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Covert tactics or actions are developed to influence foreign governments, organizations, persons, or events in support of the foreign policy objectives of the United States, while keeping secret the U.S. government’s support. Covert actions differ from clandestine ones, the latter referring to the tactical secrecy of an operation; covert means the identity of the sponsoring government is secret or not acknowledged publicly. Covert tactics include propaganda, also known as psychological warfare; economic operations; political support; and paramilitary activities, which until 1976 included political assassinations. Since the September 11, 2001, attacks, covert tactics also have included renditions, cyberwar, and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones. Under the National Security Act of 1947, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been the lead agency in ...

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