Sunday, October 24, 2021

The FBI’s controversial surveillance plane isn’t being used any more

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The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation was selling its Endeavor surveillance plane, which had been used to gather intelligence on Black Lives Matter protests and other “violent crimes,” the Inspector General’s Office revealed in a report published on Tuesday. The plane, which is currently being flown by the FBI, can be used for surveilling locations such as prisons and schools, according to a fact sheet on the FBI’s website.

In September 2016, the Inspector General recommended that the FBI return the three-engine Boeing-made aircraft, which seats up to 16 passengers, to the Government Accountability Office, for its analysis. “In this situation, upon receipt of the aircraft, we found significant concerns with the FBI’s complete cost recovery analysis,” the report reads. “On 10 occasions the FBI either provided inaccurate descriptions of the aircraft’s capabilities, used incomplete and inaccurate cost recovery figures, or failed to fully assess the significant benefits of the aircraft program before making a final award decision.”

Under the department’s rules, the FBI was required to disclose to Congress how much it paid for the plane. According to the Inspector General’s report, which may date back as far as 2015, the FBI paid $47.2 million to acquire the plane, and though it returned $28.3 million to the Department of Defense, the rest of the bill is still unpaid.

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