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FBI behind mysterious surveillance aircraft seen over U.S. cities

23 Comments
By JACK GILLUM, EILEEN SULLIVAN and ERIC TUCKER

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23 Comments
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Some of the aircraft can also be equipped with technology that can identify thousands of people below through the cell phones they carry

That tin foil hat might come in useful after all.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

This is insane. Absolutely insane.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

I don't mind.

It's how they sometimes misuse info that bugs me, especially prosecutorial and investigatorial misconduct.

If a prosecutor or investigator has done something so bad as to cause a judge to let a defendant go free (immediately or after years in prison), why aren't the prosecutors or investigators then put in jail?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I don't mind.

Really? You don't mind being recorded by the government without any reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime?

Alot of people like to talk about how oppressive life under a surveillance state was in East Germany was but America has surpassed this in every way imaginable. In both quantity and quality of private information. In East Germany the secret police kept files on where you lived, who your associates were, what you talked about, where you worked, how you spent your free time, what newpapers you read etc etc. This was all collected in huge paper records rather than data centers and just like in America most of it was never read and most people were never disappeared, but we still see this as one of the worst violations of people's basic human right of privacy in history. Just like in America, the East German government wanted to collect it ALL... just in case.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Must be great to trust your population so much that you want to spy on them with drones. Land of the free? My arse.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Well said @turbostat

@m3m3m3 So how else would you recommend catching criminals or terrorists without wiretapping or surveillance like this?? People complain a lot about invasion of privacy to which I agree to a certain extent but come up with some other good ideas to catch the terrorists then.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

@papigiulio

So how else would you recommend catching criminals or terrorists without wiretapping or surveillance like this??

Nothing wrong with wiretapping and surveillance after you have a reasonable suspicion and a warrant. They should be making an effort to specifically target the criminals/terrorists, not sweep everyone up like this.

Let's think about this logically for a minute...if they are flying in circles over a city trying to find a criminal or a terrorist, one thing is very clear; They don't have someone on the ground with eyes on their suspect is. Why? Probably because there isn't enough evidence or reasonable suspicion to justify that kind of man power. They are just building a bigger and bigger haystack which will amount to nothing. How many criminals or terrorists has this caught? They won't tell us, wonderful isn't it?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Americans people (and the rest of the world unfortunately) just face it. Your government is spying on you on every single way and is collection ALL of your possible data. They want to know every single detail. Nowadays with the smartphones and the social media most of you (and us not americans) are giving them served.

Off course they use these data many times to catch criminals and it does make it much more easier. The problem is that they catch only who ever they want. They also let away, while they can easily catch, many people who decide they should not be caught for their own reasons (rats, lobbies etc). The other problem is that they use these data whenever they want against people if they are on their way. They use these data to be always one step in frond on whatever their plans are to keep on ruling your country (and other countries). Many people in other countries get upset about that, but there are not many thing to do.

Americans though have the power to revolt and send them away. So its either you like it as it is. With such a powerful government that is capable for the good and for the bad. But please don't believe that you have freedom and also don't even dare to tell other countries that they are not democratic enough. Or you don't like it and fight to change it and become a little bit more democratic.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's only a matter of time before these craft are equipped with weapons to 'pacify' domestic 'terrorists' ..... the middle east is the training ground...

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Don't forget to invoice the suspects' families for information retrieval.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFlFIG22Y9E

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Totalitarian Police State.

There's no denying it anymore.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Anyone seen the 2012 Dredd movie? Drones flying over the city, used by the Halls of Justice to allow the Judges to operate remotely... now in 2015 the FBI are actually doing it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Not that it will make anyone feel better, but in the US it might not be long before more unarmed victims are shot dead by drones than by police.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Anyone who is not in a trance can see the US is being conditioned to accept police state tactics, decisions, and outcomes and it is accelerating. If liberals thought Bush was a fascist, Obama should keep them awake at night. Make no mistake: the charm, the smile, the hypnotic cadence of his speech is all just the tinsel to deflect attention from the hideousness beneath. He is Caligula 2.0 with a Twitter account.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

M3M3M3: Really? You don't mind being recorded by the government without any reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime?

No. If the government sucks in a vast quantity of data, exactly how should I worry the data will be misused?

Once in a while you hear of functionaries browsing the tax returns, arrest records, hospital records of celebrities. Sometimes fired or prosecuted.

Once in a while you hear of police going to the wrong house on wrong data, and shooting someone. So infrequently as to make major news when it happens.

Both of these are very infrequent and unlikely to happen to me. There are a lot worse and more frequent problems that do affect me. Public employees raiding the state piggy banks with able assistance of their lobbying organizations, keeping income and property taxes high, passing costs on to my grandchildren, retiring at 55 while the rest of us have to wait til 68. That affects me a lot more directly than the random chance of some dude browsing my personal info.

And why should I care? Especially if it helps regulate the criminal element and keeps more of them behind bars? Who wants MORE criminals out and about?

papigiulio: Well said @turbostat

Thanks :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I take warm comfort in having checked out of that hotel (being the u.s.) a few years back.

'and it must have both slipped my mind to sign the guest book and to make submission to the suggestion box at the counter.

But these things happen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

turostat: And why should I care?

I don't mind giving up certain freedoms in exchange for security, but I'm not going to give up freedoms for a program that isn't effective. Right now they seem to be collecting everything and sorting it out all later, if at all. It's the same with the TSA. I get that people want to blow up planes so you need to search for bombs and ban things, but if 95% of the contraband is getting through then what's the point of me even taking off my shoes?

Burning Bush: Totalitarian Police State.

Totalitarian police states don't have a 4th estate that can expose programs such as this. It's why Putin's first move was to curb press freedoms in Russia, and it's also why a lot of his critics tend to end up dead. On the other hand, the AP reporters who discovered this will most likely get awards.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just have warrants, and it'll all be legal

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Totalitarian police states don't have a 4th estate that can expose programs such as this.

Expose?

This should be headline news in US.

But it isn't

Most Americans within the US have no idea about this.

If if they do, there's absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Except maybe protest on the street in which case a US cop will bash in your skull with his baton and pepper spray you like your a cockroach.

Freedom, Democracy, Rule of Law.

Yeah right. That's all long gone.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well, let's see. It's on the front page of CNN.com. It's on the front page of Fox News.

Who told you to say that there is no coverage in the US?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Coverage or not, the point is that people can do nothing about it. Also in China people know censorship does exist, for example, but what really matters is if and how people can defend themselves from some government abuses. I think the difference between western democracies and totalitarian systems today is always more apparent than real.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Superlib: but I'm not going to give up freedoms for a program that isn't effective. Right now they seem to be collecting everything and sorting it out all later, if at all.

It's likely a classified program. What evidence of its effectiveness or lack thereof is available, other than the meanderings of some perennially-against-everything opinion writers somewhere?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's OK to use drones or planes to spy and bomb other countries, and most people don't seem to care... if the government flies a plane with a camera everyone loses their minds

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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