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Congress: We Didn’t Know the FBI Was Creating a Small Surveillance ‘Air Force’

Errorcod3 sends a followup to last week’s news that the FBI is operating a fleet of planes across the U.S. for surveillance purposes. A new article in The Atlantic points out that Congress is claiming to have had little or no awareness the fleet was being built, and is asking for answers. Quoting:
Senator Charles Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, demanded to be briefed (PDF) no later than this week on “the scope, nature, and purpose of these operations and what legal authorities, if any, are being relied upon in carrying out these operations.” Sixteen House members wrote to the FBI (PDF), pointing out that the president had just signed a reform ending the bulk collection of phone records. “It is highly disturbing,” they wrote, “to learn that your agency may be doing just that and more with a secret fleet of aircraft engaged in surveillance missions.” They asked for the FBI to identify the legal theory used to justify the flights, the circumstances surrounding them, the technologies on the aircraft, the privacy policy used for data collected, and the civil liberties safeguards that had been put in place. Senator Al Franken has posed ten questions of his own (PDF) to the FBI.


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