The US Central Intelligence Agency is reportedly funding a study into how to control the weather.
That's right, being able to learn to control the governments and foreign operatives of the rest of the world isn't quite enough - the CIA also wants to manipulate their climates.
Well, sort of. What the CIA is actually doing is funding part of a $630,000, 21-month study into the science of modifying the climate, known as geo-engineering.
Langley is interested in both solar radiation management (SRM) and carbon dioxide removal (CDR) techniques.
The former involves sending material into the atmosphere in an attempt to block infrared radiation and so halt rising temperatures - possibly permanently. The latter is just what it sounds like - learning to remove massive amounts of carbon dioxide from air, in order to limit the effects of climate change.
Reported by Mother Jones, the study intends to learn and describe "what is known about the viability for implementation of the proposed techniques including technological and cost considerations".
It goes on:
"The study will also discuss historical examples of related technologies (e.g., cloud seeding and other weather modification) for lessons that might be learned about societal reactions, examine what international agreements exist which may be relevant to the experimental testing or deployment of geoengineering technologies, and briefly explore potential societal and ethical considerations related to geoengineering.
This study is intended to provide a careful, clear scientific foundation that informs ethical, legal, and political discussions surrounding geoengineering."
As pointed out by the Verge, however, this isn't quite the first time that the CIA has attempted to get involved in the weather. Examples from the past include trying to start (maybe) rain storms during the Vietnam War to turn trails into impassable bogs, and experiments (possibly) to control hurricanes with silver iodine.
And they're not alone - China reportedly also tried to seed the clouds in advance of the 2008 Olympics to control the weather during the opening ceremony.
Speaking to Mother Jones, a CIA spokesman did not confirm their investment in the study but said:
"It's natural that on a subject like climate change the Agency would work with scientists to better understand the phenomenon and its implications on national security."