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Trump Is Looking at Plans For a Global Network of Private Spies (vice.com) 481

David Gilbert, writing for Vice: The White House is reportedly looking at a proposal to create a ghost network of private spies in hostile countries -- a way of bypassing the intelligence community's "deep state," which Donald Trump believes is a threat to his administration. The network would report directly to the president and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and would be developed by Blackwater founder Erik Prince, according to multiple current and former officials speaking to The Intercept. "Pompeo can't trust the CIA bureaucracy, so we need to create this thing that reports just directly to him," a former senior U.S. intelligence official with firsthand knowledge of the proposals told the website. Described as "totally off the books," the network would be run by intelligence contractor Amyntor Group and would not share any data with the traditional intelligence community.

Trump Is Looking at Plans For a Global Network of Private Spies

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @01:14PM (#55681349)
    The U.S. government is becoming more and more corrupt.
  • by Destined Soul ( 1240672 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @01:15PM (#55681357)

    Then he's not really doing a good job of directing it, is he?

    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @01:17PM (#55681379)

      don't worry, he will do much better this time with no accountability

    • by CanadianMacFan ( 1900244 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @01:45PM (#55681695)

      It seems to be a requirement in order to run a department for Trump. The head of the EPA didn't think it should exist because it hurt business too much. The head of the housing department came out with a bunch of statements against social housing. So not trusting your department would make you qualified to run it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lgw ( 121541 )

        Since I believe in democracy, I'm all for Trump being able to trash any and all federal departments - that's the power the Constitution gives him.

        What I object to is the Byzantine palace intrigue bullshit. Don't trust the CIA? Fine - fire everyone, bar them from future government work, and start over. That's very transparent, very open, and sends a clear message to both voters and other departments. This double-secret probation stuff is just the worst.

        • by mbkennel ( 97636 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @03:36PM (#55682767)
          "Since I believe in democracy, I'm all for Trump being able to trash any and all federal departments - that's the power the Constitution gives him."

          No it doesn't. The establishment and authority of those departments is law passed by Congress. The President is not a dictator.
        • > Don't trust the CIA? Fine - fire everyone

          Problem is that's impossible. The whole structure relies on a lot of people who have been doing the same thing for years. Here's a good writeup on the topic:

          "But there was another reason. During and after the Civil War, government laws and policies had become far more complex with more long-lasting effects on society. A presidential term lasted four years; policies could last for generations. If administrators were replaced every time a president left office, as

          • by lgw ( 121541 )

            New administrators would constantly have to learn the complexities of their jobs, and by the time they mastered it, they would have to leave.

            You say that like it's a bad thing. The more complex the government, the less I want it to be able to do. It isn't acting in our interests, after all.

        • by tbannist ( 230135 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @04:40PM (#55683403)

          Well, if this is true, it's not about trusting or not trusting the CIA. It's about creating a spy organization that doesn't report to anyone but the leader. It would be about having spies, and probably assassins, that are free from oversight and regulation. It would be about creating a secure and loyal power base like the one that Putin has, that can eliminate anyone who challenges the leader's position.

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @01:53PM (#55681773)

      The problem is the CIA is showing that most of these conspiracies are not real. So this doesn't fit Trump narrative. I honestly think that Trump just wanted to get into office, just to see all the real dirt that is going on, only to realize there was no grand conspiracy, just normal paper pushing, and a few good ideas and a few bad ideas. Trump being a Conspiracy theorist, and not getting the information that he knows in his heart to be true, figures the CIA is against him, purposely hiding information.

      Trumps main chip on his shoulder is because he feels like the upper crust is always rejecting him. Hence his appeal to the middle class, who also have the same feeling that the upper class folks are trying to lock these people out. So no matter how rich he is, or powerful of a position he is in, the fact that he isn't accepted as one of them bugs him.

      This man really is unfit for the position, and is more or less controlled by others, just as long as they keep his tweeter running.

      • I can't believe I didn't see it coming. I wondered out loud last year "Once Trump is the Government how will he justify all of his bat shit government conspiracies?!" ...one year later: "I'm being attacked by the DEEP STATE, which is a parallel government where Obama and Hillary are co-presidents. I'm not president of that government, so if it's bad, it's them."

