The Pentagon has created a secret army of more than 60,000 people who carry out assignments under false identities in person and online.
A two-year investigation by Newsweek found soldiers, civilians and contractors working under a broad program called "signature reduction" that's 10 times larger than the clandestine elements of the CIA, and sometimes involves them working undercover for private businesses and consulting firms.
The program's true size isn't known, and Congress hasn't even held a hearing on the secret force -- which may violate U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions.
The investigation found 130 programs feed more than $900 million to pay for the clandestine force by creating false documentation or paying taxes for individuals working under assumed names, which military leaders say is necessary to protect troops and their families in the information age.
The Defense Intelligence Agency, which operates the Defense Clandestine Service and the Defense Cover Office, says signature reduction isn't an official term and only describes measures taken to protect operations.
A former senior intelligence official told Newsweek that signature reduction operated between covert and undercover.