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Sir Robert Maxwell’s FBI file is getting more classified by the minute

Sir Robert Maxwell is mostly remembered as the Czech-born British media mogul who owned the Daily Mirror and was a Member of Parliament. Less remembered is that he was an alleged spy for both the U.K. and Israel, and was accused of ties to the Mossad abduction of Mordechai Vanunu - accusations which he denied shortly before his apparent suicide. All but forgotten, however, are his alleged ties to the PROMIS affair, thanks in no small part to the FBI withdrawing his file from public view.

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Intelligence agency takes on intelligence agency in the “Astral Projection Caper”

A formerly TOP SECRET document from the NSA describes an incident which it called the “Astral Projection Caper,” which revolved around what seems to have been fabricated, or at least nonexistent, CIA evidence of confirmed psychic phenomenon.

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Intelligence Community ignored task force recommendations that could have prevented Snowden leaks

Task Group Six was an interagency working group for members of the National Security Council on the problem of intelligence compromises. As a result of its study, it made a number of recommendations to improve security and reduce the likelihood of insider threats - changing the way the intelligence agencies did business by putting a natural limit on the scope of their activities. If these policies had been pursued, it’s unlikely that Snowden would have had the justification or the ability to leak the materials he did. Instead, the recommendations that would have seen an actual shift in the status quo were ignored.

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CIA and NSA first sought to exploit commercial databases in mid-80s

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is the least famous, least exciting, and most prevalent form of intelligence, covering any sources that are theoretically open to anyone, such as newspaper articles, published books, or social media posts. With the ubiquity of the internet, the use of such commercial databases is beyond routine for both the Intelligence Community and the government at large, but there was a time, however, where the mere interest was not only cutting edge, but problematic.

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The Justice Department refused to prosecute CIA for illegal surveillance

In 1976 and again in 1977, the Justice Department decided not to prosecute anyone for the CIA’s illegal surveillance and mail openings. The report issued in 1977 reveals the Justice Department’s highly flawed reasons, including claims that prosecution would not serve to prevent such questionable or outright illegal surveillance from happening again - ironically setting the stage for modern surveillance programs.

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