Government Corruption News StoriesExcerpts of Key Government Corruption News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of government corruption news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
The US's transition to electric vehicles could require three times as much lithium as is currently produced for the entire global market, causing needless water shortages, Indigenous land grabs, and ecosystem destruction inside and outside its borders, new research finds. It warns that unless the US's dependence on cars in towns and cities falls drastically, the transition to lithium battery-powered electric vehicles by 2050 will deepen global environmental and social inequalities linked to mining – and may even jeopardize the 1.5C global heating target. But ambitious policies investing in mass transit, walkable towns and cities, and robust battery recycling in the US would slash the amount of extra lithium required in 2050 by more than 90%. In fact, this first-of-its-kind modeling shows it is possible to have more transport options for Americans that are safer, healthier and less segregated, and less harmful mining while making rapid progress to zero emissions. If Americans continue to depend on cars at the current rate, by 2050 the US alone would need triple the amount of lithium currently produced for the entire global market, which would have dire consequences for water and food supplies, biodiversity, and Indigenous rights. Lithium mining is, like all mining, environmentally and socially harmful. More than half the current lithium production, which is very water intensive, takes place in regions blighted by water shortages that are likely to get worse due to global heating.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Covid-19 is deadly, but so were the draconian steps taken to mitigate it. During the first two years of the pandemic, "excess deaths"–the death toll above the historical trend–markedly exceeded the number of deaths attributed to Covid. In a paper we just published in Inquiry, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we found that "non-Covid excess deaths" totaled nearly 100,000 a year in 2020 and 2021. Even these numbers likely overestimate deaths from Covid and underestimate those from other causes. The official count of "Covid deaths" includes people who tested positive but died of other causes. What are non-Covid excess deaths? During the pandemic, deaths from accidents, overdoses, alcoholism and homicide all soared, as did deaths from hypertension, heart disease and diabetes. From April 2020 through December 2021, deaths from Covid averaged 350,000 a year for Americans 65 and older, 100,000 a year for those 45 to 64, and 20,000 a year for those 18 to 44. That produced excess deaths for these age groups of 16%, 19% and 11% respectively. The CDC data show the rate of non-Covid excess deaths in the first half of 2022 was even higher than 2020 or 2021. These deaths therefore likely already exceed 250,000, disproportionately among young adults. We now have more overdose deaths each year than all military deaths of the last 60 years combined. Homicides, accidents and alcohol deaths are collectively running tens of thousands per year above pre-pandemic norms.
Note: The above was written by Rob Arnott and Casey B. Mulligan. Mr. Arnott founded asset management firm Research Affiliates. Mr. Mulligan was chief economist for the White House Council of Economic Advisers. For more along these lines, watch an articulate interview discussing excess deaths since 2021 that aren't linked to COVID-19, yet are most likely associated with the rollout of the COVID vaccines.
