Blackwater, its troubles behind it (or so they’d have us believe), is expanding its services again.
This time they’re going into espionage.
The Prince Group (one suspects the Machiavelli reference, though accidental, is not unappreciated by one as cunning as Erik Prince), has just announced a new division of its security and protection business:
The Prince Group, the holding company that owns Blackwater Worldwide, has been building an operation that will sniff out intelligence about natural disasters, business-friendly governments, overseas regulations and global political developments for clients in industry and government.
Of course this being Prince, his company has already hired top espionage experts away from the CIA where they serve this country’s interests and put them to work for his firm where they serve the interests of
George W. Bush Erik Prince and his corporate partners. And to run this new enterprise in spying for profit, no less a scofflaw Bush operative CIA figure than this:
Its chairman is Cofer Black, the former head of counter-terrorism at CIA known for his leading role in many of the agency’s more controversial programs, including the rendition and interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects and the detention of some of them in secret prisons overseas.
Heartening, isn’t it? To know that all our government’s major defense services – army, navy, air force, and now intelligence – will soon be in the hands of that paragon of patriotism and selfless virtue, Erik Prince:
Total Intelligence Solutions is one of a growing number of companies that offer intelligence services such as risk analysis to companies and governments. Because of its roster and its ties to owner Erik Prince, the multimillionaire former Navy SEAL, the company’s thrust into this world highlights the blurring of lines between government, industry and activities formerly reserved for agents operating in the shadows.
And, of course, we can trust him to always act in the best interest of the nation. Unless, of course, someone else pays him better. Or his evangelical dominionist beliefs lead him another way. Or….
I can actually make a case for a company doing some of this work – emphasis on “some” and “a.” Not THIS company, for sure. The area I’d like to know more about is the “business-friendly” part. It’s not a well-known fact but US companies are routinely pillaged by corp espionage operations run by foreign competitors, many of which have the full support of their own governments. If this activity is aimed at that – and it’s impossible to know for sure – it could actually do some good.
Except that I wouldn’t trust Prince to babysit my goldfish….
I believe a meta-theme that’s being missed here is the rise of private, military organizations. Throughout history, this has never worked out very well. Oh, militias were OK and feudal and quasi-feudal arrangements sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. But the pure, private army with its allegiance to the person who pays the soldiers is a recipe for extreme trouble.
Couple this trend with the rise of a professional army that often gets its officers from officer-class families, and I’d give the Republic maybe another 50 to 100 years, depending on how you measure the final demise.
I don’t know that I think that theme is being missed, JSO – I’d say that’s been the point of Jim’s whole series on Blackwater. Now, it’s sure as hell being missed by a lot of the country….
Well, then, I probably didn’t read all that closely. Surely, I know that Jim has been criticizing Blackwater and making it clear that Blackwater is dangerous. I entirely agree. But (and as I say, I may just have missed it), I don’t recall feeling that these attacks on Blackwater reflected the bigger picture which is the dangerous rise of the mercenary in our society, both in private legions and in the US military.
I see what you’re saying, JSO, and maybe a 60,000-foot piece of this sort is called for. It’s true that the coverage here has been on the bottom-up side.