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Gerald Nino, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security

A senior American spymaster says he's out to automate much of the bread-and-butter monitoring work carried out by intelligence agents.

At Foreign Policy, Jenna McLaughlin writes that Robert Cardillo, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, has set out to automate three-quarters of imagery intelligence currently carried out by his agency. That includes monitoring TV, drone, satellite and other video feeds from around the world.

Not everyone is convinced: Ultimately, the work product of espionage can lead to war, and some experts worry that a bad algorithm could result in a disastrous policy error.

But the mountain of data is too much not to automate: Much data collection is drudgery — agents can miss key imagery amid fast-growing video. Cardillo is telling his analysts that the shift won't result in fewer spies, but more sophisticated analytical work for them to carry out.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Elijah Nouvelage, Alex Wong/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence. Trump believes the vice president can solve all his problems by simply refusing to certify the Electoral College results. It's a simple test of loyalty: Trump or the U.S. Constitution.

"The end is coming, Donald."

The male voice in the TV ad boomed through the White House residence during "Fox & Friends" commercial breaks. Over and over and over. "The end is coming, Donald. ... On Jan. 6, Mike Pence will put the nail in your political coffin."

Big Tech's post-riot reckoning

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The Capitol insurrection means the anti-tech talk in Washington is more likely to lead to action, since it's ever clearer that the attack was planned, at least in part, on social media.

Why it matters: The big platforms may have hoped they'd move to D.C.'s back burner, with the Hill focused on the Biden agenda and the pandemic out of control. But now, there'll be no escaping harsh scrutiny.

28 mins ago - Technology

Why domestic terrorists are so hard to police online

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Domestic terrorism has proven to be more difficult for Big Tech companies to police online than foreign terrorism.

The big picture: That's largely because the politics are harder. There's more unity around the need to go after foreign extremists than domestic ones — and less danger of overreaching and provoking a backlash.