The CIA’s recent rebranding as Valhalla for US cyberwarriors notwithstanding, the agency’s general focus has been intelligence gathering on foreign governments, corporations and people. That it has often mistaken “torturing people into saying whatever they can to make it stop” for “intelligence gathering” isn’t necessarily germane to the following discussion, but it’s worth noting that the CIA is almost single-handedly responsible for destroying the term “extraordinary rendition” — a formerly innocuous (and complimentary) term previously used to highlight something like, say, Johnny Cash’s amazing cover of Soundgarden’s’ “Rusty Cage.” (That Cash’s two best covers are “Hurt” and “Rusty Cage” is not germane to the discussion of CIA torture programs, but what a coincidence!)
But the emphasis here is foreign. Which is why the following news makes so little sense.
The Central Intelligence Agency played a crucial role in helping the Justice Department develop technology that scans data from thousands of U.S. cellphones at a time, part of a secret high-tech alliance between the spy agency and domestic law enforcement, according to people familiar with the work.
The CIA and the U.S. Marshals Service, an agency of the Justice Department, developed technology to locate specific cellphones in the U.S. through an airborne device that mimics a cellphone tower, these people said.