James Comey denies bureau’s planes are used for mass surveillance
FBI flights useful to police and public at times of ‘tremendous turbulence’
The FBI director, James Comey, said on Thursday that the agency used its aircraft above Ferguson, Missouri, last year at the request of local law enforcement to help keep track of unrest on the ground.
Comey did not go into details during a House judiciary committee hearing on Thursday, including how long the surveillance lasted.
But in response to questioning, he said the FBI uses airplanes during investigations of specific suspects in criminal, terrorism and espionage investigations and when local police request help during a “developing situation” or emergencies such as riots. He said the planes were never used for mass surveillance.
“We don’t fly planes around America looking down to see if somebody might be doing something wrong,” Comey told the panel.