Some vaccine advisers to the federal government say they're "disappointed" and "angry" that government scientists and the pharmaceutical company Moderna didn't present a set of infection data on the company's new Covid-19 booster during meetings last year when the advisers discussed whether the shot should be authorized and made available to the public. That data suggested the possibility that the updated booster might not be any more effective at preventing Covid-19 infections than the original shots. US taxpayers spent nearly $5 billion on the new booster, which has been given to more than 48.2 million people. "I was angry to find out that there was data that was relevant to our decision that we didn't get to see," said Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, a group of external advisers that helps the FDA make vaccine decisions. The data that was not presented to the experts looked at actual infections: who caught Covid-19 and who did not. It found that 1.9% of the study participants who received the original booster became infected. Among those who got the updated bivalent vaccine ... a higher percentage, 3.2%, became infected. A 22-page FDA briefing document given to the advisers did not mention this infection data. Dr. Jerry Weir, director of the Division of Viral Products at the FDA's Office of Vaccines Research and Review, also did not mention the infection data in his presentation to the advisers.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week, the public relations juggernaut Edelman will publish the latest edition of its "trust barometer", an annual survey that purports to measure whether people around the world trust businesses, governments, NGOs and the media. There's just one problem: even as Edelman promotes its brand and pursues clients with stern warnings about the importance of trust, critics charge the company appears reluctant to follow its own advice. The firm's clients have ranged from ExxonMobil to the Saudi government and members of the Sackler family, the former owners of the opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma. Successful PR firms do more than simply promote and spin – they actually infuse the public discourse with their clients' perspectives. "These companies are trying not just to manage trust, but to make trust," [media studies professor Melissa] Aronczyk said. "And if they themselves are the owners of that survey, or barometer, or whatever it is, then, of course, they become the proprietors of that kind of value." Edelman's most effective case study might be the firm itself. It has managed to cultivate a reputation for trust even as its business model appears regularly to contradict its advice and its CEO's admonitions. Over the past four years Edelman has signed about $9.6m worth of deals with the government of Saudi Arabia and companies controlled by the regime, while simultaneously urging businesses to stand up for human rights.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
The US Food and Drug Administration announced the resignations of two top vaccine officials on Tuesday, and reports said the two were leaving in anger over the Biden administration's plan to roll out COVID-19 booster shots before officials had a chance to approve it. Dr. Marion Gruber, the director of the FDA's Office of Vaccines Research and Review, and her deputy, Dr. Philip Krause, plan to leave the FDA. Dr. Peter Marks, the director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, praised the pair for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. He didn't give a reason for their departures. But sources told ... Politico that Gruber and Krause were upset with Biden administration's booster-shot plan. One former senior FDA leader [said] that Gruber and Krause were leaving because they felt that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was making vaccine decisions that should have been left to the FDA and were upset with Marks, the leader of their division, for not insisting on the agency's oversight. The source said the final straw was the Biden administration's announcing the booster-shot plan before the FDA had officially signed off on it. A former FDA official told Politico that the resignations were tied to anger over the FDA's lack of autonomy in booster planning.
Note: We don't use Business Insider as a normal reliable source, but in this case, the major media (like this CNN article) avoids linking this decision to the boosters. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
When police arrived on the scene, they found Ishmail Thompson standing naked outside a hotel. After they arrested him, a mental health specialist at the county jail said Thompson should be sent to the hospital for psychiatric care. However ... a doctor cleared Thompson to return to jail. With that decision, he went from being a mental health patient to a Dauphin County Prison inmate. Thompson soon would be locked in a physical struggle with corrections officers – one of 5,144 such "use of force" incidents that occurred in 2021 inside Pennsylvania county jails. An investigation by WITF and NPR looked at 456 of those incidents from 25 county jails in Pennsylvania. Nearly 1 in 3 "use of force" incidents involved a person who was having a mental health crisis or who had a known mental illness. Guards used aggressive – and distressing – weapons like stun guns and pepper spray to control and subdue such prisoners, despite the fact that their severe psychiatric conditions meant they may have been unable to follow orders – or even understand what was going on. For Ishmail Thompson, this played out within hours of returning to jail from the hospital. An officer covered Thompson's head with a hood and put him in a restraint chair. Thompson died. The district attorney declined to bring charges. "The vast majority of people who are engaged in self-harm are not going to die," [Attorney Alan] Mills says. "What they really need is intervention to de-escalate the situation, whereas use of force escalates the situation."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.
In 2017, the CIA had plotted to kidnap or assassinate Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who had taken refuge five years earlier in the Ecuador embassy in London. A senior US counter-intelligence official said that plans for the forcible rendition of Assange to the US were discussed "at the highest levels" of the Trump administration. The informant was one of more than 30 US officials – eight of whom confirmed details of the abduction proposal – quoted in a 7,500-word investigation by Yahoo News into the CIA campaign against Assange. The plan was to "break into the embassy, drag [Assange] out and bring him to where we want", recalled a former intelligence official. Another informant said that he was briefed about a meeting in the spring of 2017 at which President Trump had asked if the CIA could assassinate Assange and provide "options" about how this could be done. The Trump-appointed head of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, said publicly that he would target Assange and WikiLeaks as the equivalent of "a hostile intelligence service". Top intelligence officials intended to decide themselves who is and who is not a journalist, and lobbied the White House to redefine other high-profile journalists as "information brokers", who were to be targeted as if they were agents of a foreign power. In 2013 ... a team of 120 counter-intelligence officers ... failed to find a single person in Iraq and Afghanistan who had died because of the disclosures by WikiLeaks.
