Reminds me of when I built a complex of servers, and needed to do some testing with some application folks at a remote site. The network guru was giving me grief, and wouldn’t let us past his firewalls in his routers. Brick wall. Time was running short, deadlines coming up, and bureaucracy wasn’t helping.
In desperation, I ran a single cable under the floor tiles from my servers to connections outside of his routers. Applications folks did their testing, then I undid the cable. Of course I protected the security of the network, as I previously had the the job the network manager now had. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that get you past all the technological roadblocks in your path. What the NSA did is both simple and clever.
If they can get that close - - just load a program - then hide it. If not, why not... Also, how is what NSA did both simple and clever?
In the 1950s the British Diplomatic Service had a code that the Soviets could not crack. The Brits had just cracked the German's Enigma machines, and understood code breaking very well indeed, and they used that experience to build an encryption system the Soviets could not defeat.
So the Soviets planted a microphone in the code room of the British Embassy, and just listened in while one Brit read the clear text of outgoing messages to the guy operating the cipher machine, or while the guy operating the cipher machine read the clear text of incoming messages to the guy who wrote the message down...