The Washington Times
The U.S. Capitol Police will begin fielding military surveillance equipment as part of sweeping security upgrades as the police force pivots towards becoming “an intelligence-based protective agency” following the Jan. 6 attack. Defense Secretary Loyd Austin recently approved the Capitol Police’s request for eight Persistent Surveillance Systems Ground – Medium (PSSG-M) units. The system provides high-definition surveillance video and is enabled with night vision. The system does not include facial recognition capabilities, according to the Pentagon. “This technology will be integrated with existing USCP camera infrastructure, providing greater high definition surveillance capacity to meet steady-state mission requirements and help identify emerging threats,” the Pentagon said. The technology, originally used by the U.S. troops during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, allows the user to monitor large areas 24/7 through extremely high-resolution cameras. The deployment of battlefield technology heightened fears among some privacy-rights advocates that the Capitol Police are getting into the business of spying on Americans. In a wartime application, the persistent surveillance units were mounted on tethered blimps. The data could be stored, combined with sensor data from other platforms, and later referenced or rewound to track individuals or groups. It could be used by the military to develop a “pattern of life” analysis on suspected enemy combatants or intelligence targets in war zones. It could determine, for example, who was responsible for placing an improvised explosive device.