Swipe File: Life Vs Fiction, Obama Vs Marvel

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The Intercept looks at the US administrations's terrorist tracking programme. And discovers something unnerving. I mean, it discovers lots of things that are unnerving…

Of the 680,000 people caught up in the government's Terrorist Screening Database—a watchlist of "known or suspected terrorists" that is shared with local law enforcement agencies, private contractors, and foreign governments—more than 40 percent are described by the government as having "no recognized terrorist group affiliation."

Since taking office, Obama has boosted the number of people on the no fly list more than ten-fold, to an all-time high of 47,000—surpassing the number of people barred from flying under George W. Bush.

The government adds names to its databases, or adds information on existing subjects, at a rate of 900 records each day.

But for comic fans there is also this.

The CIA uses a previously unknown program, code-named Hydra, to secretly access databases maintained by foreign countries and extract  data to add to the watchlists.

Of all the names they could choose?

The DTI also harvests information from CIA sources, including a secret database called CINEMA— short for CIA Information Needs Management—and a secret CIA program called "Hydra," which utilizes "clandestinely acquired foreign government information" to enhance the quality of "select populations" in TIDE.

In 2013, DTI and the CIA ran a "proof of concept" for Hydra, using Pakistan as a guinea pig. The DTI provided the CIA with a list of 555 Pakistanis in the TIDE database. After inputting the names into Hydra, the CIA "vetted these names against Pakistani Passports" and provided biographic and biometric identifiers to the DTI.

Pleased with its initial success, the government plans to expand its clandestine data-mining operation. "Future initiatives," the documents note, "will include additional targeted countries." The CIA declined to comment on the program.

I bet they didn't. Say, isn't there a Rising TIDE in Agents Of SHIELD as well? Only one way to go on this now…

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About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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