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Government Conspiracy

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"This meeting is not taking place."

Drama genre or plot in which the Powers That Be and/or The Government is evil and hiding something/trying to assassinate someone/establishing a puppet foreign government. Considering how incompetent the government are considered to be in just about every other area, it's remarkable how good they are at covering stuff up. A subtrope of The Conspiracy.

In fantasy examples, they might be the ones perpetuating the Masquerade, while the heroes want to reveal it. In disaster fiction, they may have caused the disaster in the first place.

Sometimes, though, the heroes are part of it, and have good reasons for upholding the Masquerade. Or maybe there's a good reason for all the hush-hush, and the two groups just didn't know better.

Compare No Such Agency. Likely to reside in a Black Site. See also Shadow Government.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan:
    • The walls that surround and protect all that's left of humankind from the Titans have countless Colossal Titans inside of them. Only the royals and the high-ranking members of the Wall Cult know about them, and they keep it secret from all other humans.
    • The government has also banned books about the world outside the Walls and made it a taboo to even show interest in venturing outside the Walls. They also have the military return weapons not made to their specifications, even if the weapon was significantly improved.
    • Even worse are the Military Police's Black Ops, an elite death squad equipped with anti-soldier 3D-Maneuver gear and led by a serial killer, Kenny Ackerman. They rule over the rest of the military police and have one objective: kill anyone who threatens the status quo. Their usual targets are civilians whose only crimes were quietly criticizing the government, trying to escape the country... or even making technology that could destroy the titans for good.
    • As it turns out, all of the above is done for one purpose: To ensure the Titans' rule over humanity. The most damning thing is that the ruling Reiss family has had access to a power that could have freed humanity at any time for nearly a century, but did nothing.
    • And the reason why they're such extreme isolationists? Because there is an entire world of humans out there, and they want Paradis to die. Centuries ago, the ancestors of Paradis, the Eldians, were all-conquering maniacs who used the Titans to raid the world. After the collapse of their empire, the other nations don't care about the hypocrisy in treating their former oppressors like subhumans. The nearest nation, the Kingdom of Marley, is a fascist state reminiscent of Nazi Germany - who have blimps, machine guns, and even their own spec-ops Titans, and they need to exterminate Paradis to collect more Titan Shifters for their army. It really is death out there.
    • As a final insult, the Kingdom of Marley is secretly ruled by an elite family of Eldians, who have pulled the strings of their non-Eldian subjects with bigotry and fanaticism and threw the other Eldians under the bus with apartheid and forced conscription up to and including human sacrifice.
  • Brynhildr in the Darkness: The villains are implied to have powerful contacts in the government because in Episode 6 Ryouta is warned that the police will be on the lookout for a Harnessed, meaning they must be in on the whole deal.
  • The .hack series' system administrators work much the same way up until the end of .hack//Legend of the Twilight.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist, though the manga and the 2003 anime adaptation differ in how many people are aware of/involved in the conspiracy. The conspiracy itself is different in the manga and first anime; in the manga, Father and the upper echelons of the military are planning to create a utopia through Human Sacrifice. In the 2003 anime, the conspiracy is Dante using the country (through Pride) to create situations that will lead to the creation of Philosopher's Stones (again through mass human sacrifice) that Dante needs to fuel her immortality.
  • The Gundam series has had a number of these:
    • Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory suggests that the Titans came about due to a conspiracy in the Federation government. Namely, Jamitov Hymem knew of Operation Stardust, and willingly played along (without Delaz's knowledge), thinking that the resultant destruction would frighten the Federation into approving an autonomous military force in space. It worked perfectly.
    • Gundam SEED has LOGOS, a group of extremely rich weapons manufacturers who spark wars in an effort to keep selling their products. They have several world leaders in their collective pocket. They are also the true leaders of the global terrorist organization Blue Cosmos.
    • Celestial Being in Gundam 00 has hundreds, perhaps thousands, of agents in numerous governments and powerful corporations across the world, which explains where their vast information network and funding comes from. Ribbons Almarck starts one in the second season, pulling the strings of the newly-united world government to do whatever he wants.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn meanwhile reveals that Laplace's Box is this for both the Vist Foundation and the Universal Century as a whole. Especially since the contents would effectively destroy the entire Earth Federation if they were ever revealed.
  • Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit: From the moment you read "Nanomachines in children" you knew there had to be some government plot to control these children's futures. And there is: not only can they execute rebels or delinquents at any given time, but the constant threat of government execution while their parents watch instills a mindset that death is always looming and it would be better to die for a cause than die rebelling to the end (something that has been shown up until now in a positive light from the reader's perspective), which makes the consenters eager to willingly sacrifice their lives for their country. Also known as perfectly disposable soldiers. And the kicker? Once the citizens willingly accept their role, the nanomachines are removed before the deadline to instill "grateful loyalty" to the country, replacing the physical shackles with spiritual ones. And it works.
  • Lupin III: Island of Assassins: The island's location is unmarked on any map, since the world's major governments all have a vested interest in keeping it hidden: because the Tarantulas are their private hit squad. Which is why they have a Kill Sat in place to shoot down anything approaching the island, or attempting to leave it, without authorization. Lupin tells Jigen that it's the secret behind all the disappearances in The Bermuda Triangle.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. Turns out that The Federation was behind Jail Scaglietti and all his projects.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico has one that changes the entire purpose of the war: the spacebound so-called "Jovian Lizards" are from Jupiter, but they're not lizards nor aliens, but humans driven off to Jupiter by the government. Also, they've gone completely insane; now the government has an incredibly simple means of propaganda that allows them to completely control the ideology and motivation of the Jovians to whatever they want, whenever they want, and it's broadcast in public and watched by the protagonists every single day without them realizing a thing: That anime Show Within a Show you see every other episode? It has become the Jovians' religion.
  • In the past, Nagi's work in Negima! Magister Negi Magi was made more difficult by the fact that Fate's group had several secret supporters in the various governments of the Magic World. In the present, considering how one of Nagi's old friends warned our heroes to be wary of Ostia's Governor-General, it seems Negi is in a similar situation as well. That's just the tip of the iceberg. The masterminds behind the attack on Negi's home village were members of the Megalo Mesembria Senate who have been pulling the strings of the Senate since the beginning of the war, which they helped start.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: The shadowy SEELE manipulates both the UN and the Japanese government by claiming that they are trying to prevent The End of the World as We Know It, but their true interest is to make sure that the apocalyptic event turns out in their favor.
  • The World Government in One Piece comes down hard on anyone who can read poneglyphs, is scheming to get their hands on plans to a Lost Technology superweapon, and keeps a tight lid on the truth behind the "Blank Century" in the world's history. What are they hiding? To a lesser extent, they also quickly spin any story that might paint pirates in a favorable light, or simply embarrasses the World Government. The events of Alabasta, resolved by the Straw Hats, were credited to Smoker because he was the highest ranking Marine there at the time. They would have done the same with Dressrosa, but Admiral Fujitora torpedoed those plans by broadcasting what really happened before the government even knew about it.
    • And then there's the secret known only to the highest level of the World Government: despite the WG's official stance that there is no single ruler standing above all the constituent nations, there is in fact a Shadow Dictator known only as Imu, to whom even the Five Elders (stated for years to be the highest authority in the WG) bow to.
  • Rebuild World: Where to even begin? Cyberpunk Mega Corps love these.
    • Yanigisawa, with approval fron the city government, lures monsters to attack the city by having a nationalist rebel bait them there, as an excuse to set up a base deeper in the ruins for profit (and keep the defense budget high). The news reports this as a nationalist rebel attack, and it technically sort of is, but also an Inside Job.
    • When Akira foils a relic heist against the government, to cover up for their incompetence in letting it happen in the first place, city officials jack up Akira’s medical bills to the max in order to force him to accept their hush money or enter Indentured Servitude like all debtors. As part of said deal, his record in stopping the criminals is erased, with the official story being a city sleeper agent had stopped them as part of a sting.
    • Due to two gangs in the slums becoming as powerful as an N.G.O. Superpower, the government hires Viola to make them fight each other in a Mob War with the slums being acceptable collateral damage, since it’s less expensive than sending the army in. Viola lures Akira into attacking one gang with Sheryl and a pickpocket who he has a vendetta against as The Bait, and the other gang into exploiting the opportunity. They finish the job with a secret Decapitation Strike on both gangs.
    • The fact that the Rebuild Institute made a secret deal with government officials to spike slum dwellers food with Nanomachines designed to make them into Differently Powered Individuals known as Old World Connectors, and this led to most subjects dying due to either hideous mutations or from the lesser known side effect of connectors being that their emotions are broadcast into others, causing Akira's Dark and Troubled Past.
    • Since the One Nation Under Copyright government is an Enemy Mine alliance of MegaCorp, they are in a state of constant cold war with one another. Akira gets involved in fighting several different battles against monsters who got lured towards Sakashita Heavy Industries locations by other companies, as well as special forces pretending to be nationalist rebels striking at one of their Old World Connector agents, all a False Flag Operation. This is noted by the CEO of Sakashita to be nothing new; the strikes were to test their strength.
    • There being a Secret War between the Corporate Government, and The Remnant of the Precursors in the form of their Artificial Intelligence. The latter of whom have the goal of annihilating the current human civilizations to try and restore the old one, being aligned with the Rebuild Institute's efforts to being back Old World Connectors.
    • Yanigisawa striking a secret deal with another MegaCorp to allow Akira to set up in his Home Base in the slums after a bounty is put on his head, in order to put on a good show of the Lion Steel corporation's strength while attacking it in order to help convince Olivia to join them, with the principal conspiritors being Yanigisawa, the Lion Steel CEO Alice, and Olivia herself. Yanigisawa's reward being knowledge of human agents working under A.I.s like Alpha.
  • The manga version of Shadow Star has one of these observing the shadow dragons, as well as being involved in a lot of cover-ups and extreme military measures.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: The leaders of the CCG have been cooperating with a secret organization of ghouls for more than a century, to maintain control over society. It gets worse, though: the elite Investigators trained at a facility known as the Sunlit Garden are actually short-lived Half-Human Hybrid Tyke Bombs, including Kishou Arima himself. And The Clan that has commanded the CCG since its inception? The famous clan of ghoul hunters tasked by the Emperor with protecting Japan? The Washuu Clan are also ghouls, meaning that the three highest ranked officials within the CCG are themselves ghouls, using human pawns to exterminate any competition or threats to their authority.