        Fuck me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @01:21PM (#55681419)

    Uh, isn't this the same reasoning that led to the creation of the SS in the 20s?

  • Holy shit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WindBourne ( 631190 )
    Trump continues to go down the hole to hell further and faster.
    America NEEDS mueller to really get on this probe. There is little doubt that Trump committed treason, but now, he is going off the deep end.
    THis is exactly how dictators operate and need to be stopped.
  • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @01:25PM (#55681457)

    You cannot tolerate your president trying to build a power structure outside the one constrained by your Constitution unless you WANT a dictatorship.

    He's already tried to bring the FBI and court system to heel (including at least twice now declaring himself above the law), he's expressed an interest in controlling the media to ensure it aligns with his wishes (and taken a few practical steps in that direction), and now he's going to create a new intelligence service that is under his direct control?

    Just how far does this guy have to go before he lacks the support to continue?

    • by sl3xd ( 111641 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @01:35PM (#55681557) Journal

      Just how far does this guy have to go before he lacks the support to continue?

      I've heard Trump voters saying things along the lines of "If Jesus Christ gets down off the cross and told me Trump is with Russia, I would tell him, hold on a second, I need to check with the president if it is true. That is how confident I feel in the president."

      We have a pretty long way to go if ostensibly Christian voters will choose to believe Trump rather than their God.

      • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @02:22PM (#55682069)

        Just ask them if they want this system in place the next time a democrat president sits in the whitehouse?

        Even if they trust trump to the end of the world (which is batshit crazy all on its own), their rabid distrust of everyone else should slap them back down to earth.

        Give the whitehouse a private army / spy network / whatever else controlled exclusively by the president, and it will still be there for the next president.

        No matter what happens, whether it's 3 or 7 years, the next president will *not* be Trump.

        We have a pretty long way to go if ostensibly Christian voters will choose to believe Trump rather than their God.

        key word being 'ostensibly Christian'; they're not Christian... at most they're just 'team Christian', and only when it suits. We're about to watch "ostensible Christians" in Alabama elect a pedophile because he's on the same team as the sexual predator in chief.

        • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @02:31PM (#55682161)

          >Just ask them if they want this system in place the next time a democrat president sits in the whitehouse?

          "It's OK to cheat to win, when you're right." Both sides are guilty of that, though I'm not going to argue whether it's an evenly divided guilt or not.

          However, given that for Trump's base 'their guy' is in power, I doubt they're worried much about keeping him there - the rules can be bent to make a 2nd term happen, and then you have another 4 years to work on making a Republican dynasty a thing.

          I mean... look at gerrymandering. It's not exactly an obscure attempt to manipulate democracy to ensure a win, and it's not a great long-term method for achieving that end repeatedly.

        • Give the white house a private army / spy network / whatever else controlled exclusively by the president, and it will still be there for the next president.

          If you give Trump a private army / spy network / whatever, there would be no next president. Do you for one second think that Trump would step down from power if he had a private army? He has been attacking established intelligence agencies, The FBI, the free press, and grabbing power where ever he can. Even Nixon, one of the most arguably corrupt pr
        • Just ask them if they want this system in place the next time a democrat president sits in the whitehouse?

          Some of them are secretly hoping that there won't be a "next time a democrat president sits in the White House", which is one potential consequence of giving the President his own secret army of spies and assassins...

      • by Freischutz ( 4776131 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @02:42PM (#55682261)

        Just how far does this guy have to go before he lacks the support to continue?

        I've heard Trump voters saying things along the lines of "If Jesus Christ gets down off the cross and told me Trump is with Russia, I would tell him, hold on a second, I need to check with the president if it is true. That is how confident I feel in the president."

        We have a pretty long way to go if ostensibly Christian voters will choose to believe Trump rather than their God.

        I heard a (female) Trumpkin and self confessed eveangelical say that: "...he must walk with god, if you are that rich god must love you". It is fascinating how Americans have managed to turn Jesus who stormed into the temple in Jerusalem and toppled the moneylender's tables into a modern day god of money and greed.

