Are you just being paranoid, or is that white van parked outside your house one of many signs that you're being watched by the CIA? And if you're almost certain that you're under surveillance, how do you know if you're on a watch list?
Glad you asked! The CIA might indeed be watching if they deem you important and powerful enough, or if you pose some sort of perceived threat to society. Sure, that white van could just be the next door neighbor's maintenance man, but it could also be a sign of clandestine government operations against you.
This list is dedicated to the surveillance state we gladly surrender our personal information to each time we share our location on Facebook, or use Google Maps to find our way around town. Oh yes, Big Brother is watching, because frankly, we relish in the convenience he offers, so indulge your paranoid tendencies and read on.
If you've ever been involved with an extremist group, then you are most likely on a CIA watch list. There's even a chance that you're currently being surveilled.
While this one should be fairly obvious, the FBI defines extremist as “encouraging, condoning, justifying, or supporting the commission of a violent act to achieve political, ideological, religious, social, or economic goals.” This includes organizations such as Greenpeace, who have been accused of acts of eco-terrorism, including the destruction of private property.
Check out the Southern Poverty Law Centers list of identified hate groups and consider a new hobby if you find your favorite organization in the lineup.
Are you a powerful, influential person with a penchant for bad luck or somewhat unorthodox views? Then you may be the target of government surveillance. Several famous celebrities, inventors and musicians have declassified FBI files, leaving us to wonder just how many influencers are under close government scrutiny. The investigations range from attempted blackmail to anti-government political views.
Notable figures with declassified files include John Lennon, Anna Nicole Smith, Steve Jobs, Marilyn Monroe, and Frank Sinatra.
Are you frequently stopped at the airport and searched? Some innocent bystanders become accidental victims of surveillance and investigation due to one unfortunate factor: sharing the name of someone on a government watch list.
The official watch list is kept secret from the general public, so as not to alert suspected criminals. Try booking a plane ticket and you'll soon know whether your name is flagged. Luckily, there's a redress process available for these victims and hopefully it's less grueling than a trip to the DMV.
Are you paranoid, or did you really just see a pizza delivery man that looked identical to the office worker who passed you on the street earlier this afternoon? And what about the woman at the grocery store who seemed to be following you?
These irrational fears of being followed may not be so far-fetched. One of the main assets of the FBI - known as Special Surveillance Groups or SSGs - employ a myriad of Bond-worthy techniques that leave the unsuspecting target blissfully unaware they're being tracked.
These highly trained operatives are in constant communication over radio, following for short amounts of time and trading off positions as the target moves from location to location. SSG operatives will often bring several changes of clothing and various props, disguising themselves to avoid suspicion.