Note: CIA interest in assassinating Assange coincided with Wikileaks' publication of leaked CIA hacking tools. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has graduated from the hype stage of the last decade and its use cases are now well documented. Whichever nation best adapts this technology to its military – especially in space – will open new frontiers in innovation and determine the winners and losers. The US Army has anticipated this impending AI disruption and has moved quickly to stand up efforts like Project Linchpin to construct the infrastructure and environment necessary to proliferate AI technology across its intelligence, cyber, and electronic warfare communities. However, it should come as no surprise that China anticipated this advantage sooner than the US and is at the forefront of adoption. Chinese dominance in AI is imminent. The Chinese government has made enormous investments in this area (much more than Western countries) and is the current leader in AI publications and research patents globally. Meanwhile, China's ambitions in space are no longer a secret – the country is now on a trajectory to surpass the US in the next decade. The speed, range, and flexibility afforded by AI and machine learning gives those on orbit who wield it an unprecedented competitive edge. The advantage of AI in space warfare, for both on-orbit and in-ground systems, is that AI algorithms continuously learn and adapt as they operate, and the algorithms themselves can be upgraded as often as needed, to address or escalate a conflict. Like electronic warfare countermeasures during the Cold War, AI is truly the next frontier.
Richard Edelman, the CEO of the $1bn public relations firm Edelman, published a blogpost in June reflecting on his trip to the elite gathering of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "I left Davos inspired by the bravery of the Ukrainians and Poles," Edelman wrote, "[and] more convinced than ever about the global rift between democracy and autocracy." Freedom House named Saudi Arabia as one of the "worst of the worst" nations in the world for human rights and civil and political liberties. The Saudi government "really restricts almost all political rights and civil liberties and engages in arbitrary imprisonment, torture, [and] execution of perceived opponents", said Michael Abramowitz, the president of Freedom House. "It's a pretty grim picture." For those on the receiving end of Saudi repression, that picture has improved little since the October 2018 assassination and dismemberment of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an operation that US intelligence concluded was "approved" by the Saudi crown prince. Over that same period, however, the picture presented by the Saudi government to influential American audiences has been brightened with the help of key contractors, including Edelman. Since Khashoggi's murder, the powerful PR firm has received or is contracted to receive $9.6m (Ł7.9m) in fees from Saudi government agencies and companies controlled by the regime. Most of Edelman's work for the regime has focused on rehabilitating its reputation in the United States.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
In response to a 2017 request from the Pentagon, Twitter kept online a network of accounts that the U.S. military used to advance its interests in the Middle East, according to internal company emails that were made public on Tuesday by The Intercept, a nonprofit publication. A counterterrorism division at Twitter knew about the arrangement, but others did not, five people with knowledge of the matter said. The situation was unusual because Twitter normally removes and publicly discloses influence campaigns conducted by governments. The internal documents published by The Intercept were provided by Twitter under its new owner, Elon Musk. Mr. Musk has made an archive of documents available to select journalists to scrutinize the decisions of the company's previous leaders. The situation began in 2017 when an official working with U.S. Central Command requested that Twitter verify some of the military's accounts. The accounts had been flagged by a Twitter system used to automatically detect terrorist content and were not easy to find in searches. The Pentagon asked Twitter to "whitelist" the accounts, which would prevent the automatic tools from flagging them and make them more broadly visible on the platform. Twitter's counterterrorism team complied. While the company regularly disclosed other state-backed influence campaigns in transparency reports, executives ... feared they could violate national security laws by speaking publicly about the takedown of the campaign.
