STORY: Reuters sources have revealed that senior officials from about two dozen of the world's top intelligence agencies have been meeting in secret in Singapore for years, including representatives from both the U.S. and China...
...meetings which have never before been made public, and there are few details known of what's being discussed.
That's according to five sources, all anonymous due to the sensitivity.
The meetings are said to happen on the fringes of a security summit called the Shangri-La Dialogue, which was just recently held this year, named for the Shangri-La hotel.
The summit hosts many world leaders and officials but the spy chiefs have been going to a separate venue organized by the Singapore government.
This year the U.S. was represented by the Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines.
It's not clear who represents China but its presence there comes despite the many problems between it and U.S. allies.
It's also said that the head of India's overseas intelligence agency, Samant Goel attended.
Russia did not attend this year, but the war in Ukraine was discussed at one point. International crime was also discussed. There were few other specifics.
One source said that the meetings are an important fixture of what they call, quote, "the international shadow agenda" and that there's an unspoken code among intelligence services that they can talk to each other, even when more open and formal diplomacy is more difficult.
The atmosphere is said to be collaborative and cooperative, not combatant.
Large intelligence meetings like this between powers involving opposing ideologies are extremely rare and almost never publicized.