PORTLAND, Ore. — The U.S. Marshals Service confirmed it flew a small aircraft over downtown Portland on June 13 and took photographs of protesters below.
In a letter responding to concerns by Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), the Marshals Service explained the agency flew a single engine Cessna Caravan for 1.5 hours over the Multnomah County Justice Center and Mark Hatfield U.S. Courthouse.
“The aircraft is equipped with an imaging system (aviation electro-optical and infrared camera) that gave better situational awareness to the small number of deputies who were defending the federal courthouse during a time of great uncertainty,” wrote William Delaney, of the Marshals Service office of congressional and public affairs.
FAA records for the aircraft, obtained by KGW, show the aircraft has been altered and is equipped with sophisticated technology.
Delaney said cell site simulators were not used during the flight.
The Marshals Service provided an example of an image taken by the aircraft. The agency said still images showed indistinct heat signatures with no physical characteristics, biological identifiers or personally identifiable information. No videos were recorded, and the collected images were not shared with any other agencies.