        • by tbannist ( 230135 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @07:03PM (#55684457)

          It's the prosperity gospel [wikipedia.org]. The basic premise is that there is an all-good, interventionist, God, therefore the people that good things happen to must be good people, and the people that bad things happen to must be bad people. Unless, of course, bad things are happening to you or me, then it's God testing our greatness. The corollary is, of course, that taxes on rich people are inherently unjust because rich people are doing good while taxes on the poor are just what those sick depraved perverts deserve.

          It's a truly sickening perversion of Christianity.

    • Just how far does this guy have to go before he lacks the support to continue?

      We'll likely found out at the conclusion of the Mueller investigation.

    • by lkcl ( 517947 )

      You cannot tolerate your president trying to build a power structure outside the one constrained by your Constitution unless you WANT a dictatorship.

      well... according to the system utilised - known to be THE weakest form of government ever invented (democracy) - the citizens of the united states *do* want him in and thus *have* trusted him to make the right decisions for the four years of his term of office and thus *do* want a dictatorship oh hang on... https://politics.slashdot.org/... [slashdot.org] https://tech.slashdot.org/stor... [slashdot.org] https://news.slashdot.org/stor... [slashdot.org] https://yro.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org] https://politics.slashdot.org/... [slashdot.org]

    • Just how far does this guy have to go before he lacks the support to continue?

      I came to the conclusion months ago that he can't do anything that will cause his hardcore supporters to stop supporting him. We're getting reports of people in places like Alabama saying if Jesus came back and ran as a Democrat they'd still vote for Trump. We need to admit in America that for about 80-90% of the population the only thing that matters is whether there is a D or an R by a candidate's name and all other issues are negotiable. Assuming he can avoid doing something illegal that gets him remo

  • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @01:26PM (#55681465)
    This is the making of a secret police agency that doesn't have any oversight from lawful civil authority (courts, Congress). This idea needs to be shut down. Hard.
    • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

      Private spy agencies would work for anybody who pays them.

      Including any oligarch on the planet. Is it any wonder a rich guy would want that?

  • Dumbest Idea Ever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EndlessNameless ( 673105 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @01:26PM (#55681467)

    So Trump wants us to run two completely independent intelligence networks? How is this not insanely wasteful? What happened to those small government principles?

    And here is the kicker:

    The group reportedly brought in former Marine Corps Lt. Col. Oliver North to sell the idea to Trump.

    Their salesman is going to be the poster boy for corruption in the military. The only reason he's not a felon is a technicality, and he admitted his wrongdoing in front of Congress.

    I want to believe this is total bullshit. It's coming from Vice, so maybe it's safe to ignore it for the time being.

    • There are 17 members [intelligencecareers.gov] in the US intelligence community. Not all of them perform intelligence gathering as this one would however there is the CIA and the DIA (Defence Intelligence Agency). I left out the FBI because it is supposed to be national but if this new private network of spies is true then they would probably work within the US too. And there would probably be some overlap with the NSA so you would be looking at it competing with possibly four departments.

    • Re:Dumbest Idea Ever (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @02:23PM (#55682073) Homepage Journal

      It's a common play for leaders to develop parallel, privately controlled security and even military apparatuses where institutional or national loyalties may outweigh personal loyalty to the leader (Hitler's Waffen-SS), or where legalities restrain the leader prompting him to find ways to exercise power covertly and without restriction (Nixon's Plumbers).

      It's not dumb, it's treacherous.

    • by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @02:52PM (#55682355)

      What happened to those small government principles?

      The Republicans only want small government when some other party is in control. When Republicans are in control, they want an all-powerful government.

  • Everyone but trump (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @01:26PM (#55681475)

    Who would be stupid enough to do something like this?

    Trump can't even keep his mouth shut long enough to save himself from criminal liability or resist to the urge to give Russian government the location of U.S. nuclear submarines.

    Any spy who reports directly to trump is a dead man walking.

    • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @03:23PM (#55682599)

      Who would be stupid enough to do something like this?

      Trump can't even keep his mouth shut long enough to save himself from criminal liability or resist to the urge to give Russian government the location of U.S. nuclear submarines.

      Any spy who reports directly to trump is a dead man walking.

