Since Edward Snowden began releasing sensitive NSA documents last year, we've learned a lot about the great and sometimes scary lengths the government will go to get information it wants. Now, a new document out, reportedly also from Snowden, details the way the NSA may have inserted spies into companies in the U.S. and around the globe, so it could gain access to private networks and gadgets.
The agency’s core secrets are outlined in a 13-page “brief sheet” about Sentry Eagle, an umbrella term that the NSA used to encompass its most sensitive programs “to protect America’s cyberspace.”
The document doesn't say whether the NSA has spies working at the companies or if the agents managed to get in by posing as someone else, like a contractor or customer. It's no surprise that the NSA is using these tactics in China, but the leak also shows that the U.S. government has agents working in Germany and South Korea, which are our allies. Even more surprising are the references the document makes to agents working within U.S. companies!
The documents, leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, also indicate that the agency has used “under cover” operatives to gain access to sensitive data and systems in the global communications industry, and that these secret agents may have even dealt with American firms.
But, spies aren't the only tool the NSA is using to crack into communications in this country and around the world. There are also companies out there that are knowingly working with the agency to make communications vulnerable.