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)
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.

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.

Latest News
Change to Commenting Permissions Starting May 1st

Beginning May 1, 2021, the option to comment on an article will be reserved only for TPM members. Non-members and those with free accounts will still be able to read comments both past and present, but will no longer be able to participate.

We hope that dedicated participants in the comments will join us as members, and want to make it as easy as possible for you to to so. We are offering 40% OFF an annual Prime membership to TPM readers with commenting accounts.

40% Off an Annual Prime Membership

We also offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: