A recent report indicates that the Trump administration is considering a plan to privatize certain Central Intelligence Agency operations, including covert actions, propaganda and intelligence gathering.
The revelation comes via a BuzzFeed article out late last month, which detailed how a company named Amyntor Group that is reportedly asking the administration to consider handing it contracts to worth millions to handle U.S. intelligence missions.
From the report:
Amyntor’s officials and employees include veterans of a variety of US covert operations, ranging from the Reagan-era Iran–Contra affair to more recent actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Amyntor declined to discuss the proposals, but a lawyer for the company said in a statement to BuzzFeed News that the type of contract being contemplated would be legal “with direction and control by the proper government authority.”
Another proposal presented to US officials would allow individuals affiliated with the company to help capture wanted terrorists on behalf of the United States. In keeping with that proposal, people close to the company are tracking two specific suspects in a Middle Eastern country, the sources said, for possible “rendition” to the United States.
A source speaking on behalf of the company stressed that while Amyntor officials are aware of and involved in the rendition plan, the company itself would not be involved.
People involved in the highly unusual project have asked BuzzFeed News not to name the country or the targets because of concerns about the safety of operatives who, they say, are on the ground. They say that the people involved have the information and capabilities to snatch the two suspects and transport them to the US or a third country.
The proposals sound like a convoluted movie plot, but two of the sources familiar with the project say discussions have been held recently with top national security officials.
According to the report, one U.S. government official reached for comment on the proposal said the idea was “absurd on its face” and “not going anywhere.”
But the government intelligence community’s treatment of the Trump administration since the president’s election does create a legitimate reason to suspect that Trump could be open to the idea of handing certain intelligence operations to a third party depending on how distrustful he is of the leaders of the the nation’s government spy bureaucracy.
And in a statement to BuzzFeed, Amyntor Group declined to confirm or deny that talks were underway and suggested that any leaks hinting that they are would be illegal:
As a matter of company policy, Amyntor does not comment regarding whether or not it has attempted or is attempting to secure a contract with any government agency. The type of contract about which BuzzFeed is writing, however, would be entirely appropriate with direction and control by the proper governmental authority. What would be inappropriate, and potentially illegal, would be for any individual purporting to have direct knowledge of what would be a classified contract proposal to disclose that information publicly.
Here’s a little more background on Amyntor Group from the BuzzFeed piece:
Amyntor Group is a reclusive company headquartered in Whitefish, Montana, a town of 6,500 residents that recently gained notoriety after a company based there won, then lost, a $300 million contract to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electrical grid. There is no known relationship between the two companies.
That’s a pretty interesting piece of information because, aside from the small company connected to the Puerto Rico contract, Whitefish has come up in recent headlines for some other bizarre reasons over the past several months.
As one person commented on the original BuzzFeed piece: “Something smells fishy about Whitefish, MT. It is a town of only 6500 people but keeps popping up in the news. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is from there. White Nationalist Richard Spence moved there. The 2-man company that got the no-bid contract to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electrical infrastructure is from there and now this private spy agency. Very White and fishy.”
That could all be a matter of coincidence– but then again…