    Comic Books 
  • The Iron Man vs. Whiplash miniseries features an organization called "Balance", a group dedicated to providing Iron Man armors for service to the various world governments, including the United States, due to Tony Stark's refusal to share the technology with them. They had created crude, but effective clones of Tony to bypass the security protocols needed to get to his suits, and deployed one such suit against a Russian village on behalf of Vladimir Putin to eliminate protestors against his government. Doing so leads to Tony Stark's arrest for the attack, and to the rise of Whiplash, who's father was the primary target in the attack. Both Iron Man and Whiplash are forced to pull a brief Enemy Mine situation to take them out, only for Tony to have to break it when Whiplash nearly kills the head of the agency. Nevertheless, despite the conspiracy being exposed, the FBI is unable (or unwilling) to press charges due to "lack of evidence" against them.
  • In the 1998 Marvel Comics two-part limited series Marvel: Conspiracy, a reporter gradually discovers investigates a mysterious group called "Control". The investigation eventually leads him to a retired military general and the only surviving founder, who explains that "Control" was founded to control extranormals, but got completely out of control to the extent that the general hasn't got a clue who, or even whether anyone is controlling it anymore. Soon after the revelation, the reporter meets a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, who explains that the general is actually a nutcase who's been using his black ops resources to make his claims convincing. The comic leaves it ambiguous over who's telling the truth.
  • Superman:
    • Prior to the New 52 reboot, there was Project 7734, headed up by General Sam Lane with the express purpose of squashing all Kryptonians — including Superman.
    • In said reboot, however, we have a new one in Superman Unchained: The Machine, home of Wraith and many alien technologies that have been incorporated into human operations. It was formed by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938, and has been a major force for the military ever since from behind the scenes as a Benevolent Conspiracy.
  • Paperinik New Adventures: The US government and army is having secret meetings with the Evronians and keeps the population in the dark even when they realize they are hostile in order to not spread large panic that would cripple their ability to fight bad. There have been a couple of tries to inform the public of it,but even Paperinik thinks it is better this way.
  • The Simpsons: One issue has Homer and Lisa stumbling onto NASA's dark secret: After losing too many probes to Uranus, they decided to save money and effort by filming faked footage in the desert. Homer nearly blows the whole deal due to defacing their set with a golf-club, but the scientists are quickly able to bluff their way out.
  • In one two-part Amazing Spider-Man story during Eric Larson's run, Spidey teamed up with The Punisher to find out who was hording thousands of tons of cocaine but not selling it. It turned out that an agency in the actual U.S. Government (which one was not revealed) was behind this scheme. Worried that the economy's dependence on the Gold Standard might be a liability if gold were to lose value in a crisis, this agency was actually considering using cocaine as the new standard, reasoning that drugs always had value. While both Spider-Man and the Punisher knew this was a sick and misguided idea, they decided against exposing it; not only would it be hard for a judge to believe "a man in a mask like me and a walking gun shop like you" as Spidey put it, knowing about such a thing would hurt — if not destroy — what trust remained in America's government. (However, they did destroy the cocaine. Letting the conspiracy continue was not an option.)
  • Strikeforce: Morituri:
    • In one instance, four subjects were treated to the Morituri Process without the knowledge or supervision of the creator of the process. They ended up as misshapen mutants who simply wanted to die.
    • Later, unknown to the heroes, the Morituri process was used on a trio of killers to create assassins. They were ordered to murder the surviving members of the Strikeforce and the Prime Minister of the world government.
  • Wolverine's backstory is filled with various government groups who always seem to be up to no good. The most famous of which, is Weapon-X, the Canadian/US research unit who initially gave him his adamantium skeleton and would later create Deadpool.

    Fan Works 
  • In Pokémon fanfic Clouded Sky, the government of Waytar, the region in which the story takes place, doesn't want anybody to know the truth about what's really beyond Waytar's Shield and are willing to use some underhanded methods to keep the secret from getting out.
  • Celestia and Luna have several going in Diaries of a Madman. The first is perpetuating the myth that they control the sun and moon, the second being the covering up of "true magic". Nav's sudden disappearance later on in the story is thought to be the result of one as well, though it's clearly false from the reader's perspective.
  • In Equestria: A History Revealed, according to the narrator, everything is a government conspiracy. They've been sending her subtle signs of the "true" history to toy with her. Little do they know, she'll reveal the "truth" to the world, whether the world wants to hear it or not.
  • Everfree Infection AU: Princess Cadence is hiding the existence of the infection from the Crystal Empire's residents. She publicly justifies the presence of the giant shield spell over the Empire that's keeping the spores out (and the residents in) by claiming it's there to keep them safe from a nasty winter storm.
  • In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, the Republic Intelligence Service seems to have subverted the entire Trans-Galactic Republic to the point where its favored Private Military Contractor can call up a shipyard and obtain hardware previously reserved for Spacelane Protection. It theoretically has a good reason for working to defeat the Alien Invasion Flood left unchecked is bad but its methods are rather brutal. Knocking out a democratic government doesn't bode well either, until you consider what the source material tends to think about democracy.
  • Broken Souls features one in the Harry Potter universe's Ministry of Magic and the Moscow Clique, a powerful group in Russian wizarding politicians that have been controlling the country for nearly twenty years. A German reporter and his paper were following a story on them, investigating the possibility of them placing moles inside foreign governments in order to trade money for secrets and vice versa.
  • In Ambience: Platoon (Moebius Four), there is an ultranationalist far-right faction within the Diet that is bent on returning control of the ship girls to Japanese hands, by force if need be. They try twice to assassinate Franklin and, when that fails, try to pull a Uriah Gambit on him. They eventually get their wish when an Abyssal attack on Okinawa incapacitates him.
  • Ambience: A Fleet Symphony:
    • the fact that it was Xenolith/The Abyssal who brought Lauren into the second F.L.E.E.T. Project, and that Lauren and Jeannie's escape from it led to an executive order for their capture by none less than the US President himself, implies two possibilities. Either the Inner Circle is directly in cahoots with the Feds, or they have deeply infiltrated the Feds. Neither possibility bears thinking about. It gets worse when Shoukaku's Abyssalised weapon reacts to Damon, suggesting a link between the Genesis Thesis Project and the Abyssals.
    • Baltimore. As revealed in chapter 189, the Feds were working on something, and when it resulted in a mutation-inducing outbreak, quarantined the whole city far faster than they should have been able to, then hushed the whole thing up.
  • The Pokémon fanfic The Power That's Inside shows a government that controls Gyms, Pokemon Centers, Poke Marts, all utilities...and marriages.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: SEELE is supposedly an UN Committee created to oversee NERV. In reality they control the UN.
  • In Jewel of Darkness, it's revealed that Mad Mod was originally the head of the British Institute for the Prevention of Metahuman Crisis, a secret agency dedicated to "rehabilitating" Meta- and Super-criminals in order to prevent them from threatening British society. Then his peers found out he was planning on doing the same to key members of the government in order to take over the country, forcing him to go on the run.
  • In Misaligned Gemini, Nominus and Sentinel Prime use their political might to secretly lock away the Titansparks in the Pyramid and ensure they cannot be forged, along with doing the same to Sideswipe's split-spark until long into Sentinel's reign. Nominus also blames all of the war crimes committed by his group in the War of the Threefold Spark solely on Pyra Magna and her Companions to leave himself and his new Senate with a squeaky-clean image. Both of these cover-ups are revealed to the public after Sentinel's death which makes many mistrust Optimus Prime's government as well. Sentinel's final orders to kill Starscream, his former Head of Intelligence, imply that there are more conspiracies still being covered up.
  • In the Naruto Fanfic Team 8, there is one going on inside the Leaf Village between the Hyuuga Clan and many members of the Village Council, with the ringleaders seemingly being Hiashi and Danzo. Although their exact goals and motivations have not been clarified yet, it is heavily implied that they ordered the murder of Kurenai's former team and had been actively promoting hate against Naruto inside the village. Some characters, including the Hokage and Kurenai, are aware of its existence but have been unable to bring it down through legal means.
  • An interesting variation happens in the Harry Potter story The Chosen Six. The MI-X is clearly set up by the legal government of the United Kingdom, and its purpose seems to be to prepare for an eventual conflict with Magical Britain. Their exact motivations for doing so as of now are still unknown.
  • Children of Remnant: While Atlas doesn't officially attach itself to the Schnees and Belladonnas in their plan to assassinate Jaune, they clearly know about it and aren't trying to stop it. They even get Kali out of jail after she attempts to kill him, and once that's done they all but invade Vale to finish the war they've now started.
  • Mythos Effect: As the Turians' war with the New Earth Federation grinds on slowly towards defeat, most of the upper echelons of the Volus government start conspiring on how to use the situation to put pressure on key Turian leaders to grant them independence.
  • In Three Strikes, within the Osean military there are those who want to see Trigger dead, particularly Lieutenant General Shepard and Brigadier General Clemens, going as far as to hire Mimic Squadron to assassinate her under the belief the Osean Defense Forces are becoming too reliant on her abilities. Clemens eventually reveals that her Belkan descent, along with the identity of her family, led the conspirators to believe that she was a risk factor; that she had intentionally killed Harling, and she may join a group to restore Belka to its former glory. Even when communications are going down the conspirators sent out orders that she is a traitor and must be killed. Some Osean forces attempt to follow those orders while others don’t, seeing how stupid those orders are.
  • A Is A: Due to the existence of the multiverse and partnerships between various groups, several government conspiracies have cropped up, though the majority seem to be upheld by the protagonists rather than their foes. To wit:
    • Stargate Command is still carrying on their exploration of the galaxy and undeclared war against the Goa'uld.
    • Amestris, now ruled by Gen. Grumman, is concealing the truth of Father's plans for the Promised Day for fear it will rip their nation apart.
    • Team Rainbow become the primary interface between their universe and those in the Multiversal Task Force, under the justification that their world isn't ready for what revealation would carry with it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • American Ultra: The CIA and the military shut down Liman, West Virginia under the ruse of a CDC quarantine for a new virus they blame on Mike and Lasseter as supposedly animal rights activists that contracted it from test monkeys (implying that she even had sex with one).
  • Backdraft: A local one; Swayzak made several backdoor deals with local businessmen (that included a doctored manpower study) to shut down firehouses across the city and convert them into community centers, with lucrative construction contracts awarded to the conspirators' shell company for work that is never done.
  • Banshee Chapter is a horror movie that explores the MK Ultra government conspiracy that was about secret gruesome experiments with people.
  • Big Game has one spring out of nowhere, although which government and what it's trying to achieve is awfully spoileriffic. It is revealed in the last few minutes that the CIA and Vice President were responsible for the shooting down of Air Force One and the 'freelance terrorist' hunting the president was actually a CIA operative. They hoped that by killing Moore they would create enough national fear to spark a new War on Terror.
  • Capricorn One: In a plot based on the real moon landing conspiracy theory, the government forces some astronauts to fake a trip to Mars, as they've calculated this won't actually work but don't want to be shown up before the public. Later to cover it up they get hunted down by government operatives.
  • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we find out that S.H.I.E.L.D., a multinational government agency that has appeared in pretty much every Marvel up to this point, is actually being controlled by a Neo-Nazi terrorist organization called HYDRA, reformed from its days in WWII.
  • Chariot. Operation Chariot is a secret government program where in the event of a massive attack on the United States, valuable citizens are kidnapped and placed on a high-flying aircraft so they'll be safe. None of them have been informed about this in advance in case they refuse.
  • Conspiracy Theory of course. Turns out the Deranged Taxi Driver Conspiracy Theorist played by Mel Gibson is actually right about one of his theories, but which one? He's a Manchurian Agent programmed to kill people who find out about actual government conspiracies.
  • The Cube film series:
    • Subverted in the first Cube, where the protagonists at first speculate that the government is responsible for the mysterious cubical death maze and putting unwilling people in there. A character who is revealed to have worked on it explains that there is no grand master plan behind it and it sort of grew by itself without any oversight.
    • Played straight by the sequels, where in Cube 2: Hypercube the hypercube is run by a secret cabal called Izon made up of military men and a Washington think tank, and in Cube Zero where the proto-cube is controlled by a future theocratic dictatorship.
  • The main antagonists of Cy Warrior are the US government, who made CB 3 as the perfect soldier and want to capture him so the secret doesn't get out.
  • In Defence of the Realm, when a teenage boy who escaped from jail is trying to escape from the police, he ends up breaking into a U.S. Air Force base in Britain, nearly causing a plane carrying nuclear weapon to crash, and the boy is killed by those who don't want anyone to know what happened. When an MP asks questions about what happened that night, he's framed and discredited, and two reporters who try to break the story end up being killed, along with the MP's secretary. That said, the story eventually breaks and the conspiracy is eventually revealed.
  • In La Habanera, the American authorities in Puerto Rico conspire with a local businessman to cover up an outbreak of "Puerto Rico fever", so as to avoid damaging commerce on the island.
  • Hell House LLC:
    • Played straight and subverted. Local authorities in Abaddon, New York actively covered up what happened in the Hell House attraction placing all emergency service personnel under a gag order forbidding them from discussing what happened. They initially claim the deaths of fifteen people, including most of the Hell House crew, was caused by a gas leak but this gets blown by leaked audio and video footage. Afterwards they settle on claiming it was all due to an unexplained technical malfunction and actively warn the public to stay away. That said they don't seem to be trying that hard to keep people away mostly hoping that boarding up the hotel will work. This doesn't stop the documentary crew, a journalist they interview and thrill-seekers from breaking in.
    • Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel: The conspiracy has gotten more active. Police are constantly watching the Abaddon Hotel, the town has sued to get the documentary of what happened at the Hell House attraction off the market and they continue to insist the whole fiasco was a "malfunction" with the Hell House crew's deaths explained away as suicide or disappearing to avoid legal repercussions. This doesn't stop anyone from breaking in, getting creepy footage and some never coming out.
  • Hidden Agenda first has the cover-up of a human rights activist's murder in Northern Ireland, which itself was to cover up a larger conspiracy inside of the British government.
  • Oliver Stone's JFK is heavy with this, using true facts and made-up details to point to a big government conspiracy.
  • The Men in Black may or may not actually be part of the government, but they act much like the usual Government Conspiracy does as they carry out their mission of maintaining the Masquerade. (And, contrary to the usual ways the trope is normally used, they're the good guys.) It seems they may not be anymore. They may have started as part of the government, but as K notes in the first movie, they don't report to anyone anymore, as "They ask too many questions," and are privately funded through owning the patents on several modern technologies.
  • Nothing but Trouble: The FBI and New Jersey state officials are well aware that Judge Valkenheiser's court is operating completely outside the US legal system, even sending him difficult criminals to execute so they don't have to deal with the red tape. So when the two leads try to report what they've seen in Valkenvania to the authorities, they walk right into Valkenheiser's trap.
  • The Parallax View: inspired by Who Shot JFK?; an Intrepid Reporter discovers a program to create 'lone gunman' assassins for political murders.
  • Return of the Living Dead: Trioxin, the zombie-creating chemical, was originally developed by the U.S. government, and is only released once again in the first film through their carelessness by subcontracting its storage to people who don't know how to handle it. In the third movie, the military is still conducting Trioxin experiments on fresh corpses.
  • Three Days of the Condor: a CIA employee accidentally uncovers an illegal CIA conspiracy to start a war in the Middle East.
  • The X-Files: Fight the Future served to advance several of the TV series' plot arcs, notably the uncovering of massive government cover-ups.
    • And the sequel pretty much ignored most of it.

