Secrets the government doesn't want you to know

We love the government. Really, we do! We know they never lie to us … except for when they do, in fact, lie to us—but we know they're only looking out for our best interests, of course! We trust Big Brother implicitly and entirely, and we're sure trust goes both ways. That's why we're sure they'd have no problem with us sharing with you some information that the government really doesn't want you to know. From secret laws to bullying civil rights leaders to hacking your Samsung Smart TV, here's some of the things the government would like to keep under wraps, for your own benefit.

The president can sign secret laws

Did you know that the leader of the free world has the power and authority to sign laws, in secret, without disclosing them to the public—or even to some other branches of government?

Presidential Policy Directives (PPDs) are a type of executive order issued President of the United States, which may or may not be made known to the public—and they're issued more often than you might think. According to Gregory Korte at USA Today, President Obama dropped 30 PPDs by June 2015, with a whopping 19 having not been released—with the subject matter of 11 of those being entirely secret. When it was all said and done, President Obama signed 43 PPDs in total, during the entire span of his presidency, with there being no information on 16 of them.

What makes PPDs so interesting is that, unlike normal executive orders, they don't need to be written into the Federal Register to be effective. The president can sit down at this desk, create a law without anyone outside of the National Security Council knowing about it, and put it into effect immediately. There are no checks. There are no balances.

Obama by no means has led the charge, historically, when it comes to PPDs. 91 such orders were issued by President George W. Bush, but even he can't hold a shovel to President Reagen—who issued 325, or more.

Keep that in mind during the next election cycle, when you one friend tries to convince you that "the president doesn't have any real power."

Churchill covered up UFO investigations

Do you believe in aliens? The government of the United Kingdom certainly did, and they didn't want you to know about it.

Files released in 2010 show that the UK government was more than simply suspicious of UFO sightings—they took them very, very seriously. According to BBC, top intelligence officials regularly met to discuss the issue, with weekly reports of UFO sightings commissioned from a team of intelligence personnel. Most interestingly, however, is Prime Minister Winston Churchill's insistence that the whole UFO investigation must be kept under wraps, to avoid a mass panic among the country's population.

The files in question include thousands of pages, some of which claim Churchill ordered the UFO cover-up while in a meeting with Dwight Eisenhower. In total, the files range from 1995 to 2003 and contain reports, letters, and drawings from both public inquiries and parliamentary proceedings. Interestingly, and perhaps unsurprisingly, reports of UFO sightings peaked, according to BBC, in 1996, thanks to the popularity of the television show The X Files. Around this time, UFO sightings were as common as once per week. Sounds like the UK should've brought in Mulder and Scully to investigate all these alien encounters.

The Soviets communicated with aliens

Not to be outdone by the Western imperialists, the Soviet Union allocated resources into investigating UFOs as well, going to far as to claim they could communicate with UFOs on demand.

The territory of Russia has historically been inundated with unidentified flying objects, but reports are classified, and the government doesn't talk about it. Regular people talked about it, though—like in 1978, when thousands of people in Petrozavodsk bore witness to a UFO, which made its presence known for a solid few hours. But there's no need to take Smetanina's word for it. The CIA has naturally been clued in to Russia's UFO problems.

Highlights of a 1989 CIA report include an obliterated flying sphere in Dalnegorsk, made of "fine mesh" and glass, with an investigation of the crash site producing "gold, silver, nickel, alpha-titanium, molybdenum, and compounds of beryllium"—leading one physicist to conclude "that the so-called sphere could have been some kind of 'plasmoid,' formed by the interaction of geophysical force fields." Other, less skeptical scientists agreed that the sphere in question was "an extraterrestrial space vehicle constructed by highly intelligent beings."

You can read the report yourself, but we're siding with the latter explanation on this one.

John Lennon was deemed a threat to national security

John Winston Lennon may have been one groovy, peace-loving Beatle, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation wasn't too keen on a foreigner spreading antiwar, anti-Nixon messages to the rather large counterculture movement in the United States. Naturally, the FBI did what the FBI does best and kept detailed surveillance records of Lennon's activities while actively trying to deport him.

It was not easy work for historian Jon Wiener to get the FBI to release their files on the famously bespectacled Beatle. It took 14 years. Lennon's association with radical antiwar activists was the FBI's biggest concern, coupled with his popularity and ability to influence voters to vote against the Nixon administration in the coming election—leading to the idea that his visa should be terminated in the interest of national security. Lennon, however, being ultra-rich, had some of the best lawyers money could buy.

One way J. Edgar Hoover tried to get Lennon out of the good ol' US of A was to bust him for narcotics, though—as Weiner notes—"the FBI doesn't enforce possession of narcotics charges; that is a state offense." Weiner reckons that Hoover gave the Miami FBI office a discrete order to arrange a drug bust. However, all the Miami office's Lennon files were destroyed due to what they claim to be "part of a routine file destruction procedure"—also known as a we-better-destroy-all-the-evidence procedure.

