These Are the Shadiest Government Secrets We Wish Donald Trump Would Open Up About
The United States has plenty of government secrets, the kind that plenty of us love to speculate about. There are government conspiracies and secret military bases. The government stays tight-lipped about its nuclear arsenal. And it doesn’t even talk about its secret airline. But if there’s one person who gets to learn about the most government secrets, it’s the president of the United States: currently, Donald Trump.
Politico reports, “The president of the United States has more access to official secrets than any other human being in the country—and the potential to know more about the world than anyone else on the planet.” Read on to check out the shadiest government secrets that we wish Donald Trump would comment on.
1. The Trump administration has a ‘kill list’
Politico reports, “One of the relatively new powers of the presidency is the ability to sign off on strikes from Predator and Reaper drones run by the CIA and the Pentagon.” Presidents can’t order political assassinations. But recent presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump — have had wide latitude when designating suspected terrorists for lethal strikes.
So Donald Trump and his administration have the ability to choose targets for such strikes. Politico notes that we won’t know who’s landed on the administration’s “kill list.” Plus, “we may never know what happens to them.” But Donald Trump will. After a strike, the president and vice president can even watch videos of the drone strikes.
Next: Donald Trump can learn all the government secrets about this scary topic.
2. Donald Trump can get reports on terror threats and suspects
Politico reports that the kill list is just one of many government secrets pertaining to the government’s counterterrorism efforts. Donald Trump can also request regular briefings on domestic terror threats and potential suspects, just like the two most recent occupants of the Oval Office.
Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama regularly reviewed possible plots, unfolding investigations, and strategic questions. Plus, Politico reports that both presidents “were regularly informed about individual terror plots.” In fact, Bush even tracked individual suspects each day. It isn’t hard to imagine Donald Trump getting involved in dictating raids and arrests.
Next: Some government secrets go beyond Top Secret.
3. The government has programs that go ‘beyond Top Secret’
Here’s another interesting category of government secrets that Donald Trump can access. Politico notes that most Americans think of classified information as falling into broad categories like Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret. Those are the three levels of security clearance that the government grants to individuals.
Yet the most sensitive government secrets “occupy their own category of ‘Special Access Programs’ of ‘Sensitive Compartmented Information.'” Those labels, Politico reports, are colloquially known as “beyond Top Secret.” We don’t know if Donald Trump realized that some government secrets are even more sensitive than Top Secret. But he certainly knows now. And he has access to all of the details.
Next: Donald Trump has access to this fascinating intelligence.
4. The NSA spies on its enemies, foreign officials, and overseas business leaders
Elaborating on the Special Access Programs that Donald Trump can access, Politico notes that those programs include National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance and hacking capabilities. The NSA’s elite hacking unit has spying and sabotage capabilities. And the U.S. doesn’t just spy on its enemies, as Politico points out.
Leaks from Edward Snowden revealed that the U.S. listens to calls and reads emails of foreign officials and top overseas business leaders, too. Politico notes that Donald Trump could routinely access related transcripts and documents if he wanted.
Next: The president also has access to these people’s personal secrets.
5. The United States has collected personal secrets on many foreign leaders
On a similar note, Politico reports that Donald Trump also has access to the “personal secrets about foreign leaders” that the United States has collected over the years. The publication characterizes access to FBI reports on other politicians as “one of the favorite presidential perks in decades past.” The publication does report that theoretically, the FBI “no longer serves up personal secrets for prurient entertainment or political blackmail.”
But that doesn’t mean that Donald Trump doesn’t have access to some compromising information. Politico explains, “Intelligence agencies like the CIA and NSA regularly provide the White House and high-level diplomats with information on the drug habits, sexual preferences, financial shenanigans, criminal associations, allegations of corruption, or family squabbles of other world leaders, foreign business figures, or other prominent individuals.”
Next: Donald Trump may have details about your favorite celebrities, too.
6. The FBI also has details on prominent Americans
Politico reports that the FBI also compiles surveillance reports on prominent Americans. (Not just foreign figures of interest.) And Donald Trump, presumably, has access to those, too. Plus, most Americans remember the shocking revelation that the NSA routinely collects data on private citizens. So it stands to reason that the agency has information on celebrities, too.
Donald Trump probably doesn’t ask the FBI or the NSA for reports on American celebrities, politicians, or other prominent citizens. But as president, he’s one of the many people who has access to the intelligence collected by government surveillance efforts.
Next: Donald Trump can learn about the government’s secret payrolls.
7. The government has the details on secret agents on its payrolls
Another interesting piece of information in the beyond-top-secret files that Donald Trump can access? All the details about foreign officials who serve as secret agents for groups like the CIA or the Drug Enforcement Administration. Such agencies pay foreign officials for their cooperation and information.
“These payments can run into the millions and last for years,” Politico explains. “Presidents have traditionally refrained from asking the identities of specific sources, but that’s just a custom: If Trump asks for a briefing on the clandestine payroll, the agency would almost certainly comply.”
Next: Donald Trump has all the government secrets about these terrifying weapons.
8. Most of us don’t know the details of the American nuclear arsenal
Civilians may know the basics of the American weapons that Donald Trump could deploy in the event of a nuclear war with North Korea. But Politico reports that Trump now has access to all the details of our nuclear weapons program. That includes “Q clearance” information from the Department Energy. Trump could ask for specific details on U.S. weapons stockpiles, damage estimates, and technology specifications.
