International Agents of Domestic Chaos
How the CIA Spies on Americans and Manipulates the Narrative
Officially and according to its 1947 charter, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is not permitted to spy on Americans or conduct intelligence-gathering domestically, but like with most things that the federal government does, these rules are made for breaking. Aside from the CIA allegedly having agents located in all fifty state capital buildings, if the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and National Security Agency (NSA) and others conduct espionage campaigns against Americans, surely the CIA does so as well. From its inception, the CIA has spied on Vietnam protesters (the government still hates anti-war demonstrations), and it does not want to just simply assassinate and spy on foreign leaders, manipulate election outcomes overseas, and overthrow unfavorable regimes. No, the agency has to monitor Americans and know everything that they are doing.
A little over a year ago, Senators Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich of the Senate Intelligence Committee helped to declassify a 2021 letter, which revealed bulk data collection by the CIA under the authority of Ronald Reagan’s Executive Order 12333 (if you are going to authorize unconstitutional acts, at least pretend to use republican methods and get it rubberstamped through Congress). If that were not bad enough, the CIA has “incidentally” collected financial data from Americans in its spying against the Islamic State (ISIS), and we must wonder how many records were under surveillance by an agency that is supposed to just have a foreign intelligence role.
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Edward Snowden revealed in 2013 the concept of the government forcing companies to hand over their records, particularly to the FBI and NSA, thus allowing the government to circumvent the Fourth Amendment and have access to Americans’ “papers and effects” without a valid warrant (even if a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, which almost always grants agents what they want, is asked for a “secret warrant,” it does not meet the Fourth Amendment requirement). Now, with these 2022 revelations, we know that the CIA illegally and unconstitutionally engages in similar actions. Yet, does anyone actually care that a surveillance state exists and that we are being spied on regularly by multiple agencies?
We know that the NSA and CIA engage in espionage operations in Europe, Central and South America, and Asia, targeting the countries of the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, India, China, Hong Kong, Germany (including former Prime Minister Angela Merkel’s personal phone), Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and others (including their embassies). Spying on allies seems to be routine intelligence gathering, as even Israel has targeted the United States, and of course, we should know that the United States spies on Russia and China, and vice versa. However, with collaborations between the United States and the United Kingdom, for example, programs, such as the Tempora operation carried out by the NSA and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to tap into fiber-optic cables and broaden surveillance, give the CIA a large network of global spying capabilities that can tap into the devices of any country and citizen. Would this not mean that the CIA could then ask a foreign intelligence agency to spy on Americans under routine operations, and under such an arrangement, have the findings handed over? The CIA would then bypass its legal limitation on domestic spying by utilizing foreign agencies, and the communications of all American could be monitored by the CIA, without legal ramifications. We should sleep tight at night knowing that the very intelligence agencies sworn to protect us from foreign and domestic enemies are actually the ones aggressing on us.
Equally concerning is the fact that the CIA provides the FBI with international data for the purposes of domestic law enforcement, and both agencies work in conjunction with one another, even pairing agents together. In Joint Terrorism Task Forces and Fusion Centers, which include elements of federal, state, and local governments; the CIA is very much involved. This is how federal terrorist issues trickle down to the states and local police forces, thus tainting the relationship between officers, who are supposed to engage in community policing, and the public. The CIA should not be engaging in domestic law enforcement operations or briefing local departments on threat assessments, and it should not be turning police forces into de facto wings of the federal government. Plus, do we naively believe that the CIA is not using some of the FBI’s or NSA’s data for its own purposes?
A few years ago, the Wikileaks “Vault 7” story was largely ignored, but it showed techniques used by the CIA to engage in surveillance, such as methods to break into people’s cellphones, laptops, smart televisions, and other electronic devices. Yes, the CIA, in conjunction with British intelligence (particularly MI5/BTSS, or British Security Service), was able to hack into smart televisions to turn them into spy apparatuses, and through the Weeping Angel program, Samsung F8000 and other televisions were able to be used as espionage tools while the devices were manipulated into “fake off” mode. If we know that the CIA is spying on us through our smart devices, imagine other ways, in which we are not aware, that the agency is tracking our movements and actions.
To gather information, often through bribe money, from social media companies, such as WPP, Cloudera, Google, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook; the CIA has used the In-Q-Tel program, Keyhole (later becoming Google Earth), Niantic Labs (yes, Pokémon Go is a CIA spy application, and the company was started by Keyhole’s founder, John Hanke, and spun off from Google), and other programs to grab data from unsuspecting Americans. Much of these programs were funded by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) within the Department of Defense (DoD). Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM and Oracle have also been awarded cloud computing contracts, thus showing a strong bond between these large corporations and the CIA.
