The U.S. has some 60,000 operatives in a “secret army” carrying out domestic and foreign activities for the Pentagon without the knowledge or consent of Congress. The operations are aimed at minimizing threats to the people of America, according to a Newsweek report.
The force, said to be 10 times the size of the CIA’s covert elements and the largest secret army ever built by the Pentagon, is made up of operatives working undercover, some, embedded in top companies around the world.
The program, known as Signature Reduction, was created by the Pentagon over the past 10 years and operates both domestically and internationally using a low-profile force of clandestine warriors who sometimes wear civilian clothing to carry out their assignments.
About half of the force is made up of Special Forces, the highly trained commandos who go after terrorists in Iran, North Korea, and around the world.
A unnamed intelligence officer told Newsweek that while the Signature Reduction army is not officially acknowledged by the Department of Defense, it is used to define “measures that are taken to protect operations”.
The Signature Reduction effort engages about 130 private companies across the world and is supported by dozens of little-known and secret government organizations that dole out classified contracts and oversee publicly unacknowledged operations.
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The companies are paid more than $900 million annually by U.S. taxpayers to service the clandestine force.
A Pentagon spokesperson refused to give any details on the Signature Reduction program when asked about the Newsweek report.
“I’ve see the article … but I don’t have any additional details or context to add on that one,” Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said in an off-camera press briefing on May 19.
In some cases, these shadowy operatives get into trouble in the countries they work in, such as the case of Ryan Fogle, a junior U.S. diplomat and alleged CIA agent who was caught and arrested in Russia in 2013 for trying to recruit a Russian intelligence officer.
At the time, the U.S. State Department confirmed that one of its agents had been arrested, but refused to acknowledge that it was actively trying to recruit Russian operatives.
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