America’s National Security Agency (NSA) has implemented programs in China using secret agents to infiltrate and compromise networks and devices through “physical subversion,” reports The Intercept, a publication of independent journalism organization First Look Media.

Based on documents provided by ex-CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden–who remains in Russia on temporary asylum after first leaking classified US government documents to the media last May–it is alleged that the NSA has been operating a project known as Sentry Eagle, an umbrella of sensitive programs designed to “protect America’s cyberspace.”

Sentry Eagle, which has been in operation since at least 2004 and was running as recently as 2012, is comprised of six programs: Sentry Hawk, for network spying; Sentry Falcon, for computer network defense; Sentry Osprey, which cooperates with the CIA and other intelligence agencies; Sentry Raven, for breaking encryption systems; Sentry Condor, for computer network operations and attacks; and Sentry Owl, which collaborates with private companies.

Documents describing Sentry Eagle describe it as part of the NSA’s “core secrets,” which sits at the apex of America’s six-tier national security classification system, above “top secret.” Details of core secret activities are said to be shared with only a small number of officials outside the NSA with the approval of one of a handful of senior intelligence officials, including the NSA director.


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