A small Cessna Citation jet flying straight into Washington’s highly restricted airspace would typically be met with fighter jets on its wing. But when one flew over the nation’s capital on June 1 and circled the White House 20 times, it was hardly an accident.
The plane was only one of several aircraft — both piloted and unpiloted — that CNN has been able to track flying over protests in Washington, Minneapolis and Las Vegas. Government watchdogs fear the planes were used to track protesters and perhaps capture cell phone data.
The government’s use of surveillance planes to watch over those protesting the police killing of George Floyd has captured the attention of nearly three dozen Democrats in Congress who want to know whether the planes — typically equipped with live video cameras and heat sensors — were used for “surveilling of Americans engaged in peaceful protests.”