The permissible exposure limit for ortho-toluidine is 5 parts per million in air, a threshold based on research conducted in the 1940s and '50s without any consideration of the chemical's ability to cause cancer. Despite ample evidence that far lower levels can dramatically increase a person's cancer risk, the legal limit has remained the same. Paralyzed by industry lawsuits from decades ago, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has all but given up on trying to set a truly protective threshold for ortho-toluidine and thousands of other chemicals. The agency has only updated standards for three chemicals in the past 25 years; each took more than a decade to complete. David Michaels, OSHA's director throughout the Obama administration, [said] that legal challenges had so tied his hands that he decided to put a disclaimer on the agency's website saying the government's limits were essentially useless: "OSHA recognizes that many of its permissible exposure limits (PELs) are outdated and inadequate for ensuring protection of worker health." The agency has also allowed chemical manufacturers to create their own safety data sheets, which are supposed to provide workers with the exposure limits and other critical information. OSHA does not require the sheets to be accurate or routinely fact-check them. As a result, many fail to mention the risk of cancer and other serious health hazards. Almost one-third of more than 650 sheets for dangerous chemicals contain inaccurate warnings.
To encourage Congress to authorize the largest defense budget ever, the Pentagon just released its annual report on China, which dangerously misrepresents the country's defense strategy. Such deliberate lies about China to drum up justification for more US war spending need to be urgently addressed. The Pentagon reports that China may challenge the US in the international arena. It is true that China is taking the lead internationally in economic development, in technological innovation, and in fighting climate change. Other countries around the world are happy for its support in growing their capacities to be independent of United States hegemony in their regions. China builds relationships through economic cooperation and good diplomacy. In contrast, the United States asserts its global dominance through direct or proxy war, occupation, crippling sanctions, and regime-changing coups. The international order that the United States seeks to maintain is rooted in violence and destruction. While the United States is desperately pursuing its outdated policy of enforcing global hegemony, the rest of the world is already moving towards a multilateral sphere, which ensures the greatest chance for peace. Escalating tension with China was a mistake, and building a colossal military budget is doubling down on this mistake. We must be vigilant about the warmongering lies about China. "China is not our enemy" is not a hollow slogan but firm ground that peacemakers stand on.
Note: The US attempts to position itself as a global leader of democracy and peaceful diplomacy, while its policies continue to demonstrate just the opposite. Why aren't many media outlets questioning the aggressive efforts to escalate tension with China, including proposals for billions of dollars in military assistance to Taiwan? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in "psychological operations" to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war. The orders came from the command of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, a three-star general in charge of training Afghan troops – the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the war. Over a four-month period last year, a military cell devoted to what is known as "information operations" at Camp Eggers in Kabul was repeatedly pressured to target visiting senators and other VIPs who met with Caldwell. When the unit resisted the order, arguing that it violated U.S. laws prohibiting the use of propaganda against American citizens, it was subjected to a campaign of retaliation. "My job in psy-ops is to play with people's heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave," says Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, the leader of the IO unit, who received an official reprimand after bucking orders. "I'm prohibited from doing that to our own people. When you ask me to try to use these skills on senators and congressman, you're crossing a line." Those singled out in the campaign included senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed, Al Franken and Carl Levin; Rep. Steve Israel of the House Appropriations Committee; Adm. Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ... and a host of influential think-tank analysts.
Note: Read more about military PsyOps used to manipulate populations. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
President Joe Biden's administration released more than 13,000 records of President John F. Kennedy's assassination Thursday, but it fell short of fully complying with the spirit of a 30-year-old law demanding transparency by now. With Thursday's action, about 98% of all documents related to the 1963 killing have now been released and just 3% of the records remain redacted in whole or in part, according to the National Archives, which controls the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection. The records include more information on accused gunman Lee Harvey Oswald and his time spent in Mexico City. But about 4,300 records remain redacted in part. [CIA agent George] Joannides ... guided and monitored an anti-Fidel Castro group called Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil (Revolutionary Student Directorate) in 1963 that came into contact with Oswald in New Orleans in the months before the assassination, leading some to speculate about CIA-related complicity in the killing. As Oswald interacted with DRE and became known as an activist who supported President Castro, the Pentagon was formulating a plan called Operation Northwoods to stage a false flag attack in the United States to blame on Cuba and justify a military confrontation to make up for the aborted Bay of Pigs fiasco two years before. The records and the CIA's deceit over Joannides' ties to Oswald spans decades and came to light only after the records act began to unearth information about him.
