The United States Special Collection Service (SCS), codenamed F6, is a covert joint NSA-CIA program referred to as the “mission impossible force.” While its existence is officially denied by the U.S. government, information about its activities has emerged over the years. The SCS specializes in signals intelligence (SIGINT) and is known for placing advanced surveillance equipment in extremely hard-to-reach locations. This article explores the history, organization, equipment, and notable operations of this secretive unit.
- Historical Background: The SCS was established in 1978 as a collaborative effort between the NSA and CIA to enhance the efficiency of sensitive intelligence collection operations. Before its formation, there was competition and duplication of efforts between the NSA’s eavesdropping specialists and the CIA’s bugging specialists. The SCS aimed to combine their expertise into a single, highly capable unit.
- Cooperation and Structure: The SCS operates under the alternating leadership of the Director of the CIA and the Director of the NSA. It consists of four key units: the Field Operations Office, Field Engineering Office, Mission Support Office, and Installation and Logistics Office.
- Notable Operations: While many details of SCS operations remain classified, a few have been disclosed over time. Notable examples include a SIGINT collection operation from the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, where SCS operatives monitored German domestic and foreign policy.