Spring, Texas – March 21st, 2018: For approximately one week, a helicopter has been seen circling above the Spring area. The helicopter has spent an average of 3 hours and 45 minutes in the air each day, circling an area approximately 7 miles wide, between I-45 and David Wayne Hooks Airport, and between Spring Stuebner and Cypresswood Drive.
The helicopter, tail number N629ET, a 2012 Bell 407GX, is registered to a company in Bristow, Virginia under the name OTV Leasing.
Spring Happenings found this specific helicopter (N629ET) listed in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against the Department of Justice in 2017. The lawsuit claims that the aircraft, along with an entire fleet of fixed and rotor-wing aircraft, are being used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for surveillance purposes. It is assumed that the aircraft are registered to fictitious companies to hide the federal government’s involvement with their operations. The lawsuit also claims that the Department of Justice and FBI have wrongfully withheld information in response to FOIA requests, surrounding the use of these surveillance aircraft. The FBI provided the following response to a May 2016 Freedom of Information Act request:
“It is the FBI’s policy to neither confirm nor deny the existence of any records which would disclose techniques and procedures used for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions. Acknowledging these techniques and procedures invites the risk of circumvention of federal law enforcement efforts. Thus, pursuant to FOIA exemption (b)(7)(E) [18 U.S.C. § 552(b)(7)(E)], the FBI neither confirms nor denies the existence of the records for the aircraft tail numbers listed in [this] request.”
According to court documents, former FBI Director James Comey publicly testified before Congress that the FBI uses aircraft in “predicated investigations to conduct surveillance of people who are under investigation.”
Based on historical flight data obtained by Spring Happenings, the helicopter was used in operations above Washington, DC just prior to relocating to Spring.
We have reached out to the Houston FBI office for a statement but have not yet received a response.