Senate Building Super-Secret Spy Encyclopedia

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Young boy in retro clothing wearing spectacles holding a massive book --- Image by ? 13/PeopleImages.com/Ocean/Corbis
If you turn to Chapter 12, you can learn all about eavesdropping on important people.Photo: 13/PeopleImages/Corbis

The Senate Intelligence Committee was surprised to learn that the NSA was eavesdropping on German chancellor Angela Merkel during the Edward Snowden leaks. As a result, they’ve decided to build what the Associated Press calls “a secret encyclopedia of American intelligence collection” to better understand what’s going on. That might be difficult, as James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, has joked that only one person in the universe knows everything that’s going on in our country’s secret programs: “God.”

There are hundreds of programs we have found … sprinkled all over. Many people in the departments don’t even know [they] are going on,” said senator Dianne Feinstein, former chair of the committee. 

The document won’t be exhaustive, as the government doesn’t want the Senate to have access to a “U.S. Spy Intel for Dummies” manual, which might not be safe to keep around — even in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s vault.