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Trump eyes private spy network to fight 'deep state'

06 December 2017

It comes amid White House concerns that "deep state" enemies inside the intelligence community are working to undermine the president.

The three envisioned an intelligence apparatus created to reinforce the Trump administration's political agenda, which would be free to circumvent the existing United States intelligence bureaucracy.

While The Intercept reports that senior Trump officials, including Vice President Pence, have been briefed on the proposals, the National Security Council said in a statement that the White House "does not and would not support such a proposal".

According to the publication, the proposal, thought up by Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a former CIA officer, and pitched to the White House by Iran-Contra scandal star Oliver North, envisions the creation of a network of private spies reporting directly to CIA Director Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump.

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"It is a direct-action arm, totally off the books", the official also said. "Any meetings Erik did have with members of the intelligence community, current or former, focused on his well-publicized plan for saving the USA taxpayer $42 billion in Afghanistan", the statement said.

Further, The Intercept reported that some involved with the proposal have even reached out to major Trump donors to seek financing for the private operations.

The proposal of a private clandestine network appeared rooted in distrust the current administration had for the intelligence community.

The news site said the plan was to deploy spies in countries such as North Korea and Iran.

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"I can find no evidence that this ever came to the attention of anyone at the NSC or [White House] at all", Michael Anton told The Intercept. Other extreme measures, like a global rendition program and a propaganda effort in the Middle East, are also reportedly under consideration. Oliver North did not respond to a request for comment.

Pompeo, who was recently labeled a possible successor to current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, has reportedly urged the White House to go ahead with the private contract. A Central Intelligence Agency spokesperson told The Intercept, "You have been provided wildly inaccurate information by people peddling an agenda".

Jeremy Scahill and Matthew Cole have an explosive report at The Intercept about the Trump administration considering a plan, created by Blackwater founder Erik Prince, to build a private intelligence agency that would operate outside the bounds of the government agencies that already exist.

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Trump eyes private spy network to fight 'deep state'