From these examples, as well as in transparency reports, the Twitter Files, and a lawsuit against Facebook, we are starting to understand the censorship and collusion between the government and Big Tech even more. In fact, the CIA assisted the FBI in directing unfavorable posts to be taken down from social media platforms, especially with counternarratives pertaining to Covid-19, and participated in the weekly meetings between the federal government and media corporations. The CIA was even involved in the Hamilton 68 dashboard that pretended to detect Russian bots but was actually a program to sink the campaigns of Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Donald Trump, as well as target conservative and dissident voices. McCarthyism in the twenty-first century looks much different, and most Americans are not even aware that their opinions are being shaped by government agents or that their expressions are being suppressed (we have the illusion of freedom and choice of different platforms).
In fact, even the few Americans who are aware of Operation Mockingbird, for example, will just conclude that it was a discontinued program from the Cold War (the Church Committee hearings in 1976 ended that, of course), and the CIA could no longer be infiltrating media outlets (including The New York Times), planting initial and secondary sources that act as confirmation of a story’s legitimacy, and working with journalists to ensure that the headlines bring about favorable narratives, right? We also turn a blind eye when the CIA manipulates the news media in foreign nations to “change attitudes within the country,” as Leon Panetta, former director of the agency, once said. Even with the anti-Trump propaganda coordinated by the federal government and its corporate partners and the obvious government manipulation during the 2020 election, partially revealed in the Twitter Files, we still naively believe that the CIA is working for the security of our country and that it could not possibly commit election interference domestically, even with all of the above examples of how the CIA gathers intelligence outside of its jurisdiction and within the fifty states.
Even if the CIA were to work entirely outside of the United States, it consistently orchestrates fake narratives in other countries and lies to journalists so that certain stories end up being covered by American news outlets. For example, prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the CIA sent Iraqi exiles to American journalists (particularly to The New York Times), and manipulating false narratives in order to condition Americans to an upcoming war is sinister enough.
However, in addition to shaping the narrative online and through social media companies (even using fake accounts to do so), the CIA also works directly with movie and television show writers, directors, and producers to make sure that we are taking away the correct narratives in the entertainment that we consume (yes, we cannot escape politics or government propaganda, even when we are trying to relax with a movie or show); and news outlets continually feature former agents of the CIA. For example, John Brennan, former director of the CIA, may have been the source of the phony Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theory that Democrats and the corporate media clung to for years; and in another instance, the CIA fed the false story that Russia was giving bounties to Taliban fighters who killed Americans (I specifically remember Rachel Maddow spreading this disinformation). In today’s world where 90% of the media is consolidated into five or six corporations, and those companies are then controlled by the two larger corporations of BlackRock and Vanguard (both of which also control almost every Fortune 500 company, including Pfizer, Moderna, Pepsi, Coca Cola, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines; and BlackRock has special partnerships with our central bank, the Federal Reserve); it is not difficult to see how the narrative in this country is easily manipulated and comes out as propaganda for the interests of the government and large corporations and their agendas.
Another far-off Cold War CIA dinosaur program was MK-Ultra, which experimented on unwitting or witting but fooled participants with drugs (like LSD) for the purposes of mind control. If we know that the CIA currently operates above the law and outside of its international jurisdiction, are we really to believe that mind-control experiments and techniques have been ceased? Why would they just quit such tasks, when so many sinister operations can be utilized to the agency’s benefit? In addition to the copy-cat effect and media publicity stunts, could such experiments be part of the reason why there are so many mass shootings in the United States? Is the CIA releasing its test subjects into the public to cause havoc and fear on the population? Please do not take this as proven fact, and it is merely speculation, as I do not want to end up in the hole for millions of dollars, like Alex Jones.
Do we want to accept the actions of the CIA as inconsequential in our lives? Would we rather just ignore government abuses so that we can go back to watching sports or worrying about what our favorite celebrities are up to? Clearly, our government does not trust us, and we are not truly free when administrations see the need to monitor our every move, censor our work, or control the narrative. Are we being surveilled and manipulated like the people in Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia? I think when we have the benefit of historical hindsight, we will find that what our government is doing to us now is far more intrusive and concerning than anything performed by totalitarian regimes in any previous time in history.
Thank you for reading, and please check out my book, The Global Bully, and website.
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