Fleet of Government Aircraft Flying Secret Missions over U.S. Cities

Sam Richards
2 min readMay 26, 2015


The Federal Bureau of Investigation under the United States Department of Justice is operating a fleet of at least 100 small aircraft and helicopters over cities nationwide. The aircraft have been registered to corporations that do not exist to veil the operation, and the true capabilities of these aircraft are not yet known, Freedom of Information Act requests have been received by the FBI and the North Star Post will publish the results. The flight patterns of the aircraft indicate they are likely collecting bulk surveillance. See examples from this investigation of similar flight patterns over New York City, Dallas, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Chicago, Seattle, and again, Baltimore.

Plausible Deniability

Tail number N912EX registered to ‘OBR Leasing’ flying unknown mission over New York City.

Registering the aircraft to fake companies, such as ‘FVX Research,’ ‘KQM Aviation,’ and ‘OBR Leasing’ allows the government to hide behind plausible deniability. Initially upon investigating the links between these “companies” and the Department of Justice seemed obvious. A search of aircraft registration in Bristow, Virginia for example shows many three-letter acronym companies and a couple aircraft registered explicitly to the Department of Justice. Then, searching the web for any traces that ‘FVX Research’ was a legitimate company proved fruitless. It was only a matter of time before someone put two and two together.

Nightmare Scenario

ARGUS Technologies. Image courtesy spie.org

Given the number of flights conducted by this fleet of aircraft within the last week and month, it is clear this is a large, widespread operation. Take what Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union describes as their nightmare scenario; “I wrote recently about ARGUS, the high-flying drone technology capable of capturing super-high-definition video of a 15-square mile area and automatically tracking all moving vehicles and people within that area. I pointed out that this makes possible our nightmare scenario for drones: wide-area mass surveillance and location tracking of entire cities and towns.” Speculation has arisen on social media that these aircraft could be equipped with ARGUS or similar technology as well as the equally controversial StingRay, cell-phone exploitation technology or variations thereof, which the Feds maintain tight secrecy around. Speculation will only give way to facts once Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests delving into the matter are returned and examined.

The extent of these revelations should be alarming to anyone who has been paying attention to the growing web of surveillance and national security in the United States. It seems for now that we will have to wait patiently underneath a fleet of secret government aircraft.

FFI — http://pastebin.com/Nn24PSHh



Sam Richards

Investigative reporter for The Intercept, Vice News, Unicorn Riot, North Star Post, elsewhere. Particularly focused on government surveillance. Send news tips!