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Top 5 Secrets Only the President Knows

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Matt Wende

Script written by Matt Wende

We’ve all kind of just accepted that the highest levels of government keep secrets for the sake of national security, but what is it exactly we don’t know about? WatchMojo counts down the Top 5 Secrets Only the President Knows.

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Transcript
Script written by Matt Wende


Top 5 Secrets Only the President Knows


We’ve all kind of just accepted that the highest levels of government keep secrets for the sake of national security, but what is it exactly we don’t know about? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today, we’re counting down our picks for the Top 5 Secrets Only the President Knows.

For this list, we’re diving into the world of top secret information that only the highest level of government officials have access to, and taking a look at what exactly that means.

#5: Nukes


During the cold war, both the east and west produced a huge number of nuclear weapons. With the advent of ICBMs, nuclear attacks could be carried out with only minutes of warning. Given such an attack could come at literally any time, it was decided that the ability to retaliate immediately was paramount. As such, the President of the United States was given his own personal nuclear codes. You may notice wherever the president goes, he’s followed by an official looking guy with a briefcase. This is ”the football”, which contains said codes. This gives the president alone the ability to authorize and launch a nuclear missile strike from anywhere in the world.

#4: Locations of Spy Satellites


It used to be that that when the United States wanted to know what their enemies were up to, they had to fly a plane over them to capture photos. Nowadays, the U.S. uses high altitude satellites to obtain relevant information. Not only is the information obtained through these satellite systems extremely secretive; so is the location of thesatellites themselves. Needless to say, there’s really no point in having spy satellites if everyone knows where they are. As such, the secret of their locations is known to only the highest ranking of government officials, including the Commander in Chief.

#3: Secret Agents


There’s confidential, secret, top secret, and even “beyond top secret.” It’s not just something for the movies, either; It’s actually a loose term referring to the US Government’s Special Access Programs. These programs include surveillance and hacking operations, such as those carried out by the NSA and the Israeli government in an effort to disrupt Iran’s nuclear programs. This secretive security level also includes old school intelligence operations too; namely, secret agents and spies. On top of those working for the intelligence agencies, organizations like the CIA keep informants on their payroll, sort of like freelance spies. Upon his request, information on all these individuals can be granted to the president.

#2: Secret Law


It’s been famously noted that in 2014, President Obama unveiled Presidential Policy Directive, or PPD, No. 28, which was later followed by PPD No. 30 in 2015. So… what happened to PPD No. 29? Turns out, the president has the ability to authorize directives that are not made public, and deal with national security. This policy goes back for decades, and every administration has called them something different, but as far as we’re concerned, Secret Law is as good a name as any. On top of being aware of the secretive measures passed by previous administrations, only the current president and administration are aware of the new secret laws he puts into place.

#1: Kill List


In recent years, it’s become common practice to authorize drone strikes against targets deemed to be enemies of the United States. You may be wondering how exactly how the list of targets is compiled, or by who. That’s classified, but rest assured that the president has access to the list, and also the ability to sign off on attacks. In addition to authorizing drone strikes, the president has the ability watch them happen in real time. It should be noted that political assassinations are against United States law by way of an Executive Order, which puts drone strikes in a somewhat ambiguous grey area. Still, it’s a grey area the President has full autonomy over.

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