What Are The Lesser-Known Spying Programs?

Most people are aware of internet and cellphone spying programs divulged by former NSA employee Edward Snowden.

What are some of the lesser-known spying programs?

License-plate readings and airplane “dirt-box” data collection devices are a couple of the lesser-known surveillance programs.

Mike Papantonio and Kevin Gosztola discuss what’s happening and what authorities look for.


Ring Of Fire

WikiLeaks Uploads CIA Review Of Assassination Programs

WikiLeaks claims to have obtained a CIA document that assesses high-value targeting (HVT) assassination programs world-wide for their impact on insurgencies.

The CIA document is supposedly classified and is for internal use to review the impact of targeted assassinations on relevant groups.

At first glance, the document comes across as a dry business review, but in truth it is about the assassination of political leaders.

It assesses assassination attacks on insurgent groups by the United States – and other countries – within Afghanistan, Algeria, Colombia, Iraq, Israel,Peru, Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Chechnya, Libya, Pakistan and Thailand.

According to WikiLeaks, the document – which seems to be “pro-assassination” – was completed in July 2009 and coincides with the first year of the Obama administration and Leon Panetta’s directorship of the CIA during which the United States significantly increased its CIA assassination program at the expense of capture operations.

It produces a chart for US officials to use in strategically assessing future operations and methods in High Value Targeting assassinations.

The Washington Post looked at the CIA document and the document seems to conclude that raids, drone strikes and other military operations designed to capture or kill “high-value targets” in the Taliban have had little overall effect.  This is in part because of the militant group’s ability to replace leaders.

The Washington Post’s look at the WikiLeaks document is here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2014/12/18/cia-analysis-high-value-targeting-had-limited-effect-against-taliban/

You can view the WikiLeaks CIA document here:

Click to access WikiLeaks_Secret_CIA_review_of_HVT_Operations.pdf

Climate-Change Denier Ted Cruz To Oversee NASA And Science Subcommittee

Secular Talk

According to the Huffington Post, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was named chair of the Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness, where he will oversee NASA and science programs.

Appointed Jan. 8, Cruz is expected to be confirmed to the new role by the end of the month as one of many changes to the new Republican-controlled Congress.

But the Republican senator’s words and actions during his time in office have painted him to be a far cry from an advocate for the sciences, leaving many concerned about the future of space and science funding.

Cruz’s infamous hours-long speech in September 2013 led to a 16-day government shutdown barring 97 percent of NASA employees from appearing for work. Interns to the agency were temporarily displaced when the NASA-provided housing was closed during the shutdown, and many have said the agency suffered lasting damage due to the freeze.