  • In Adaptation., The Government is keeping it secret that aliens have visited earth. The government has also experimented with alien technology to create Super Soldiers.
  • American Gods includes the typical sinister government agents, complete with a "black train" that serves as a mobile prison. The real US government is not to blame, however. The conspiracy theorists themselves created the Spookshow through their fervent belief in its existence. Even though the agents don't show authorization, they successfully bully the local authorities into cooperating.
  • Area 51: Initially, the US government had long been covering up flying saucers which they held for decades and test-flew regularly with faked alien abductions, cattle mutilations, crop circles etc., besides trying to crack other mysterious technology they found on Earth while also hiding it from other people. Further, they hid the source of the above aliens. Later, it all gets exposed.
  • The Books of Ember:
    • The mayor, some of his guards, and storeroom worker Looper were secretly stealing and hording some rare items that they found in storage (which had supposedly run out long ago) rather than sharing them with the entire city.
    • The plans set by the Builders themselves could qualify. Going through all the trouble of keeping the true contents of the box a secret. Or seeing to it that no one knew the history of the world leading up to the disaster in an attempt to start from a clean slate.
  • Chung Kuo has the Ministry, the only ministry without a name, that is tasked with hiding the truth about the past by all means possible.
  • In "The Dead Past", it turns out that the government has a stranglehold on science in a massive conspiracy to prevent science from rediscovering an apparatus capable of looking into the past. It's also a deconstruction, because it turns out that this is for humanity's own good, as "the past" starts at about a second ago, and the device can see anywhere in the world, thus making privacy obsolete. The protagonists fail to realize this until after they've managed to publicize the technology far and wide.
    Araman: Nobody knew anything, but you all just took it for granted that the government was stupidly bureaucratic, vicious, tyrannical, given to suppressing research for the hell of it. It never occurred to any of you that we were trying to protect mankind as best we could.
  • The Divine Cities: In the first book, City of Stairs, Shara at last finds out that Dr. Pangyui was in fact murdered by his own government to bury what he found out about the Kaj's — and thus the prime minister's, i.e. Shara's aunt Vinya's — semi-divine background.
  • In The Dreamside Road, The League of Earth’s Nations and their investigating body, the IHSA, successfully kept the existence of the paranormal, supernatural, and extraterrestrial secret for decades, but the facade collapsed in the years leading up to the start of the story.
  • In the backstory of Fate/strange Fake, in the decade of the 1930s, the U.S. Government sent a team to investigate the Third Holy Grail War in Fuyuki, which became known as the worst-managed Holy Grail War, even worse than the clusterfucks of the Fourth and Fifth. The teams got the bare essentials for a second-rate Holy Grail War, but a certain traitor offered to teach them a way to get things done faster. Taking a piece of Fuyuki's Grail, they prepared it in Snowfield, Nevada, and awaited eighty long years for their False Grail War to begin...
  • In Fatherland, the victorious-in-WWII Nazis conduct a murderous conspiracy to keep the Holocaust a secret.
  • In Good Omens, Adam devours a collection of New Age magazines, and shares what he's learned with his friends, including that the reason nobody knows about this stuff is because there's a government conspiracy to keep it all secret. When his friends ask why, he's blank; the writers of The New Aquarian just take it for granted that this is what governments do.
  • Harry Potter
  • These are frequently the villains in novels by James Byron Huggins.
  • In I Am the Cheese, it's eventually revealed that Adam's family was placed in Witness Protection after his reporter father learned something he shouldn't about the government. The Cruel Twist Ending is that Adam's parents were murdered in front of him by the feds, and he's been trapped in a mental Groundhog Day Time Loop in an asylum while government agents try to find out what Awful Truth he knows. And the ending implies they're done trying to get something useful out of him.
  • Illuminatus! introduces, inverts, subverts and turns it all rightish-side-up-again. It also (among many other things) asks what might happen when quite a lot of competing conspiracy theories are all active at the same time, with each having part of the power and no one group able to grab everything.
  • In The Laundry Files, "The Laundry" is the name of a branch of the UK civil service responsible for dealing with incursions of monsters. Amongst other things, they make people who (accidentally or otherwise) attempt to summon an Eldritch Abomination or other Things Man Was Not Meant to Know disappear, either in the traditional way or by giving them a regular civil service job to keep them out of trouble. Definitely a case of a benign conspiracy, as nobody wants to end up timesharing their cortex with a demonic intelligence because some computer nerd accidentally wrote a summoning algorithm...
  • MJ-12 (Majestic Twelve) in Little Green Men is responsible for simulating alien activity to keep American citizens alarmed enough to vote for lavish funding for military aerospace programs.
  • Much of the plot of Newshound focuses on the discovery and investigation of a conspiracy involving abuse of the no fly list.
  • This is the entire point of Nineteen Eighty-Four — a Government Conspiracy covering up the truth so thoroughly and so successfully that whatever it says effectively becomes the truth. Note that George Orwell saw plenty of these in Real Life.
  • The Paradox Trilogy has the Joint Investigatory Spatial Anomaly Task Force, a secret organization charged with battling Eldritch Abominations called phantoms. It was primarily founded by the Terran Republic, but because of the universal threat posed to all humans by phantoms, they are also allowed to wield near-absolute authority by the governments of territories which are independent from or even on hostile terms with the Republic.
  • The Radix: Knights of Malta have occupied several USA government positions, using them for all kinds of shady business, including the hunt for the eponymous MacGuffin.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Two men. Two continents. At least Seven Kingdoms and a couple of city states and probably not just the one Crown with uncomfortable chair. One wide-ranging and free-wheeling plan to use them all. Isn't that right, Lord "the Spider" Varys and Illyrio Mopatis? It's not the largest in terms of the number of instigators or the complexity in its base premise, but... heavens above, it's large in scope! On the face of it, they are probably using the government of the Seven Kingdoms, various Essosi resources they have and their wits and outright gall to hand the Targaryens back the throne they lost. A loss which, all to likely, they probably played some small part in, once the situation came to light. (They have been playing each exiled Targaryen for all they are worth, while looking like support.) It's probably the biggest two-man con-job in the history of their world, as well.
    • Petyr Baelish may have less of a wide-ranging plan and less well, but if you think he isn't using his position for his own ends... Well, there's this bridge for sale... You know the whole civil war? He instigated it while Varys was trying to put the breaks on the whole building mess for the timing of his own plan.
    • Lady Dunstin is convinced the Citadel controls politics throughout the Seven Kingdoms for its own ends through the maesters that are oh-so useful to the lords they in turn rule through. Yes-no: they are deliberately directing knowledge and culture, not specifically politics. Most of them wish to end the reliance on magical lore.
  • In The Southern Reach Trilogy, the titular Southern Reach is a secret government organization tasked with covering up the existence of the Eldritch Location Area X and sending in teams to explore it. The conspiracy actually extends to the members of the expeditions themselves: the maps they are given are deliberately incomplete and they are falsely informed about the numbering of their expedition.
  • In the Star Trek Novel 'Verse, the Zife Administration's actions on Tezwa, and their attempts to cover it up afterwards. In Star Trek: A Time to Kill, President Zife violated the Khitomer Accords with the Klingon Empire by illegally arming Tezwa, a neutral border world, as part of a contingency plan during the war against the Dominion. Later, the Tezwans use these weapons to attack the Klingons. Zife and his Chief of Staff, Koll Azernal, then order the planet occupied by Starfleet troops, ostensibly to help it rebuild from the Klingon counterstrike, but really to dismantle any evidence of Federation involvement. They also seek to frame another government for arming the Tezwans. Fake evidence is smuggled through the Defense Secretary via criminal organization the Orion Syndicate.
  • The plot of The Tenets of Futilism revolves around a conspiracy. After finding a senator hanging above his desk, a young woman named Sasha takes his journal out of undeniable curiosity. Reading one of its entries leads to her discovering the American government's plans to put excessive fluoride into the water supply, rendering the citizenry stupid, obedient, and impressionable. Turns out, all those people suspicious about fluoridation were on the right track. The substance does, in fact, have an effect on the mind, but only through very high dosages.
  • Terra Ignota:
    • A benevolent version is at the center of the first two books of the series. The supposedly disparate Hives are actually very closely intertwined through the relations their leaders have in Madame's brothel/church. Despite the general debauchery and the world's leaders literally being in bed with each other, they genuinely do value the safety and stability of the world over their own power, conducting secret negotiations and deals away from the public eye in the knowledge that should that ever come out, no matter how benevolent their intentions may be there would be a massive public outcry.
    • A separate conspiracy in which the President of the Humanists, the Chief Director of the Mitsubishi and the Head of the European Parliament are involved is more ambiguous. Turns out that they've been behind a secret group of assassins conducting mathematically determined assassinations of certain individuals in order to keep the world's politics balanced, resulting in several hundred years of uninterrupted peace around the globe. On the other hand, their victims are innocents often uninvolved with politics and number in the thousands.
  • In the first three of the Uglies series, the government lets extensive surgery happen on everyone to make them beautiful the moment they turn 16. It turns out during the operation your brain is messed with to make you vapid, stupid, and forgetful, but good at heart. This is a subversion as although everyone is stupid it has stopped wars, poverty, and prejudice, all the while the environment is doing fine.
  • The Wandering has a government conspiracy on Neshi's homeworld, where the people in charge are under the influence of spirit beings known as Natasians, shaping events that lead to Neshi and a La Résistance group called the Jerusalemites infiltrating the Natasians' citadel to discover their secret plans.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The short-lived Agent X had, as one of its Story Arc plot points, a "shadow government" being formed by various high-ranking government officials (including the Speaker of the House) to carry out illegal covert operations to further their own personal agendas. It later turns out that they're just pawns of Big Bad Nicolas Volker who kills them once they're no longer necessary.
  • Alien Nation: Body And Soul has one revealed. The US government kept Overseer scientists free to serve them by making weapons in return for escaping any punishment after they had horrifically experiments on slaves.
  • American Horror Story: Double Feature: In 1954, the US government was forced to accept a treaty with the aliens that allows the latter to abduct 5000 people a year for experimentation in exchange for technological advances.
  • Babylon 5 has several governments from several worlds, many of them involved in several conspiracies. In particular, much of the show centers around the Centauri Republic's Decadent Court, with different noble Houses trying to outmaneuver each other, and the Earth Alliance, which proves to be host to numerous conspiracies between different parts of the government. In particular, the human protagonists are part of a conspiracy to prove that the President had his predecessor killed and to find out who is backing him, while the President is part of a very xenophobic conspiracy which is backed by a very powerful alien race. One character specifically refers to the heroes' conspiracy as a Conspiracy of Light.
  • Blindspot has the mysterious Operation Daylight, and the cover up around it, which "Persecute Envoys" finally reveals in detail: the White House Chief of Staff brought together the White House's Deputy Political Director, Deputy Director Carter of the CIA, and Assistant Director Mayfair of the FBI, and tasked them with using illegally obtained NSA surveillance intelligence to further the government's aims in their respective fields (blackmailing political opponents, preventing terrorist attacks, and going after otherwise untouchable criminals), all while dressing up the intel to look legal. The cover up part comes in when a whistleblower exposed the NSA's surveillance program, at which point the Chief of Staff cut the other three loose to fend for themselves, denying all involvement. And of course, a clue to all of this in one of Jane's tattoos.
    • More important to the Myth Arc is the project known as Orion, which Jane was part of at some point in her mysterious past. It eventually turns out to have been an offshoot of Daylight, the CIA having black-ops teams use the information provided by Daylight to carry out illegal assassinations. When it risked exposure, Carter had all the members (except Jane, who barely survived) killed to cover it up.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer had the Initiative in season four. They collect supernatural creatures (mostly demons) for "research". The Angel episode "Why We Fight" reveals they existed during World War II and attempted to use the demons as weapons.
  • Homeland:
    • The CIA, in particular an aspiring VP Walden, was responsible for a drone strike that killed 83 children including Abu Nazir's son Issa who Brody loved like his own son, just because they were sure Abu Nazir was in the area and thought the collateral was worth it. Initially they got away with the atrocity. This sets up Brody's revenge plan.
    • A group of government officials conspires to discredit and then assassinate the President elect in season six.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: In "And the Rocket's Dead Glare", Lewis and Crosetti head to Washington to investigate the political assassination of a Chinese immigrant who had participated in the Tiananmen Square protests, apparently ordered by the Chinese government. However, they are stonewalled by the Secret Service, who are actively trying to cover it up so that there won't be an international incident. Eventually, Lewis and Crosetti are forced to leave and abandon their investigation.
  • Humans: The Season 3 finale. A contingency plan is launched to eliminate all the green eyed synths by shutting down the power to the synth compounds and then using power surges to destroy them when it's all turned back on. The extremist anti-synth groups are then unleashed to eliminate any survivors- the police are ordered to stand by rather than intervene. Meanwhile, news media receive false reports claiming the synths are attacking innocent humans, with violence toward them being self-defense. Luckily this is exposed by Laura with Neil's help, although she is charged with treason over it, and Mia sacrifices herself to show not all synths are bad.
  • Kaamelott: Parodied in the episode "Silbury Hill II", with King Arthur and Co. trying to hide a case of Crop Circles caused by an alien visitation (maybe).
  • Kamen Rider Build: Faust is eventually revealed to be a covert research project sponsored by several leading members of the Touto government, as well as Namba Heavy Industries. Similarly, Seito is also in league with Namba Heavy Industries and evil aliens in a conspiracy to use the power of Pandora's Box to create the Pandora Tower and Take Over the World.
  • Season 4 of Lexx reveals that the Conspiracy Theorists are right: the ATF secretly controls the U.S. government from its Elaborate Underground Base beneath Washington, D.C. (And its current director is, in fact, Satan himself.)
  • The Lone Gunmen: The series' pilot made a very good point regarding so-called "government conspiracies": while Conspiracy Theorists like the eponymous group love to blame all conspiracies on the entire government, it is usually just a small ruthless splinter faction that advances each of them. In other words, "government conspiracy" shouldn't be read "a conspiracy by the government" but "a conspiracy within The Government".
  • In Nikita, there's Oversight, the group that Percy nominally reports to, but whom he's more or less separated from in order to run Division his way. When we first learn of their existence, they seem to just be a group of corrupt officials in the CIA, but then Percy meets with several of them in a restaurant and refers to them as "Admiral", "Senator", and "Joint Chief"note  By the end of the first season, they've developed into a full blown Omniscient Council of Vagueness.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "Afterlife", the US government and military framed Sgt. Linden Stiles for the murders of eleven people at an Army recruiting office after he disobeyed a direct order to assassinate an Iraqi warlord for purely political reasons and went public about the planned assassination.
    • In "Hearts and Minds", the North American Federation soldiers have brain implants which cause them to perceive the Asian Coalition soldiers and miners whom they are fighting as alien insectoids. They are equipped with drug injectors which they believe protect them from an alien virus when they in fact reinforce this false perception. It turns out that the Asian Coalition personnel similarly perceive the North American soldiers as a belligerent alien race.
    • In "Down to Earth", many of the attendees of the North American UFO Convention are convinced that the US government is hiding information about the existence of aliens and their contact with humans. It turns out that they are right and that Dale LaRose, one of the most outspoken true believers, is part of the conspiracy.
  • Person of Interest: Northern Lights is a conspiracy between senior military and government officials, presidential advisers and members of Congress to carry out mass illegal surveillance under the control of an Artificial Intelligence in order to identify potential terrorists so they can be assassinated.
  • Powers: In season 2, Heavy, the guy who killed Retro Girl is actually a rogue CIA operative, which they are very eager to cover up, even if it means letting Retro Girl's killer go free.
  • Played for Laughs in the Seinfeld episode "The Junk Mail" when Kramer tries to stop receiving mail. He goes to the post office and his postman friend Newman tells him that nobody really needs mail anymore, but then gets questioned by his boss while sweating bullets. When Kramer starts protesting the postal service and handing out leaflets, he's kidnapped by government agents and intimidated into stopping by the United States Postmaster General. On his way out he passes Newman who's handcuffed with a bucket on his head.
  • The Shadow Line has Counterpoint, a conspiracy run by high-up police officers and MI5 to use drug money to top up the police pension pot.
  • Smallville's ninth season featured Checkmate, a federal agency that sought to control all metahumans. Season 10 adds the psychopaths behind the Vigilante Registration Act, as well as the Suicide Squad, a group of former Checkmate agents out to oppose the government and anybody else who gets in their way.
  • Stargate SG-1, the protagonists are part of the conspiracy: aliens built the pyramids, their tech is stashed in military bases such as Area 51, and the United States Air Force is fighting a secret war with them in space.
    • It is a conspiracy incorporating most of the major world governments, and probably every single space program. And what holds it all together? Nondisclosure agreements.
    • The show includes two straighter examples, in the NID and later "The Trust", that are even more secret than above-mentioned programs. The first goes too far and gets taken down by the heroes, while the second one gets infiltrated by Goa'uld.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and later Star Trek: Enterprise, both feature an organization called Section 31, that's ambiguously part of the government. They're a group of Star Fleet officers who either work for the organization secretly, or just look the other way for them. They basically believe that "The end justifies the means", almost literally Utopia Justifies the Means, and are willing to commit Genocide when it comes to defending The Federation (or just Earth, in the Star Trek: Enterprise era). The crew of Deep Space 9 end up exposing them, after they fail to recruit Doctor Bashir into their organization.
    • Ironically, Section 31 were actually vital to achieving a happy ending for the Dominion War. Because it's explicitly stated (in "Statistical Probabilities", and by a Changeling admitting to their Salt the Earth strategy) that the Alpha Quadrant would have become a Crapsack World, had Odo not been able to use the cure to broker peace. Of course, their plan wasn't to broker a peace with the Changelings; their plan was to kill them all, and the virus they gave them probably led directly to the paranoid breakdown the Female Changeling suffered that caused her to order the xenocide of everyone on Cardassia; not to mention, had Odo not broked the peace but the Changelings did remain infected, the Dominion may have still lost but they probably would have pulled a Taking You with Me on as many of their enemies as possible. So really, what Section 13 did counts as Nice Job Fixing It, Villain, if a rare case where "fixing it" was actually a good — but unintended — outcome for them anyway.
    • Section 31's name derives from Article 14, Section 31 of the Starfleet Charter, which makes allowances for bending Starfleet regulations in times of extraordinary threat. The organization, of course, promptly seized on that to motivate their existence (apparently reasoning that there always some extraordinary threat around or brewing).
    • Aside from Section 31, there is also a conspiracy in the Trill government: officially, the viability of a Trill being a host for a symbiont is a mere 1 in 1000. In truth, however, approximately half of all Trills can be a host. The problem is that there is only a comparatively small number of symbionts, so the government perpetuates the lie of the low rate of Trill host viability, lest the truth leads to the symbionts becoming coveted commodities to be fought over. The truth was nearly brought to light as a result of Joran Belar, an officially "unsuitable" host noted as being violent and mentally unstable, receiving the Dax symbiont by mistake and accepting the symbiont without rejection.
    • TNG also revealed a conspiracy within the Klingon government to pin the blame of the massacre at the Khitomer colony on Mogh, Worf's father. As a result of this conspiracy, Worf would be condemned as the son of a traitor. In truth, the traitor was actually Ja'rod, the father of Duras, who allowed the Romulans to destroy the colony. Because Duras was in a position of considerable power and influence, however, he and the Klingon High Council had a vested interest in keeping the truth of the massacre from being revealed, forcing Worf to accept discommendation. It would be some time until the conspiracy was dismantled with the previous Klingon chancellor's death, Duras's death at the hands of Worf, and Duras's family being defeated in a subsequent civil conflict.
  • Stranger Things proves to be largely centered on one of these (which you could probably see coming the minute you saw the words "Hawkins National Laboratory" in the first episode). In detail, the reason that weird stuff keeps happening in the otherwise unremarkable rural town of Hawkins, Indiana is that although the signs around Hawkins Laboratory say Department of Energy, the experiments are actually derived from an Alternate History version of the CIA's Project MKUltra. Unlike the historical project (for which see Real Life below), which mostly succeeded at introducing people like Ken Kesey to LSD and making some schizophrenics even more disturbed, the Stranger Things version actually succeeded in creating people with psionic powers they could use to spy on the Soviets. One of those people — Eleven — accidentally ripped a hole to an alternate dimension — the Upside-Down — while using these powers. Everything that happens in the series is a direct consequence of the experiments on Eleven. The government does everything in it's power to cover all of this up.
  • Taken:
    • The crash of the alien ship in Roswell, New Mexico on July 2, 1947 marks the beginning of a vast conspiracy perpetrated by the US government over the course of 55 years which involves not only the suppression of the biggest and most important secret in human history but kidnapping, murder, human experimentation and various other illegal activities.
    • Tom Clarke initially believes that there is a government conspiracy of a very different kind. In "Jacob and Jesse", he tells his sister Becky that the Lubbock Lights (which they saw in "Beyond the Sky") were just street lights reflected off a flock of plover birds. He says that all of the stories about UFOs are just the government's cover story. In "Acid Tests", having read Tom's work, Sam tells his brother Eric that the UFO project is a conspiracy which is intended to distract people from The Vietnam War and the secret testing of chemical weapons on innocent civilians. In "Maintenance", Tom tells his younger half-brother Jacob that he has come to the conclusion that his father John was a soldier who was injected with psychotropic drugs and Jacob developed abilities as a result. Jacob is less than convinced since the supposed UFO cover story seems extremely far-fetched.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look:
    • Viciously parodied in a series of sketches such as this one, which highlights all the flaws in the idea by playing them completely straight, Circular Reasoning and all. For a start, the only reason the conspirators can come up with for concealing the existence of aliens is that it's "what governments do".
    • There's also one about Princess Diana (their only concern about using the watertight method of getting the chauffeur drunk, chasing him with fifteen hired paparazzi on motorcycles, and hoping that Diana doesn't wear her seatbelt is that it will be obvious that it was planned) and one about the moon landing (especially diabolical, as it turns out that the only way to convincingly fake a moon landing involves building a spacecraft and landing it on the moon).
    • At the end of the Diana sketch, it is revealed the conspiracy didn't kill Diana. The exact same watertight but obviously planned method happened on its own while they were drawing up their plan.
    • In addition, the Moon landing hoaxers are simultaneously covering up, for unspecified reasons, the successful Mars landings!
  • Torchwood: Children of Earth: In the first half of the season, the government are trying to cover up the fact they've had dealings with the 456 aliens before and order a hit against all of Torchwood Three to that end, forcing the team to go on the run. Later, once the 456 demand 10% of the world's children, the government plan to deliver the children to them, and after the children have disappeared they'll tell the world that they didn't know the 456 were going to abduct them, in order to save their own hides.
  • The Myth Arc of The X-Files deals with a government conspiracy to cover up the existence of extra-terrestrials.