Note: While the mainstream narrative points to the CIA being complicit in the killing of Kennedy by a Communist lone gunman, there is overwhelming evidence not often talked about, that reveals how Kennedy was murdered by rogue elements within US government agencies as a result of his efforts towards peacemaking strategies over nuclear weapon warfare, among other reasons. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the Kennedy assassination from reliable major media sources.
Among the intersections between [Lee Harvey] Oswald and the CIA, his time as a young Marine at the Atsugi naval air facility in Japan in 1957 is high among them. Atsugi was a launching pad for U-2 spy flights over the Soviet Union and was also a hub of the CIA's research into psychedelic drugs. "A CIA memo titled 'Truth Drugs in Interrogation' revealed the agency practice of dosing agents who were marked for dangerous overseas missions," wrote author David Talbot in "The Devil's Chessboard." A new document released in full last week relates directly to Oswald's time at Atsugi, revealing details about the CIA's response to testimony from a former agency accountant that the spy service had employed Oswald – who went on to be a gunman in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The CIA's claim to have had no contact with Oswald is undercut by the fact that George de Mohrenschildt, a CIA asset, became close friends with Oswald in the months before the assassination. According to documents found in the newly declassified files, at the same time as his trip, the CIA's Domestic Operations Division ran a search on de Mohrenschildt, "exact reason unknown," according to two documents created by a CIA analyst included in last week's declassification. The covert arm of the division was run at the time by E. Howard Hunt, a black ops specialist who confessed later in life to learning ahead of time of a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy that involved high-level figures in the CIA.
Note: The CIA's MK-ULTRA program routinely administered drugs to unsuspecting victims. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the Kennedy assassination from reliable major media sources.
Two years into Biden's presidency, it is crystal clear that the Saudis have nothing significant to fear from the U.S. government. For decades, Democratic and Republican administrations have propped up the Saudi monarchy, lathering it with weapons sales and intelligence sharing, all while normalizing the draconian, antidemocratic grip on power held by the monarchy. When Donald Trump was president, a lot of Democrats were given political cover to finally come around to opposing the Saudi-led campaign of annihilation in Yemen. It was the Obama-Biden administration that gave the initial green light to the Saudi-led war in the first place. Barack Obama began bombing Yemen in December 2009 and continued to hit the country with drone strikes and cruise missile attacks throughout most of his presidency. In fact, by the time Obama left office, his administration had offered the Saudis more military support, $115 billion, than any in the history of the seven-decade U.S.-Saudi alliance. On the campaign trail, Biden pledged to continue the momentum and end U.S. bodyguarding of Saudi Arabia's crimes, particularly after the execution of Khashoggi, a permanent U.S. resident, inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. As president, Biden has greenlighted a series of U.S. weapons purchases by the Saudis, including $3 billion worth of Patriot missiles in August. Last week, Biden stated that there are currently 2,755 U.S. military personnel deployed in Saudi Arabia.
Note: When it comes to matters involving the ever-profitable war machine, both parties follow similar agendas. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been accused of bowing to drug industry pressure after releasing new guidelines that doctors say put lives at risk by rowing back on warnings about the dangers of opioid prescribing. The latest CDC guidelines have caused controversy after dropping specific limits on dosages and lengths of prescribing from a key summary of recommendations used by physicians. Dr Andrew Kolodny, president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, sees the drug industry's hand behind the change. Kolodny has testified against opioid makers in legal actions over their part in driving the opioid epidemic by pushing sales with false claims about their safety and effectiveness. They include Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of OxyContin, a powerful narcotic pill that kickstarted the US's opioid epidemic alongside the company's marketing strategy to see the drugs widely prescribed. Kolody said ... that the drug industry calculated how much the 2016 CDC guidelines would cost it if doctors followed the recommendations to limit prescribing of high dosage pills. "The highest dosage products have had the highest profit margin. It only costs a few extra pennies to make the higher dosage pill, but retail it's almost double what they get per pill or prescription. So the industry fought very hard to block the release of the 2016 guideline and when that failed they did everything they could to make the guidelines appear controversial. And that worked," he said.
