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April 25, 2019

Watch out influencers, the CIA is officially on their Instagram game.

As promised, the agency launched their newest social media account on Thursday — and who would have thought intelligence agents would be such good content-curators? For its first post, the agency shared a staged photo of CIA Director Gina Haspel's desk space in the form of a clever "I spy" game with Easter eggs hidden all over the scene.

With quite the Pinterest aesthetic, Haspel's desk is filled with books, plants, stationery, illustrations and other adorable objects that also seem fit for a college student's dorm room — travel-themed coin bank included. Getting playful, the picture also features a Top Secret Pulp bag, maps of Russia and Iran spread on the desk, a notebook with the words "We share what we can and protect what we must" and even Haspel's first-ever CIA badge.

CIA spokesperson Chelsea Robinson told The Verge that the account's main goal is to spark curiosity on the CIA's mission and that "joining Instagram is another way we're sharing stories and recruiting talented Americans to serve." Robinson guaranteed the account "will give a peek into Agency life, but can't promise any selfies from secret locations."

For their official bio, the agency kept it traditional with their mission statement: "We are the Nation's first line of defense. We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go." The account only has about 2,000 followers right now, but if they keep up with the quality content, the CIA could score some lucrative deals with detox tea brands or teeth whitening companies. Marina Pedrosa

March 2, 2017

Not just anyone can see Republicans' newest plan for repealing and replacing ObamaCare. When the details of the plan are finally released Thursday morning, it will be available only to Republican members and their staffers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and even they can only view it in "a dedicated reading room," Bloomberg reported. "No one is getting a copy. We can go and read it," said Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), who indicated to the Washington Examiner the draft will be hidden away "in a basement room of an office building that adjoins the Capitol."

Bloomberg noted the high levels of secrecy surrounding this new draft are likely meant to "avoid a repeat of what happened last time," when an "outdated draft" leaked prematurely and was "quickly panned by conservatives." But House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) insisted earlier this week the bill was following the usual legislative process. “We're not hatching some bill in a backroom and plopping it on the American people's front door," Ryan said.

Apparently a "basement room" is different. Becca Stanek

December 11, 2014

In an attempt to provoke political change in Cuba, the U.S. Agency for International Development infiltrated the country's underground hip-hop movement. The goal was to spark a youth revolution against the government through popular entertainers.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that the program was inspired by student protest concerts against Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, which helped remove him from power. Musicians were recruited, like the rap duo Los Aldeanos, whose performances were restricted by the government. They received political training when an operative invited them to perform at a festival in Serbia, but never knew there was a connection with the United States.

The authorities eventually became suspicious of these festivals and concerts, and detained people involved in the program at least six times. Many were carrying classified information on their computers and flash drives, which could have put the rappers who didn’t know about the program in jeopardy. Finally, a USAID contractor told his handler that the Cubans were back in charge of one of the festivals that had been set up, and then the program was finished. Catherine Garcia

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