America’s top spies and top scientists have begun collaborating in an effort to use the CIA’s assets—including spy satellites and other gadgets—to assess the extent of environmental changes around the world. The scientists hope to gain new insights into changing patterns in clouds, glaciers, deserts, and rain forests in a bid to distinguish between summer melts and emerging climate trends, which may be the result of climate change. Norbert Untersteiner at the University of Washington argues the enormous amount of information now available is “really useful” for scientists. However, Republican Senator John Barrasso has stated that the project is a misallocation of government resources, and that the spy agency should be fighting terrorists, “not spying on sea lions.” Federal officials insist the program has little to no effect on regular intelligence gathering.
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