The “largest undercover force the world has ever known” has been recently unveiled by a Newsweek investigation. This revealing of a secret Pentagon project was expected to stir the US domestic news pot.
Newsweek’s report was the result of a two-year investigation involving examination of over 600 resumes and 1,000 job postings and more.
The deep investigation revealed there are nearly 60,000 people belonging to an American military Secret Undercover Army working with “masked identities and in low profile”. They are part of a broader program called “signature reduction.”
This clandestine “army inside the Army” carries out both domestic and overseas tasks, operating as a military brand or under civilian covers. Their approaches are various: both on the ground and online with web-operations, often hiding in private businesses and consultancies.
The newest and fastest growing group in this army is online and never leaves its keyboards. These are cutting-edge cyber fighters and intelligence collectors who assume false personas online, employing “nonattribution” and “misattribution” techniques.
In general, such a practice has already become a tradition among the intelligence and military of the leading world states. These proxies enjoy the capabilities of using both the resources of state official bodies and also operating beyond the local laws.
They are not under official control of national legislative bodies, and are usually financed by funds raised from various “gray” area activities, such as oil smuggling, precious metals and stones trade, activities by close to government PMCs etc.
Obviously, this is very profitable, but impossible without strong ties to military leadership.
De facto, this project is under the control of a few dozens of US top generals and politicians. Governance of the structure is based on the netcentric principles.
However, even when such activities are covered by high-ranking bureaucracy, problems related to legality, national taxation and financial legislation arise.
It is said of such operations in the clandestine community that they are “tacit, illegal—and ineffective.” It reflects their true essence – getting an excess profit.
Such a subtle game requires a combination of specific skills that could be possessed only by joint teams of civilian lawyers, bankers, IT-specialists and managers, empowered by military professionals.
This is especially important for various cyber security or cyber-warfare operations, since hackers require high payments, and are usually not recruited through public channels.
Despite the fact that the story is nothing new, in the US, there are certain rules that are the result of the social contract between elite groups and the people. At the same time, there is an unspoken agreement within the elites on the inviolability of the main parameters of their military and security wings. Thus, this scandal, currently being blown out of proportion, may become a new “ArmyGate” or similar charade.