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When it comes to discussions of government secrecy, much of the conversation tends to revolve around the Department of Defense (DOD) or the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). After all, the U.S. military develops many of the United States’ most sensitive weapon systems used to defend America and project its power globally, and the IC gathers and analyzes sensitive information on foreign threats and external national security matters. Each year, the budget requests from the U.S. military are packed with classified and Special Access Programs, or SAPs, sporting vague code names, many of which never see the light of day. When we talk of the “black world,” most often that conversation centers around these programs and technologies suspected to be housed deep within the classified ends of the Pentagon and its various service branches.

Often left out of this conversation is the fact that there is a wholly separate cabinet-level department of the U.S. government that is arguably even more opaque in terms of secrecy and oversight than the Department of Defense. Over the last few years, allegations of secret, exotic technologies have reinvigorated claims that the DOD may be concealing scientific breakthroughs from the American public. However, if the U.S. government, or some faction within it, hypothetically came across a groundbreaking development in energy production or applied physics, a very strong case could be made that such a revolution would likely be housed deep within the Department of Energy (DOE) rather than DOD.

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