviation program is not secret,” spokesman Christopher Allen said in a statement. “Specific aircraft and their capabilities are protected for operational security purposes.” Allen added that the FBI’s planes “are not equipped, designed or used for bulk collection activities or mass surveillance.”
But the planes can capture video of unrelated criminal activity on the ground that could be handed over for prosecutions.
Some of the aircraft can also be equipped with technology that can identify thousands of people below through the cellphones they carry, even if they’re not making a call or in public. Officials said that practice, which mimics cell towers and gets phones to reveal basic subscriber information, is rare.
Details confirmed by the FBI track closely with published reports since at least 2003 that a government surveillance program might be behind suspicious-looking planes slowly circling neighborhoods.