US spy services carried out 231 “offensive cyber-operations” in 2011, targeting several nations including Russia, China and Iran, according to secret documents.
The documents obtained by The Washington Post show that nearly 75 percent of the operations were against top-priority targets that included “adversaries such as Iran, Russia, China and North Korea and activities such as nuclear non-proliferation.”
According to the documents, the White House’s computer specialists broke into foreign networks, under the program code-named GENIE, so that they can be under surreptitious US control.
The $652 million project has so far placed covert implants in computers, routers and firewalls on tens of thousands of computers every year, the report said, adding that the US plans to expand the program.
According to the Post, the documents were provided by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, and former US officials.
The new campaign is far broader and more aggressive than previously understood, the newspaper said citing the documents. The White House treats all such cyber-operations as clandestine and declines to acknowledge them, the daily added.
Earlier this week, Snowden provided the Post with documents showing the United States has built an “intelligence-gathering colossus” with a whopping “black budget” of $52.6 billion for the current fiscal year.
The 178-page budget summary for the National Intelligence Program disclosed for the first time how the US spy agencies spend tens of billions of dollars annually on spy programs without being able to provide “critical information to the president on a range of national security threats.”
The CIA received a share of $14.7 billion and the NSA a share of $10.5 billion, according to the Post.