How a Former Enron Trader Brought Hi-Res Aerial Surveillance to Baltimore

HOW A FORMER ENRON TRADER BROUGHT HI-RES AERIAL SURVEILLANCE TO BALTIMORE Persistent Surveillance Systems sample screen captureA report from Monte Reel this week reveals that the Baltimore police department has been running a secret surveillance-by-Cessna program since January, with funding from the Houston-based Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the philanthropic organization owned by former Enron trader and Centaurus Advisors founder John Arnold and his wife. The couple, which has put funding toward causes ranging from pension reform to the KIPP charter schools to police body camera use studies, contacted Ross McNutt, whose company Persistent Surveillance Systems developed out of his plane-based surveillance projects intended to investigate roadside bombings in mid-2000s Iraq. After the company was featured by Radiolab, McNutt “got an e-mail on behalf of [the Arnolds, who] told McNutt that if he could find a city that would allow the company to fly for several months, they would donate the money to keep the plane in the air.  . . . ‘We settled in on Baltimore because it was ready, it was willing, and it was just post-Freddie Gray,’ McNutt says.” The plane, which can grab images over a 30-square-mile area, has been secretly flying over Baltimore for up to 10 hours per day, sending back photos at a rate of 1 shot per second. [Bloomberg] Capture of PSS law enforcement support system: Persistent Surveillance Systems

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