In one recent study of health care in 11 high-income countries, the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund found that 44% of Americans had out-of-pocket medical expenses that topped $1,000 in the previous year. Just 16% of Germans reported paying that much. The rates were even lower in France, at 10%, and Great Britain, where only 7% reported similar medical expenses. "Many Americans may not understand how affordable health care is for patients in other countries," said Reginald D. Williams II, who oversees international research at the Commonwealth Fund. "Medical debt is a largely U.S. phenomenon. It just doesn't happen in other countries." Germany, like the U.S., has a largely private health care system that relies on private doctors and private insurers. Like Americans, many Germans enroll in a health plan through work, splitting the cost with their employer. But Germany has long done something the U.S. does not: It strictly limits how much patients have to pay out of their own pockets for a trip to the doctor, the hospital or the pharmacy. This regulation occurs through a highly structured system in which insurers negotiate collectively with physician and hospital groups to set prices. American hospitals and other medical providers for decades have fiercely resisted limits on their prices, spending millions to fight government regulation. [Dr. Eckart] Rolshoven's patients pay nothing when they see him. That not only bolsters their health, he said. It helps maintain what Rolshoven called social peace.
The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government [is] a new book by Salon founder David Talbot. As Talbot explains, “What I was really trying to do was a biography on the American power elite from World War II up to the 60s.” Dulles ... served as CIA director from 1953 to 1961. Dulles would have had no moral qualms about killing any politician, including Americans. He went on to wield far greater power than most elected officials ever have. The Devil's Chessboard ... includes detailed reexaminations of Dulles's most notorious failures, such as the Bay of Pigs in 1961 and the nightmarish mind control program MK-ULTRA, as well as his most notorious "successes," the CIA's overthrow of democratic governments in Iran in 1953 and in Guatemala in 1954. As the Swiss director of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II, Dulles – whose law firm had represented German corporations and many U.S. corporations with German interests – quietly attempted to undermine Franklin D. Roosevelt's demand that Germany surrender unconditionally, going so far as to order the rescue of an SS general surrounded by Italian partisans. Dulles also led the push to save Reinhard Gehlen, Nazi head of intelligence on the Eastern Front and a genuine monster, from any post-war justice. Dulles then made certain Gehlen and his spies received a cozy embrace from the CIA, and helped push him to the top of West Germany's Federal Intelligence Service.
Note: Read more about the CIA Nazi link. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the Kennedy assassination from reliable major media sources.
The Biden administration took a public stand last year against the abuse of spyware to target human rights activists, dissidents and journalists: It blacklisted the most notorious maker of the hacking tools, the Israeli firm NSO Group. But the global industry for commercial spyware – which allows governments to invade mobile phones and vacuum up data – continues to boom. Even the U.S. government is using it. The Drug Enforcement Administration is secretly deploying spyware from a different Israeli firm, according to five people familiar with the agency's operations, in the first confirmed use of commercial spyware by the federal government. The most sophisticated spyware tools – like NSO's Pegasus – have "zero-click" technology, meaning they can stealthily and remotely extract everything from a target's mobile phone, without the user having to click on a malicious link to give Pegasus remote access. They can also turn the mobile phone into a tracking and secret recording device, allowing the phone to spy on its owner. But hacking tools without zero-click capability, which are considerably cheaper, also have a significant market. Commercial spyware has been used by intelligence services and police forces to hack phones used by drug networks and terrorist groups. But it has also been abused by numerous authoritarian regimes and democracies to spy on political opponents and journalists. This has led governments to a sometimes tortured rationale for their use.
Note: Read about how NSO Group spyware was used against journalists and activists by the Mexican government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.