As expected, the mysterious low-flying planes circling above the Twin Cities and dozens of other metropolitan areas in the past few weeks belong to the FBI.
The FBI confirmed to The Associated Press the planes, which are registered under several different fake companies serving as a front for the government, are being used for specific "ongoing investigations."
There is concern these planes were being used for mass surveillance, but a spokesperson for the FBI told the AP that isn't the case. These planes were used in 30 cities in 11 states in a recent 30-day period, the AP says.
Read the full report here.
A lot of this information was previously reported by independent bloggers.
The plane that flew over Minneapolis likely had a specific target, MPR News reports. Minneapolis Airport Commission's flight tracker shows, in a seven-hour flight, it circled over Glencoe, Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park, then moved on to Bloomington before landing at Eden Prairie's Flying Cloud Airport.
Law enforcement and government officials maintain aerial surveillance plays an important role in criminal, terrorism, or intelligence probes, but this new technology has people concerned about government spying. The American Civil Liberties Union has raised these concerns over the past year and has asked for updated policies to protect people's privacy.
You can look up aircraft information if you have the call sign (also called "N-Number") using the Federal Aviation Administration's website. So punch in N361DB (the number for the low-flying plane above the Twin Cities) and you'll get this page, showing it's owned by LCB Leasing of Bristow, Virginia.