All we are saying is give Freedom of Information a chance!

The FBI does whatever they want, whenever they want

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has the dirt on everyone … and we mean everyone. Including you!

Think about this for a minute: who really hold the power in global politics—world leaders, or the people who have the dirt on world leaders? The answer is the latter, with the FBI all but exclusively holding that position. They knew that former Libyan leader Muammar al-Qadhafi couldn't travel with his Ukranian nurse, had a fear of sleeping on upper floors, prefers not to fly over water, and has a fondness for flamenco dancing and the horse races.

They bugged Martin Luther King, Jr.'s room, recorded him having sex, and sent him a copy—along with a letter, reading in part: "King, look into your heart. The American people would know you for what you are: an evil, abnormal beast. There's only one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation." The FBI had, and still has, unlimited power to do as they see fit.

And it's not only political figures, peace-loving musicians, or other powerful individuals who attract the FBI's spotlight. The Bureau is also interested in you! Remember how difficult it was for the characters in HBO's The Wire to get granted a wire-tapping permit? Yeah, the FBI doesn't have to deal with anything like that. If they want to hack you, they hack you. It's that simple. Furthermore, "there's also no public accounting of how often the government hacks people," according to Wired. In case you haven't already figured it out by now, the FBI does whatever they want, whenever they want, with nobody to truly tell them otherwise.

So clear your search history and delete all your browser cookies! Just kidding … we all know that won't help.

The FBI uses criminal hackers

Believe it or not, the Federal Bureau of Investigation isn't particularly exceptional at hacking, on their own. Instead, they enlist the help of real hackers. You know, the bad kind—the people who steal your credit card information, post fake news stories on websites, and just generally cause trouble for a whole lot of people, simply because they can. Yes, those are the people the FBI hires—or extorts.

Hector Xavier Monsegur, the former leader of LulzSec, a notorious group of hackers, worked with the FBI, resulting in the prosecutor's recommending he receive a lighter sentence. LulzSec claimed responsibility for hacking Fox.com, leaked the names of 73,000 X-Factor contestants, planted a fake story about Tupac and Biggie Smalls still being alive, and stole 24.6 million customers' private data. Yes, these are exactly the type of people the FBI wants to leverage.

Monsegur's cooperating with the FBI was apparently invaluable, as he helped thwart some attempted cyber attacks by notorious hacking groups Anonymous, Internet Feds, and his former LulzSec. Furthermore, Monsegur is credited by the FBI with preventing the loss of millions of dollars to various potential victims. Millions of dollars! Unfortunately for Monsegur, all this work still couldn't keep the hacker out of jail entirely.

Monsegur is far from the only hacker acquired by the FBI to do their dirty work. But, again, the FBI can do whatever they want, whenever they want … and use whomever they want in the process.

The POTUS keeps a secret hit list

Hit lists are illegal. Unless you're the president of the United States, of course.

As reported by The New York Times in 2012, President Obama kept a secret kill list of suspected or confirmed terrorists whose deaths would benefit the United States. Obama had campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, points out the article, but then approved these new targets personally.

The White House's kill list didn't leave office with President Obama. Quite the contrary—it's still causing problem sand likely always will. Two war reporters have sued President Trump for putting them on the terrorist kill list, The New York Times reported in March 2017. Sounds like someone was trying to tie up some loose ends, or simply needs to put a little more effort into editing their list.

Naturally, the White House isn't really interested in publicizing their hit list, nor making themselves out to be contract killers. They like to keep that kind of stuff under wraps.

The CIA, or worse, can see and hear you

In early 2017, notorious information hounds WikiLeaks dropped a huge bomb in the form of 8,761 spy documents named Vault 7. The details inside these documents is beyond disturbing.

Like an episode of Black Mirror, the CIA's hacking capabilities are incredibly invasive and disconcerting, creating what could become a rather dangerous world. But, surely, the CIA could never let their advanced hacking software get into the wrong hands. Right? Unfortunately, the leaked documents all but confirm that the CIA has, in fact, lost control of its hacking arsenal—which can fairly easily be used or replicated by anyone with competent knowledge of hacking.

The hacking software arsenal lets individuals control most popular consumer software cites Independent, including Apple's iPhone, Google's Android, Microsoft's Windows, and even Samsung TVs, which pick up audio. Now, if that doesn't make you feel sketchy all over, we're not sure what will. And to think, you thought people who covered their computer's built-in cameras with tape were paranoid!

The next time you're feeling lonely, just remember … you're not alone. With the CIA, you're never alone.