  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues there's a Mass Super-Empowering Event at the high school that grants a few dozen kids superpowers. They then discover a book from an up-and-coming author that has details that are startlingly similar to the events of that night, prompting them to track him down. He explains he got his inspiration from an urban legend about the government kidnapping children to convert them into superheroes, a conspiracy that's supposedly been going for decades. The kids don't believe a word he says- however, it's shown that the government are involved with trying to shush up the empowering event, and likely had a hand in its creation.
  • The Mad Scientist Wars seems to set one of these up by introducing the mysterious M, The Men in Black-staffed Government Agency. Subverted in that it turns out that they have no ulterior motives — instead what they do is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, keeping Mad Scientists from destroying the planet, and helping them.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dark•Matter (1999), inspired by the popularity of The X-Files and the general profusion of millennialist conspiracy theories in the late '90s, is an eager Conspiracy Kitchen Sink setting where any government can be said to have some kind of secret agenda. Various US government organizations such as the CIA and FBI get their own profiles, while the US government in general is broadly assessed to be such a No Such Agency and alphabet agency-ridden mess that any number of conspiracies can arise from within, that maybe such... obfuscations are intentional, and that there's a greater conspiracy that benefits from the illusion of jumbled incompetence.
  • Delta Green is of similar vintage to Dark Matter, except with a Lovecraftian spin. The eponymous organization started as an anti-Mythos conspiracy of scattered US government personnel (From more known agencies such as the FBI and CIA, to the more obscure NGA or FinCen) in-the-know about the creepy crawlies and how to fight them, but was eventually displaced by an actual Government Conspiracy set on trading away resources and citizens in exchange for alien technology.
    • In the words of an anonymous Delta Green Agent: "We're the government conspiracy. Those guys are just the government".
  • Happens basically every time we visit Ravnica or Fiora in Magic: The Gathering.