Trump also has information on the procedures for launching the nuclear triad — bombers, submarines, and intercontinental ballistic missiles — in as little as 30 minutes. And of course, America can’t stop Donald Trump from starting a nuclear war if he decides that that’s the path forward.
Next: Donald Trump likely knows the status of this high-tech project.
9. The government may or may not have a hypersonic spy plane
Bloomberg reports that for years, Lockheed Martin has worked on developing a successor to one of the fastest aircraft ever, the Cold War-era SR-71 Blackbird. The corporation has said that the SR-72 could fly by 2030. But a recent talk at an aerospace conference may indicate that the government already has the hypersonic spy plane. Donald Trump likely has the details.
As Bloomberg explains, “Hypersonic applies to speeds above Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound. The SR-71 cruised at Mach 3.2, more than 2,000 mph, around 85,000 feet.” Lockheed Martin hasn’t confirmed that it’s preparing to turn over a hypersonic, top-secret aircraft to the Pentagon. The company also hasn’t given any clues on how far the project has progressed. But this is probably one of the most high-tech government secrets.
Next: The president can ask for briefings about these secret tools.
10. The U.S. definitely has spy satellites and other secret aircraft
It’s not just the hypersonic spy plane that Donald Trump can ask about. Politico reports that Trump can receive briefings “on the constellation of spy satellites and detection technologies that watch the Earth from above.” Many of those are “run by the National Reconnaissance Office, an intelligence agency so secretive that its very name and existence were classified from its creation in 1960 until 1992.”
The agency’s spy satellites have reportedly become far more advanced than the public realizes. The government also owns many specialized aircraft whose existence it’s never acknowledged. Such aircraft often undergo testing at Nevada’s Area 51, the site that conspiracy theorists claim houses the government’s fleet of captured UFOs. And experts say there are at least a dozen aircraft that the U.S. has never publicly acknowledged.
Next: Donald Trump likely knows many government secrets on this interesting subject.
11. The Pentagon has been searching for UFOs and signs of life elsewhere in the universe
On a similar note, National Geographic reports that a recently-revealed Pentagon program has spent years searching for UFOs. Donald Trump likely has all the details on that program. And he can learn about any others that the government has used to search for signs of life elsewhere in the universe.
As National Geographic explains, the project, called the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program, reportedly began in 2007. It investigates “unexplained aerial phenomena that appeared to be using novel propulsive, hovering, or otherwise advanced technologies.” The publication adds, “And this project is not even close to the first U.S. government-funded search for evidence of advanced intelligence—so far, to little effect.”
Next: Presidents can write laws that most Americans won’t hear about.
12. Presidents can pass secret laws
Most of the time, when new laws are made, you’ll hear about it in the news. But that’s not always the case with a Presidential Policy Directive. Politico points out that each president has called these documents something slightly different. But they always deal with high-level strategic and policy decisions about national security and homeland security. The government usually publicizes the subject matter of most of these documents when the president signs them. Or, it declassifies them quickly.
Yet Politico reports that “dozens remain classified even years or decades later.” The publication adds, “we have no idea what some of these documents are even about. Together, these represent an increasingly broad body of ‘secret law’ opaque to the outside world, including Congress. The whole point of these laws and procedures is to grant the president power the public doesn’t even know he has — and might not know until it’s unveiled to us in the midst of a crisis, either real or invented.”
Next: Donald Trump has access to these government secrets.
13. The U.S. and its allies carry out many covert programs around the world
We at least know of the existence of some covert programs and other government secrets. Yet there are many others that the average American doesn’t know about. As Politico reports, Donald Trump now has “the ability to see inside the most sensitive and covert programs run by the United States and its allies around the world.”
Donald Trump has access to all the details on these secret programs. But they remain just that to the rest of the country — secret. It’s possible that some of them could come to light during the Trump administration. But it’s just as likely that they’ll remain government secrets.
Next: The president knows all about our efforts in this kind of warfare.
14. The U.S. can launch cyberattacks against other countries
Similarly, Politico reports that Donald Trump has all the details on “the next-generation cyberattacks that would come in the opening minutes of a new war.” The publication notes that Barack Obama ordered a wave of cyberattacks against Iran to try to disable its nuclear program. Trump will certainly learn — or has already learned — of similar opportunities.
Of course, U.S. News recently reported that the U.S. government’s ability to launch cyberattacks doesn’t quite match the competition from China, North Korea, and Russia. The U.S. reportedly has many strict policies regarding how it conducts digital warfare. And U.S. News puts it, “the U.S. has proportionately little experience with this kind of battle in the real world.”
Next: Donald Trump can access documents written by his predecessors.
15. Previous presidents have written things down
Politico notes that Donald Trump also has access to “the dozens of secret classified procedures and laws written down by his presidential predecessors.” We’ve already discussed how presidents can write laws that even Congress doesn’t know about. But presidents famously leave letters to their successors. And fans of the National Treasure films speculate that there really may be a “book of secrets” that gets passed down from president to president.
We don’t know if such a book really exists, of course. But it seems safe to assume that Donald Trump has access to at least a few government secrets written down by previous presidents. (Even as his own tweets become official presidential records.)
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