Watching the CIA

The CIA might be watching everyone else, but self-described mad scientist and disruptive technologist Virgil Griffith is monitoring the organization's behavior, too. He's also watching the Vatican, the Turkish Treasury, the BBC, Reuters, and countless companies, politicians and individuals. Griffith developed a program called the Wikiscanner that can track the origins of suspicious edits within Wikipedia, the popular online, community-compiled encyclopedia.

The program has traced 297 edits of entries covering subjects ranging from Iran's president to the Argentine navy to CIA computers. It discovered that a Vatican computer removed a reference to the involvement of Irish political leader Gerry Adams in a double murder. And the little political digs it turns up—Democrats subly ripping Rush limbaugh, for example—are pure entertainment. Griffith says his technology specializes in "creating minor public relations disasters, one company at a time." For a sample of some of his best coups, check out Wikiscanner here. —Gregory Mone