    Video Games 
  • Alpha Protocol for sure in the eponymous game. It's hinted that there are probably others out there; in particular, one of the other factions, G22, is identified as possibly being a US government group. Alpha Protocol itself has had many names and identities through the years. One of which was "G19", remnants of which may have splintered off into G22.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura:
    • A line of sidequests has the player uncovering a conspiracy involving inhumane breeding experiments at the hands of the leadership of the largest city on the continent. Despite your efforts, everyone involved in giving the quest is ultimately killed, and when you try to take the story to the press with the only evidence you have, it turns out the newspaper reporter you go to was a plant from the conspirators themselves, and the evidence vanishes forever. An NPC states that they occasionally let tidbits of information get out just so it all sounds like a crazy conspiracy theory.
    • The main evil storyline reveals that the entire Panarii religion is a conspiracy, originally founded and still guided by an evil priest for the sole purpose is helping its devil-figure return to this plane of existence. To achieve this, they have covered up a large number of events, including murdering one of the most notable and legendary Panarii saints and burying him in their supposed dead god's place.
  • In Border Down, The First Approach were actually a fiction of the Earth officials behind the creation of SDF. SDF and RAIN were all just a ploy to 1. rip up Mars and force it back under Earth's rule (with Frank himself as a convenient fall guy for the disaster) and 2. design the ultimate battle machine — Red Wasps, the heavily armored versions of the Antares fighters that act as the 6-C and 6-D bosses. Even worse, everything but 6-C/D was a simulacrum fed to Frank to force him to ruin the space elevator...
  • The end of Call of Duty: Black Ops seems to imply that while under Soviet mind control, the Player Character Alex Mason may or may not have assassinated JFK.
  • The Malta Group in City of Heroes was formed by a bunch of politicians and businessmen annoyed that the Super Registration Act had been ruled unconstitutional. They formed an spread of cells of elite soldiers trained and equipped to take down and control superpowered individuals good or bad, by any means necessary. They're also paranoid enough to try to start World War III with China.
  • Contra: Shattered Soldier has the Triumvirate, who is revealed by Lance Bean to be the ones truly responsible for provoking the Alien Wars as they had stolen a mysterious artifact from the aliens, known as the Relic of Moirai.
  • In Cyberpunk 2077, V learns that the new mayor of Night City, Jefferson Peralez, and his wife Elizabeth have become the center of a conspiracy in which someone killed the previous mayor and has been brainwashing the Peralezes for unknown reasons, giving them Fake Memories and altering their personalities with the player being unable to discover the truth behind it all. Johnny Silverhand theorizes that rogue AIs could be responsible, however the Mysterious Stranger from the "Sun" ending Mr. Blue Eyes can be spotted spying on them, and the Ambiguously Evil infrastructure company Night Corp has performed similar experiments in the past with Peralez having been one of their beneficiaries. What makes it even more bizarre is that it appears to be a case of Brainwashing for the Greater Good, as their captors seem interested in turning them into the "perfect" political couple and if Locked Out of the Loop Mr. Peralez declares his intent to combat homelessness.
  • Inverted in Desert Strike: Soviet Strike. The game seems to suggest that STRIKE, the organization you work for, is a multinational conspiracy going back decades. The coup was all their doing, and your subsequent rescue of Russian President Boris Yeltsin, was all an elaborate Batman Gambit designed to scare him into playing ball. One of the Audio Logs has the head of STRIKE telling President Clinton to his face that, when it comes to military matters, STRIKE calls all the shots.
  • They're everywhere in Deus Ex.
  • In Evolve both Hub, the Earth-centered galactic superpower, and the gigacorps that run the Far Arm cover up the existence of the monsters while secretly studying and experimenting on them. This ultimately collapses, as neither of them actually created the monsters and they drop the charade when they realize full scale war is inevitable.
  • Fallout:
    • In a very real sense, this is the overlying theme of the series. Sure, War Is Hell, but for the leaders instigating these wars, war is a convenient smokescreen to get away with horrible sadistic science projects that go against every code of ethics ever created. The most infamous of these projects are the Vaults themselves, supposed apocalypse-sanctuaries that were actually mass testing chambers that offered little insight for maximum death and pain. The Brotherhood of Steel, the mascots of the franchise, were founded specifically to wage war against anyone perpetuating these atrocities.
    • Fallout 2 features the Enclave, which started the Vault Project, created FEV, and after the bombs fall, went into hiding for over 150 years to regroup and consolidate its military forces and boost its technological superiority beyond anything that could possibly be available on the mainland. When they return they start performing covert operations on the mainland, such as using FEV to create new super mutants, selling energy weapons to a mafia clan, and kidnapping Vault residents as part of their Evil Plan.
    • Fallout 3 has the East Coast portion, cut off from the West Coast and led by President John Henry Eden (a VAX super-computer that gained a mind of its own) and Colonel Autumn, who plan on using Project Purity and a modified strain of FEV to kill all "mutants" in the wasteland with their ace in the hole being the "Bradley-Hercules" orbital bombardment satellite commanded at the mobile base crawler at Adam's Airforce Base.
  • Final Fantasy XIII Galenth Dysley, leader of the Sanctum, is actually the fal'Cie Barthandelus and is trying to get our heroes to destroy Cocoon to bring back the Maker.
  • Firewatch: Henry finds a rather creepy government research camp seemingly dedicated to collecting invasive data about him and Delilah. And subverted — it turns out to be an actual research camp committed to studying the local flora and fauna, but was infiltrated by Ned and planted with false evidence of a conspiracy purely to freak out Henry enough that he'd stay in his fire tower and not look for him.
  • In Floor 13, you get to control a secret police force in the UK, trying to keep the government in power, and trying to prevent being revealed by pesky journalists.
  • There's one in Killer7, and it's as weird as the rest of the game. The Secretary of Education is the most powerful man in the country. Because most polling places for general elections are at public schools, the Department of Education can switch out the ballots before they're counted. Therefore, the Secretary of Education decides who takes what roles in government, up to and including the President of the United States. Not coincidentally, every President in recent memory was previously the headmaster of a specific public school in Seattle.
  • L.A. Noire: The arson cases get right to the heart of the corruption: The Suburban Redevelopment Fund (led by the Mayor of Los Angeles) has been evicting, arsoning, and outright murdering families with fire to claim their homes. It's all a scheme to seize the plots of land necessary for the Los Angeles freeway, which can then be ransomed back to the Federal government for a mint. They succeed, but half their numbers are arrested by the police or killed by their unstable lackeys, allowing the official cover plan to work even better than expected. Which as we all know made things even worse.
  • The original Max Payne covered the aftermath of Project Valhalla, a US government-sponsored drug research that was Tested on Humans during the Gulf War. There is also the Inner Circle, a group of filthily rich old men who more or less control the US government (and are hinted to have been behind the Kennedy assassination).
  • Metal Gear has The Philosophers in the US, China, and Russia. Succeeded by the PATRIOTS in the US. And they used memes to do it, the bastards.
  • The Galactic Federation in Metroid: Other M was behind a conspiracy that created cybernetically-enhanced Zebesians, an android version of Mother Brain, and (supposedly) unfreezable Metroids, all enemies of Samus Aran. The Federation were also behind a conspiracy in Metroid Fusion where they were secretly breeding Metroids, and also had plans to capture the SA-X in an attempt to study the X Parasites and use them as a weapon.note 
  • Not for Broadcast has this come about in the grand finale of the game: The ruling Advance party, under Julia Salisbury's leadership, have attempted to solve a potential overpopulation crisis that would strain the country's resources — which have become more limited due to Advance being a fascist dictatorship that has made an enemy of the world after nuking four foreign cities — by genetically modifying crops to induce sterility. This was originally intended for use as an opt-in form of birth control, but something went horrifically wrong and all of the crops mutate to include sterility-inducing chemicals and bacteria, leading to practically all of the food in the country causing sterility. With no way to correct this without destroying all of the crops and starting anew, which would lead to mass starvation; and foreign help not an option, due to Advance being an international pariah, the government was left with no choice but to distribute the mutated food, blame the resultant drop in birth rates on radioactive fallout from the nukes, promote childlessness as a positive thing to maintain morale, and hope and pray a solution can be found before the situation deteriorates further. If the truth is revealed during the climax of the game, Advance's position as leaders of the nation will become untenable due to mass outrage. Depending on everything else that happened in the game up to this point, at best, Julia Salisbury will be ousted (and possibly arrested) and Advance will either undergo reform or be voted out of power; at worst, the country will spiral into civil war.
  • In Omikron: The Nomad Soul, it's revealed that the city of Omikron and its government are actually controlled by demons, who rule from the shadows to prevent anyone from finding out their leaders' true nature. What sets off the protagonists to this is a demon who goes around killing people, and a police detective who thinks that the so-called "serial killer" is actually some sort of monster.
  • PAYDAY 2 It's implied that one was behind Hoxton's imprisonment, as during the Hoxton Breakout you need the clearance of the FBI Director to gather information, causing Hoxton to note that his case goes up to the top, higher than you would expect a mere heister's case to go. It's revealed that it was Hector that got Hoxton arrested since Hector, a criminal himself and had worked with the PAYDAY crew before the events of the game, was caught by the FBI and he agreed to a lesser sentence if he kept working with the PAYDAY gang as their contractor. This got Hoxton caught and probably would have gotten the others caught as well, but once the crew broke out Hoxton, they started to hunt down the rat that got Hoxton in jail and quickly discover that Hector was behind it. They track him down to an FBI safe house and kill him.
    • Gets outright weird in the finale: there is an ancient Fountain-Of-Youth / Total Genetic Reconstruction machine buried underneath the White House and it's powered by gold. Guess why Worthless Yellow Rocks are priceless - or specifically, why America never seems to change no matter how many presidents 'come and go'. And if you play your cards right, you can steal the greatest government conspiracy treasure of all.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 has one, surprisingly: According to the leaders of ARKS, the series Big Bad Dark Falz was defeated. In truth, they couldn't defeat Dark Falz, so they sealed him instead. The leaders of ARKS are determined to keep the fact that Dark Falz is alive a secret, and will go as far as to assassinate members of their own organization to keep this secret.
  • In [PROTOTYPE 2] a late-game cutscene has an agent from some government agency say that the plan to vivisect Maya Heller gets approval from Washington. Where exactly is unknown; however, Blackwatch was said in the first game to be so high up you had to look down to see the POTUS. The fact that Rooks with all his authority considers tangling with them unwise says that the rabbit hole goes really far down.
  • Resident Evil is starting to go into this territory with the introduction of the Family in Resident Evil 6. According to in-game files, the Family have influenced global events since at least the Colonial era, and were even directly responsible for the nuking of Raccoon City.
  • The ending of SAR: Search and Rescue. After all the hell you've been through to contain the mutant outbreak, you're then greeted by this message:
    Headquarters has destroyed the investigators' report of the wrecked ship knowing it will shock the pioneers of the planet.
    The ship vanished to the bottom of the ravine with the facts.
    Even if it happened again, it will never be reported.
  • In Sonic Adventure 2, the space colony ARK was ostensibly shut down due to an accident. In truth, the government shut it down in a raid to stop Professor Gerald Robotnik's research, which included the development of a Wave-Motion Gun and dealings with alien invaders.
  • In Suzerain, the Old Guard faction of the United Sordland Party and many other die-hard Sollists, including Minister of the Interior, Lileas Graft, are part of this. Fiercely loyal to the previous president Tarquin Soll, they oppose President Anton Rayne's attempts at reforming the consitution in favor of keeping the ideals that founded the Republic of Sordland. It is possible for the player to uncover the conspiracy, if they choose to form the Anti-Corruption Police and task them with investigating the Old Guard. The investigation further reveals that the assassination of the socialist politician Bernard Circas was deliberately planned by the Old Guard in an attempt to distract Rayne from going through with his reforms. The conspiracy is successfully uncovered, it gives Rayne and the player the option to purge the Old Guard through widespread arrests.
  • The Consortium in the Syphon Filter series.
  • Played for Laughs in Team Fortress 2 where the two teams one can play on, RED and BLU, are also multinational corporations secretly controlling every single government in the world, combating each other for world domination... or more specifically, control of some worthless gravel pits, thanks to the bull-headed idiocy of both CEOs. Both are subdivisions of the same mother company, Mann Co., who maintains the RED-BLU feud to keep anyone from noticing (or living long enough to talk about) their massive supply of Unobtainium.
  • The Tomb Raider series features several examples, most notably Area 51, which actually does have aliens. You come across several dead bodies and the artifact you collect there there is a UFO.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, seven years before the game's events the in-game-universe's national space organization of America, GYAXA, launched the HAT-1 Rocket onto a mission to send out a probe to collect asteroid samples. However, a spy working for an unknown government/organization sent a threat to the space center, stating that should the mission go ahead, they'd sabotage the ship. The US government insisted that terrorist threats should not make them surrender so the mission still went ahead. Just like the warning said though, the spy sabotaged the rocket, although the crew still managed to return safely to Earth despite impossible odds. As well as this, the day before the launch of HAT-1, a space center staff member was murdered by the same spy. The government however, covered up the real events behind both the HAT-1 incident and the murder, ordering that the murder investigation and conviction be rushed, so as to forever get rid of the terrorist behind the bombing of the HAT-1 from the public. They also forged a fake story for what "really happened" on to HAT-1, saying that the malfunctions were due to simple technical faults, causing a movie to be made called "The HAT-1 Miracle" (This is supposed to be the in-universe equivalent of the Apollo-13 Miracle). Seven years after all this occurred, aka in the game's final episode, the same spy ends up bombing GYAXA's Cosmos Space Center again, as well as a courtroom, leading to Phoenix Wright finally revealing the spy's identity and working out the conspiracy behind the HAT-1 Miracle.
    • In The Great Ace Attorney, Prosecutor Barok van Zieks is known as the "Reaper of the Old Bailey" because every defendant acquitted in his court later dies under mysterious circumstances. The "Reaper" is in fact a series of assassinations masterminded by the Lord Chief Justice Mael Stronghart, planned by Inspector Tobias Gregson, carried out by Professional Killer Asa Shinn, and covered up by Dr. John H. Wilson and Dr. Courtney Sithe in an effort to discourage crime throughout the British Empire.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend The Hawk Party discovered a more potent version of the H5N1 flu which eliminated all but about two percent of humanity and established St. PigeoNation's institute to do further research.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry plays with this one a bit in the later arcs. The government is aware of Hinamizawa Syndrome, makes all efforts to keep it secret, and has contingency plans for if it becomes public knowledge or uncontrollable. However, on one hand, at least from the official perspective, it borders on Benevolent Conspiracy; the government plans to cure all the residents of Hinamizawa and shut down the project. But on the other hand, there is a faction within the government that plans to trigger the contingency plans (and this, ultimately, is what leads to tragedy in all the game arcs) in order to discredit the leaders of the ruling party.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue: Oh boy.
    • In Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles, a soldier on the Blue Team, Tucker, accidentally discovers that Red and Blue Command is actually the same organization, and as such has a hit put out on him. Later in the series, the crew accidentally discover an underground control panel related to Command.
    • Reconstruction reveals that the Red and Blue War was simply a simulation meant to test the Freelancer Agents in live combat. All the whacky adventures the Crew had over the last five seasons? All training scenarios. Well, except maybe Tucker getting impregnated by and giving birth to an alien. It’s also revealed by the end that Project: Freelancer operated outside the law by illegally torturing and fragmenting the one Smart AI they were allowed to have by the UNSC Oversight Subcommittee in order to have more to experiment with.
    • Recreation and Revelation have the Chairman of the aforementioned subcommittee send disgraced Freelancer Agent Washington after the Reds and Blues to capture the last remaining AI fragment: Epsilon.
    • Red vs. Blue: The Chorus Trilogy reveals that the long running civil war on the planet was really a set up by Charon Industries, which is really owned by the Chairman. His goal was to have both factions destroy each other so he could claim the planet for some nefarious purpose.