      You're assuming these spies would be spying on governments hostile to the administration.

      I think a more likely purpose for these spies is to collect dirt on domestic political actors and to provide back-channels to foreign governments that are secure from monitoring from the US government.

      Both of these might put the spies at risk of criminal liability in the US, but the people and institutions they'll piss off are generally not the ones that go around ordering hits.

  • Both the linked article and its in turn linked source are of dubious integrity, and have highly questionable histories of independent/original reporting. The presentation here at minimum smacks of over-reach and speculation. Our intelligence services - and those of every other country - already do exactly this. So does wikileaks, which is frankly a private intelligence service in all but name. So if the simple story here is "Erik Prince to run privately funded PatriotLeaks" that's a far cry from a US go
  • Don't announce your spying plans in public!
    But, well, I guess it is a trick ... hm, he wants us to believe he is founding a new spy company ... hm ...

  • by orgelspieler ( 865795 ) <w0lfie@ma[ ]om ['c.c' in gap]> on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @01:32PM (#55681531) Journal
    How am I just now learning that Betsy DeVoss's brother is the Blackwater guy?! Erik Prince has a soul of pure, black, unadulterated evil. This whole thing is so fucking strange. If they think the CIA is that bad, why not fire everybody and hire new people? Is it even legal for the president to have a personal, private spying apparatus? No congressional oversight? No judicial review? Sure seems like a unconstitutional and unconscionable idea to me!
  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @01:38PM (#55681603)
    Everytime I hear that my ears perk up. It's the kind of crazy conspiracy stuff that crazy dictators have used for years to breed distrust in Democracy so they can 'temporarily' supplement it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      IMHO, the "deep state" is really the "normal government" of the USA. The reason Trump and friends are always droning on about it is because many of the ideas Trumps wants to do (or at least the way he thinks these ideas should be done) are mostly illegal, or at least highly unethical and so far outside the bounds of civilized discourse it's ridiculous. Trump is so used to being the "CEO", saying "get this done now" and it just happens; not needing to care who is financing what, or whom he is actually employ
    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Well, the concept of a "state within a state" or a "military-industrial complex" didn't originate with the conspiracy theorists, they just picked it up and applied it selectively to state officials they don't agree with.

  • It seems like it would be cheaper and we'd settle a lot of this shit for at least 50 years, maybe longer.

    • >It seems like it would be cheaper and we'd settle a lot of this shit for at least 50 years

      It's not impossible that it'll come to that, but I hope it's unlikely. War is nasty business, and a lot of innocent people generally get traumatized, maimed, or dead... and it really only solves the problem if one side is obliterated. I mean, c'mon, you still have people who resent losing the previous civil war and I think it's safe to say enough time has passed that shouldn't be a thing anymore.

      On the other han

  • Impeach impeach impeach! Get that crazy fucker outta there! 8-(

  • "I want unlimited power as if I was a king, and there are all these checks and balances! I'm just going to call it the Deep State when I'm not given total power."People with jobs don't like it when I appoint superiors with the directive to shut down their department! Wah wah."

  • No chance. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WolfgangVL ( 3494585 )

    No way in hell will something like this fly in the USA.

    I imagine trump sits in his bed at night, under the covers with his smartphone, and dreams up things just like this as ways to troll the media, so he can point fingers and cry fake news later.

    But then again, the more I think about it, the more it seems like this might have been the plan all along. Suddenly all the bananas bullshit of the past year and half starts to make sense when viewed through a "spin up the secret police" filter.

    Seriously, if this c

    • Once something like this is a thing, people start falling into unmarked vans and black bags.

      You might be the first if the regular secret service doesn't get around to giving you an interview before Trump's unaccountable network of mercenary spies is in place!

  • 17 spy depts that we pay for and he want to create yet another one? That answers only to him?

      How far is the batshit allowed to go before he is removed? How many definitions of the word narcissist need to be explained?
    How long before he wants to change 'President' to 'Utmost Supreme Leader"?

  • by multi io ( 640409 ) <olaf.klischat@googlemail.com> on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @04:45PM (#55683463)
    Under Trump, "deep state" is code for "rule of law". -- David Frum

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