NYT: Air Force Watchdog To Probe Use Of Surveillance Plane On BLM Protestors

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators shooting tear gas next to St. John's Episcopal Church outside of the White House on June 1, 2020. (Photo by JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AFP via Getty Images)
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June 19, 2020 11:12 a.m.

The Air Force Inspector General will investigate the use of of surveillance planes to monitor Black Lives Matter Protestors in D.C. and Minneapolis earlier this month, the New York Times reported.

The probe will look at how and why the Air Force’s RC-26 aircraft — armed with electronic surveillance capabilities and high-powered cameras — was deployed to provide live footage to FBI and military officials.

The Times reported that the plane — which is typically used for missions like countering drug smuggling — was able to beam live, detailed video to FBI officials in Washington monitoring the protests.

One plane deployed to Minneapolis was flown by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), who has been tweeting angrily about the scandal caused by the use of military surveillance aircraft on U.S. citizens.

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The Times reported that “an elite Special Operations unit of the Pennsylvania National Guard” was deployed to Washington as well, to provide unspecified support to the plane’s mission.

The investigation comes as the D.C. national guard prepares a final report on the use of another military asset — helicopters — to buzz protestors in Washington on June 1.

Read the Times report here.

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