  • A major plot point in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures. A council has been planning to use Jyryas... somehow. Same for Dan, but that's with his mom and every other major Cubi apparently.
  • The government conspiracy in Fans!, whilst undoubtedly secretive and ruthless, is eventually revealed as being non-malevolent in nature (if not without its corrupt side), in fact sharing the same goals (if with more pragmatic and darker methods) as the heroes.
  • A Girl and Her Fed approaches this from an interesting angle. As Speedy put it: "You want to know the real definition of a conspiracy? One guy makes a mistake, and six guys clean it up." Considering he's a bio-engineered super-intelligent talking koala, he knows what he's talking about. The story revolves around "the chip," a brain implant given to a number of federal agents allowing them to use Augmented Reality technology. But it went horribly wrong, as the agents found the interface extremely annoying, it could not be turned off for hours after activation, and was prone to being turned on seemingly at random. Several hundred of the government's best and brightest basically became walking zombies, as they intentionally deadened their emotions to keep the chip at bay (also, the government-supplied drugs helped). As Speedy noted, the whole thing was a massive embarrassment, and the government did everything they could to bury it. The interesting part is that was all exactly as planned. The chips were a lot more powerful than anyone except the original designers realized, but wouldn't function without a biological component. By creating the annoying emotion-activated interface and supplying lots of drugs, they trained the agents to turn themselves into human robots. And by letting everyone think the program was a failure, the government covered up the conspiracy without even realizing it.
  • Mag Isa: we have a bunch of guys sitting around the table who seem to have control of the police forces of the nation... and other things that can be used for more evil against the people...
  • Marionetta: The fascist nation of Kalgratt has lied through their teeth about the true source of their power because the truth happens to be insane; they simply claim that magic is not real and that Ak'hon mutants who once claimed to be magicians should be rounded up in camps. In truth, Kalgratt's military focus is the study of magic, learned by experimenting on Ah'kons, and they're willing to kill anyone to keep their monopoly on the supernatural a secret.
  • Schlock Mercenary: The United Nations of Sol, the government of most of the human race, is not the most scrupulous of governments. Some of the top military, espionage, and civilian leaders have been perpetrating a conspiracy with the end goal of making the entire human race immortal (along with all their Uplifted Animal client races and Human Subspecies). While their intentions were good, they spent so much time fighting to keep it a secret with murder and genocide that they had little time to actually advance the project. The Toughs run headfirst into the conspiracy several times, and only survive by having very powerful friends plus some Fake Memories. In the end, the Toughs are able to perfect the project in a few short months with the help of a revived race of Precursors, and immediately make it public and give it to absolutely everyone. Most of the conspirators scramble desperately to hold onto their power rather than helping, and end up arrested or killed.
  • In Shifters the majority of humanity doesn't know that Shifters, Vampires, or any of the other Veil Races exist due to the The Veil, which the Government is an integral part of.
  • Skin Horse: Played for Laughs twice over.
    • First, we have Project Skin Horse, a top-secret government black-ops welfare service. They're dedicated to getting government aid for nonhuman sapients, typically those created by mad science. The primary reason they remain a secret despite incompetency all around is because most humans have a massive Weirdness Censor about things like talking dogs and zombies.
    • Second is Anasigma, Dr. Lee's organization. They're far more competent than Skin Horse, but also bizarrely and unnecessarily creepy. They have protocols for vaporizing agent's underwear drawers, are obsessed with well-shined shoes to the point of killing their own agents for shining their shoes wrong, have a base full of literally thousands of death traps, and are trying to eliminate or exploit all non-human sapients. In the end, it turns out that the secret behind their success was a portal that let them view alternate universes, letting them predict the future with a high degree of accuracy. Their charter is revealed to be total genocide of the supernatural so they can rule the world with a monopoly on mad science, by amplifying the Weirdness Censor and inventing The Masquerade.
      Tip: What is Anasigma?
      Dr. Lee: I wish I knew. When I started to work there, I thought it was a biotech firm. But biotech research is just one piece of a very big pie. Weapons development, mercenary services, espionage... I think we're the shadow government.
      Tip: No, we're the shadow government.
      Dr. Lee: I mean the shadow government that actually gets things done.
      Tip: Oh. Those guys.
  • Hinted at in this Sluggy Freelance strip. Several people, two of them government agents, are murdered, and when another agent asks a lot of questions about it, the Internal Affairs guys are very emphatic about her keeping quiet.
    Agent: You seem more concerned about me than about what happened here.
    Internal Affairs: "Seem?"
  • Starslip: As if a consortium of brain-uploaded monoliths and genetically-augmented demon-like inferno-heads wasn't screaming Devil in Plain Sight with complete control over the transportation system of the entire galaxy, their true agenda is complete information control though an inter-universal network and alliance of their alternate universe selves, to ensure they obtain total control of the future through alternate universe modeling (and eventually time travel). Of course, in order to ensure the majority of all alternate Milky Ways stay healthy and in their control, some universes are thrown under the bus for testing purposes.
  • unOrdinary: EMBER is publicly known as a mysterious and apparently untraceable group of killers brutally killing superheroes, but is actually a group of covert government agents killing superheroes for challenging the status quo and keeping track of teenagers who are disillusioned with the current system. Remi starts putting this together when she realizes the news says the same vauge things about EMBER after every killing while showing the mangled body of their victim to discourage others and make superheroes less appealing, and that the Authorities are not investigating the murders.
  • Unsounded: Queen Sonorie's alliance with the Black Tongues is controversial but an open secret, as is her marriage with Roger Foi-Hellick, a noble from the hated country of Alderode. But Roger is far from the besotted fop he plays in public; he has turned himself into a supernatural cypher by intentionally inflicting himself with a trigger for a Hate Plague, and he's allowing the Black Tongues to dismantle his soul so that Sonorie can find a way to attack Alderode through their Damakhert.
    • Even worse is that Sonorie is funding the Black Tongues to create a new kind of attack zombie that will attack Aldishmen and then self-destruct without a trace. The use of zombies in warfare is one of the few internationally agreed war crimes.
    • And then there's the various factions within Alderode itself, due to its fanatical worship of caste purity and the many sub-castes that secretly vie for power. Lemuel's faction is made of Soud-supremacist fanatics, and they've thrown non-Soud soldiers under their command to the wolves.
  • xkcd concludes that if there's any secret organization controlling the US government, they're apparently pretty damn incompetent at it, as seen in an open letter following the 2013 government shutdown: "Can you please get your shit together? This is embarrassing."
    Alt Text: Are you ok? Do you need help?

