Pentagon operating ‘60,000-strong secret army who travel disguised as civilians’

The Pentagon runs a 60,000 strong secret undercover army of soldiers, contractors and spies who fight to serve American interests abroad.

No one knows how truly big or powerful the mysterious and covert force has become, according to a two-year investigation by Newsweek.

More than 100 private companies are involved in its activities, which generate almost $1 billion each year to create false identities, bank accounts and documentation for the clandestine army.

Every corner of the globe is covered by the group's operations, from North Korea to Iran to West Africa.

Authorities see the secret army as a rival to the cyberterrorism operations supported by the Chinese and Russian governments.

The US Department of Defense has stressed the importance of so-called "signature reduction", which removes the public identities of operatives in order to protect them and American activities abroad.

The US government refuses to actually define the term, such is its secrecy.

A former agency chief told Newsweek signature reduction describes the 'twilight zone' between covert and undercover.

This means the activities of the secret army don't need the sign-off of politicians or official law enforcement bodies.

The cutting-edge biometric technology relied on by the secret army is provided by the CIA and the NSA, whose spying and hacking tech is used by American spies daily.

A WikiLeaks IT wizard told the magazine this technology can be used to edit countries' immigration databases to authenticate fake passports.

He said: "Imagine for a moment that someone is going through passport control. NSA or the CIA is tasked to corrupt—change—the data on the day the covert asset goes through.

"And then switch it back. It's not impossible."

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