When I refer to the Scorpion Program, I am not referring to the fictional CBS show about a small group of geniuses working for the Department of Homeland Security.

The Scorpion Program I am referring to is the National Security Agency’s (NSA) version — albeit on a much smaller scale — of the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) Global Response Staff, or GRS program.

The GRS gained recognition due to the role they played in mounting a rescue operation of U.S. diplomats and staff during the Benghazi attack in 2012.

The GRS mission calls for the security, sometimes undercover, of the CIA’s case officers on the ground. Five of the last 14 CIA employees killed in recent years were part of GRS.

The NSA’s much smaller footprint in combat zones overseas requires a much smaller security force, but one that is equally capable as their GRS brethren. The Scorpion Program is a force made up of security contractors, many of whom have a distinguished background in the U.S. special operations community.

I have never been part of the Scorpion Program, nor have I ever been read in; but if you know where to look, the information regarding the NSA’s overseas operations is out there and open-source.

The mission of the NSA in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, etc., is to establish signal-intelligence capabilities where they did not exist previously.

The tapping of phone lines and Internet cables, the manipulation of cell phone towers, and the establishment of satellite up-links in hostile territory are all jobs performed by NSA technicians on the ground.

This is not the type of work that can be accomplished from the safety of the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. These technicians and their security contractors operate under the cover of darkness in very small teams in some of the most dangerous hostile territories in order to emplace technology that will directly contribute to the war effort.

“Alleged” Operations & Missions

The Scorpion Program and the Special Collection Service have long been shrouded in secrecy. However, whispers of the SCS’s involvement in high-profile missions have surfaced over the years, offering glimpses into their covert world. And we’re gonna assume that the Scorpion Program is linked to these operations.

Angela Merkel Wiretapping Scandal

One of the most infamous operations linked to the SCS and possibly the Scorpion Program is the alleged wiretapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal cell phone. This revelation, brought to light by Edward Snowden in 2013, exposed a decade-long surveillance campaign targeting European and South American leaders, sparking international outrage and straining diplomatic relations.

The Boeing 767 Bugging Incident

Rumors also circulated about the SCS’s alleged attempt to bug the official jet of Chinese leader Zhang Zemin in 2001. While the 27 satellite-controlled bugs were discovered before activation, this incident highlights the SCS’s audacious approach to intelligence gathering.

Tracking Osama Bin Laden

Perhaps the most captivating tale associated with the SCS is their reported role in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. Operating from a nearby CIA safehouse, SCS operatives allegedly used laser technology to monitor Bin Laden’s compound, gathering crucial intelligence that ultimately led to his demise in a daring 2011 raid.

Scorpion Program’s Loss

In what might be the first time since the force’s inception, the Scorpion Program suffered a loss on November 27th, 2014, when one of its security contractors was killed in a firefight at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan.

File photo. Former Special Forces soldier David Roten, Jr. (shown on the right)

These are just a few of the rumored operations attributed to the enigmatic Special Collection Service and the Scorpion Program. While their activities remain largely hidden from public view, the stories that emerge paint a picture of a highly skilled and resourceful organization operating in the shadows to safeguard national security.

The details are vague and might remain so for a very long time, but portrays a U.S. intelligence agency, besides the CIA, that is directly involved in on-the-ground operations.

Editor’s note: This article was written by Iassen Donov and originally published in 2015.