    Web Original 
  • Spoofed by Maddox on his "Unfastened Coins" sub-webpage, where he "proves" that the Titanic didn't sink because of an iceberg collision, but because of a government cover-up.
  • In medibot and MyNameIsKaz's LP of Mario or Luigi Superstar Saga, medibot puts forth the notion that the Bean-Bean Kingdom secures its position of power amongst its neighbour states in the secret mining, production, and export of Beanium, a mineral that is used in all airship technology. Kaz disputes this, on the point that, by definition, the majority of the Bean People would have to be excluded from this market.
    Kaz: I honestly don't know where to go from there. The Bean-Bean Kingdom is clearly despicable. They're hanging their prosperity and despotism on their success in mining a mineral that I don't know exists, but they're still here. There are some facts that I can't ignore.
    medibot: You don't know it exists because they don't want people to know it exists.
    Kaz: But if people didn't know it exists, how would they build planes, and plan and design planes for everything? What good is a product, in other words, that you can't market? Like, if they mine it in secret, can they also market and sell it in secret? [chuckling] Is its entire chain of supply a secret one? Is there no...
    medibot: Yes.
    Kaz: Do they have to pay for it in spy dollars? But that's just cannibalism! You can't just create a market like that, where absolutely every part of the market is complicit in this conspiracy! Come on! Where would the money come from? There has to be some output, some net effect on the kingdom at large, because other participants in the kingdom at large de facto cannot be part of the conspiracy that is being held from them! Where's the Beanium, sir?
    medibot: ...If I knew that, they'd have already taken me away.
  • New Deal Coalition Retained: A (technically) benevolent example occurs in 2001, when members of President Ted Bundy's cabinet discover that he's been engaging in and covering up murders of women throughout his political career. Rather than expose this, and thus taint the party by association, they have him assassinated in order to both end his crimes and make him a martyr.
  • In Vita Carnis, the highest echelons of the Canadian government and potentially other world governments are using the titular Meat Moss to prevent an Overpopulation Crisis by convincing people to use it as Artificial Meat, while censoring information about the more dangerous creatures it spawns and selling Mind Control spores as a seasoning. They apparently worship the Monster Progenitor that created it, while it's implied that it's not happy about this arrangement as the hostile Carnis are exclusive to North America and slowly on the move toward its location.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has the Dai Li, who more or less run Ba Sing Se and have kept the entire 100-year war a secret from the citizens (including the Earth King), brainwashed anyone who speaks of the war (including Jet) and were eventually taken over by Azula when the Gaang had Long Feng, the leader, arrested.
  • Hot Wheels: AcceleRacers all but states that the Silencerz are a top-secret government agency, given their vast amount of resources, technology decades ahead of the other teams, and having an officer in the US Military as their leader.
  • Project Cadmus in Justice League aims to destroy the Justice League if they ever go rogue like the Justice Lords. It comes close to becoming a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, but the Justice League discover The Man Behind the Man.
  • Played in Kim Possible as the U.S. Government had known for a long time that aliens are real, but purposely disseminated this fact as a conspiracy to make the general public believe that a Conspiracy Theorist seems like a paranoid individual and discredit the theory. Lampshaded by Ron on the questionable logic of this plan given that everyone already suspected that the U.S. Government was hiding evidence for aliens.
  • In My Adventures with Superman, Project Cadmus and Task Force X make a reappearance. The former underwent Adaptational Heroism, as this iteration of Cadmus was a simple government research group seeking to reverse-engineer Kryptonian technology for altruistic purposes. Task Force X, however, was much more sinister. Under the command of General Ripper Sam Lane, they allegedly acted as a government death squad and murdered the Cadmus researchers for not producing weapons, before abducting the members of Superman's Rogues Gallery that got their hands on the Kryptonian tech and forcing them into a prototype Suicide Squad to extrajudicially murder him.
  • In The Simpsons, the Republican Party is in cahoots with the FCC; the Fox network deliberately airs programs with morally reprehensible content so that they will be fined by the FCC, with the fines being funneled to the Republican Party. Kent Brockman says everyone in the entertainment business knows this, but no one is brave enough to report the scam; after he's fired, Lisa convinces him to gain that bravery, but he sells out after they offer to give him his job back with a 50% raise. (This is, of course, one of many examples of the show's Biting-the-Hand Humor.)
  • Severely subverted in the South Park episode "Mystery of the Urinal Deuce", in which the boys' investigation into the titular restroom incident leads them to uncover the truth about 9/11. Most Americans are smart enough to comprehend that 9/11 was done by "a bunch of pissed-off Muslims", but the rest are "retarded" and need a conspiracy to believe in, so the US government obliges them, creating websites and giving the impression that it's capable of carrying out such an enormous False Flag Operation. In other words, the 9/11 conspiracy is the government conspiracy.
  • The Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode "Butterfly Trap" reveals that the Magic High Commission conspired alongside Eclipsa's ex-husband and king of Mewni to replace Eclipsa's bastard, half-monster baby daughter (Meteora/Miss Heinous) with a peasant Mewman baby girl (Festivia), all because they couldn't allow someone of monster descent to take Mewni's throne. Since then, the Commission has gone through great lengths to make sure that Eclipsa's daughter would have her existence erased and then replaced by Festivia from all historical records.
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, it's shown that Dooku manipulated the Kaminoan government into keeping Order 66 a secret under the pretense that it was a safeguard against Dark Jedi. When Clone Trooper Fives discovers the mind control chips implanted in the troopers, the Kaminoans attempt to have his memory wiped before drugging him to make his testimony seem unreliable, and lie to the Jedi that the chips were to prevent the clones from becoming overly aggressive. Their efforts to conceal the truth ultimately turned them into unwitting accomplices to the fall of the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order.
  • Subverted in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Where There's Smoke"; the villains work for the government, but the project is unauthorized.

    Real Life 
  • Real Life examples are, of course, objects of much debate, but the handful of confirmed conspiracies traceable to the United States government is large enough to be depressing. Notable examples include:
    • Watergate, of course, is the most well-known, so much that most modern-day scandals have "-gate" added to the end as a suffix. It's also essentially the progenitor of all the focus on conspiracies of this sort in late 20th and early 21st century fiction and culture — if a sitting president was willing and able to do this, who knows what others get up to, especially ones whose positions are perhaps not as volatile?
    • Teapot Dome was likely the most notorious before Watergate, an executive order Harding signed that was, in effect, the result of bribery in order to gain leases on oil-rich lands. While many were arrested and convicted, Harding was never officially accused of anything—chiefly because he seems not to have known about the illegal activity that put the order on his desk, but also in part because he died before anyone but the conspirators knew what had happened.
    • COINTELPRO, an FBI task force created in the mid-50s to sabotage, harass, and, it is suspected by many, murder "subversive" organizations, including Civil Rights groups, workers' unions, anti-war protestors, the Black Panthers, and the Ku Klux Klan. Discontinued in the early 70s, but you'll find plenty of people who say otherwise.
    • Operation Mockingbird, in which the FBI manipulated journalists and news media outlets to only run stories the FBI wanted the American public to hear.
    • The Iran-Contra Affair, an elaborate three-way deal between the CIA, Iran, and a band of Nicaraguan rebels. To be brief, the CIA sold weapons to Iran in exchange for cash and hostages, then funneled much of the proceeds into the pockets of the Contras. All well and good, if it weren't illegal — not only was Iran under a weapons embargo, but Congress had specifically banned funding of the Contras.
    • And of course the stories of the U.S. government's (specifically the CIA's) involvement in the trafficking and selling of cocaine through third parties, which supplied the drug dealers on the street and which caused the crack epidemic that hit the inner cities hard. Supposedly it helped fund illegal operations elsewhere, like the above Contras. While no one has proven the CIA directly was involved with and/or knew about the drug smuggling, it seems clear they didn't much care to know or stop it either.
    • The ATF gunwalking scandal, better known as Operation Fast and Furious, in which the ATF deliberately allowed firearms dealers to sell guns to straw buyers connected to Mexican drug cartels. It resulted in the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress during the ensuing investigation; many gun rights advocates and other conservatives have accused the ATF, Holder, and the Obama administration of using Fast and Furious as a scheme to spur increased violence and gain more public support for gun control.
    • Probably one of the sickest conspiracies ever was the Tuskegee Experiment, wherein US Health Officials willingly and readily prevented African-American men from getting aid for syphilis, which even at the time the experiment was performed was treatable, just to see what effect the disease would have as time went on (never mind the fact that humanity had known about syphilis and its effects for centuries, if not longer).
      • Considering how popular the eugenics movement was at the time, this is far from surprising. The Tuskegee Experiment was also far from the worst of them performed by the US government, let alone some of the experiments which were considered highly unethical even by the looser standards of medical ethics, which were performed by doctors for medical research without government funding. And let's not even start on the role of the states in eugenics (look up the Eugenics Board of North Carolina if you want to be particularly horrified)...
    • Project MKULTRA is a rather well known one (and a perennial cog in many modern conspiracy theories). The CIA attempted to use LSD, other drugs, and hypnosis to develop some form of mind control. As described below, most of the actual evidence points toward it having been a hilarious failure.
      • They also used ridiculously damaging amounts of electroshock, sensory deprivation and other experimental treatments on its subjects to try to inform brainwashing. One of the more well-known theories is that the ultimate goal was in fact to set up dissociative identities in the subconscious of certain individuals that could be activated at any time, override the primary personality, and be completely obedient and subservient (usually for purposes of assassination). Yes, the CIA apparently wanted to create a Manchurian Agent. Whether this is true or not, there is strong evidence, as well as scattered victim testimony, that they used a large number of psychiatric patients as guinea pigs for experimentation — often without consent — for 2 primary reasons: 1) No one believes a crazy person, and 2) people with psychosis and complex neurosis are easier to break, with personality integrity already being fragile, and are subsequently much easier to reformat and shape. Unfortunately, determining whether a schizophrenic who believes they were brainwashed by the CIA is reporting reality or fiction sort of proves the point. For further conspiracy, there is widespread belief among conspiracy-theorists and ex-CIA agents alike that the idea that MKULTRA has in fact been stopped is misinformation, and the project continues in various modernised forms to this day.
      • Interestingly, the only drug that proved remotely useful for the purpose was simple pot, and it wasn't the CIA that did it, but the FBI. They spiked an arrested gangster's cigarettes with THC (it was not unusual then to give a perp cigarettes, since pretty much everyone was a smoker), and he proceeded to spill the beans on some heist or other. Of course, even THC proved to be prohibitively unpredictable.
      • Using alcohol for exactly that purpose (usually by covert agents of the government) is centuries-old, thus the Latin idiom In Vino Veritas. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn describes it as a fairly common procedure used by NKVD to get signed confessions (usually fake, as many political prisoners were in fact innocent). He notes that it was particularly effective in the case of prisoners unaware that malnutrition greatly decreases their resistance to toxins.
    • The various attempts to assassinate or discredit Fidel Castro that the CIA carried out in the 1950s and 1960s. Everything from attempting to sabotage his diving equipment to poisoning / drugging his cigars (often with some form of psychotropic drug — again with the psychotropic drugs...) to attempting to create some kind of chemical that would cause his hair to fall out, thus ridding him of his iconic beard. You couldn't make some of these things up (and once again, in actuality appear to have all been hilarious failures that culminated in the Bay of Pigs, all ultimately making his position stronger).
    • Similarly, Operation Northwoods, a series of proposals to drum up support for a war against Castro's Cuba through a False Flag Operation against U.S. military and civilian targets, among which was included a "Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington". While the plan was rejected by President Kennedy and none of the proposals ever became operational, it has been used by conspiracy theorists ever since its declassification and release as evidence that there are elements within the U.S. government who have no qualms over deceiving and even attacking citizens.
    • The CIA has been involved in several revolutions all around the world since the 1950's — most infamously Iran's 1953 coup, but also Guatemala in '54, the attempted '58 revolution in Indonesia, the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in '59, South Vietnam in '63, and so forth. There's also coups in which the CIA is suspected of merely offering tacit support for the plotters, such as Syria in '49, Brazil in '64, and Turkey in 1980. And of course there are the things the CIA has gotten involved in that we don't know about yet.
  • During Prohibition, many speakeasys were supplied by stealing alcohol intended for industrial uses. The FBI responded by covertly poisoning the industrial alcohol en masse. What followed was called "The Chemists War", a battle between bathtub Chemists trying to remove the poisons and the FBI adding increasingly deadly concoctions to the industrial alcohol supply.
  • The Five Eyes Alliance, the intelligence alliance between major English-speaking nations (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK, and US), which was used to spy on not just those countries' adversaries, but their own citizens and other allied countries as well.
    • It is said, with some evidence to back it, that the American monitoring station at Fylingdales in Yorkshire is there not just to protect the West note  by giving advance warning of Russian nuke launches. At least half its monitoring capability seems to be there to spy on British domestic communications.
  • The Great Purge orchestrated by Nikolai Yezhov's NKVD on the orders of Joseph Stalin was officially a "swift retribution for the assassination of Sergei Kirov, beloved comrade and close friend of Stalin, an act indicating a reactive conspiracy in the highest echelons of Soviet government". Stalin was baffled and angry at the killing, and yet more baffled when the official investigation (accurately, as we now know) determined that Kirov really had been murdered by a run-of-the-mill embittered, gun-toting loony (Leonid Nikolaev) when Kirov's bodyguard had been distracted. For a whole host of reasons 1935 was shaping up to be a good year to execute 850k potentially-troublesome people and imprison another million, so even though Stalin knew it was a lie he took the opportunity to claim that Kirov had been assassinated by 'rightist elements' to justify doing so.
    • Nikita Khrushchev was the first senior Soviet politician to officially endorse an alternative conspiracy surrounding Kirov's death, which also claimed that it had been an assassination but said that it was Stalin who had ordered him killed. Unfortunately for Khruschev, the investigation he ordered into the assassination also concluded that Nikolayev did it — so when Khruschev spread rumors about Stalin being behind Kirov's murder, he had to do so with no actual evidence. Even so, Stalin's reputation ensured that many in The West believed Khruschev's tenuous claims right up until the mid-1990s, when NKVD archives (including Nikolaev's diary, which is a tome of pure crazy) burst that particular bubble. Some people in the former USSR still believe that Stalin was behind it to this day, unsurprisingly.
  • A government conspiracy from very early on in the Soviet Union's history is Operation Trust (операция "Трест"). The Bolshevik Cheka created a fake anticommunist group called the "Monarchist Union of Central Russia", which was really just controlled opposition designed to lure and identify political opponents. Several White Army émigrés took the bait and got arrested by Soviet authorities.
  • Imperial Japan. The various generals and military officials would often double cross one another, ignore orders from Tokyo, lie to their superiors, and even start whole wars complete with a False Flag Operation. The reasons for this varied wildly: some wanted to increase their personal standing in Japan. Some wanted to bring more political power to their particular province. Some wanted to increase funding to their branch of the military. Budget disputes between the Army and the Navy even resulted in an invasion of the Soviet Union and possibly the declaration of war on the United States. Certain units of the military, such as the Kwantung Army, also acted completely independently of the main government and any officer with a higher rank than their current commander. This was also the period of government by assassination in which doves in the government were mostly assassinated throughout the 1930s such that by the war there were virtually none left in power. With all of these figures competing for influence, it's hard, even now, to determine who was really in charge of it all. The Emperor was supposed to have all the power, but the military could and would invade countries without even informing him. This wasn't helped by the US occupation forces intentionally muddling up the history of the government at the time; they needed the Emperor alive to make sure the occupation went peacefully, and tried to portray everything as the fault of the Prime Minister.
    • Kei cars and other laws regarding vehicle size are secretly Japan's government conspiracy since the postwar days. Originally, the kei cars were designed to be an alternative transport method to motorcycles, but the government has been promoting them by giving them tax breaks and subsidies. With the government's ridiculous tax penalties to large vehicles, these small cars received many benefits and all Japanese car makers have been backed by government budgets until recent times. However, this also turned Japan into a Galapagos automotive market, effectively closing the foreign competition out, and killed off many larger cars as well, with the help of unique safety and emission laws that are not compatible with global standards. Now, some few government officials have warned that kei cars are starting to hurt the automotive industry in Japan, calling them a waste of research and development costs, despite the general public in Japan loving these small cars.
  • The New Zealand police covered up an attempt to assassinate the Queen by an armed fame-seeking teenager during a 1981 visit to the country, out of fear it would damage New Zealand's international reputation and relationship with Britain. The attempted assassin was instead charged with discharging a firearm and given a sentence of only a few years, and was in fact disappointed that his attempt to kill the Queen was swept under the rug by the police. The assassination attempt wouldn't become public knowledge for almost 4 more decades until uncovered by the local press.


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Alternative Title(s): Government Coverup


The discovery (SPOILER)

Mika makes a visit to Diet lawmaker Akira Karasuma due to his personal links with the Sanctuary. When she decides to use the Dominator on him, she figured out the Sibyl System made an android body in order for it to go around in public without raising suspicion. The Karasuma droid confirms her suspicions and justifies killing anyone about the Sanctuary raising nuclear material out of the ground since it doesn't want hostile states/non-state actors to get their hands on it.

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