21:13 GMT +322 January 2020
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    Unconfirmed reports that the Trump administration is mulling the creation of a privately-run global spy network to counter the president's 'deep state' adversaries within the US intelligence community has set the internet ablaze with discussion over the move's implications for America's future.

    Several current and former US intelligence officials have told The Intercept that the Trump administration is considering the creation of a private global spy network working independently of traditional US intelligence agencies such as the CIA to circumvent its 'deep state' adversaries.

    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.

    The proposal includes the idea of hiring private spies to work in traditional no-go areas for US intelligence personnel, such as Iran and North Korea. It also includes the creation of a rendition unit tasked with capture terror suspects worldwide.

    The White House and the National Security Council denied that any such proposals were made, and stressed that the administration "does not and would not support such a proposal." A CIA spokesman told The Intercept that it had been provided "wildly inaccurate information by people peddling an agenda."

    Amid growing concerns among Trump supporters that a 'deep state' inside the government apparatus is working to constantly undermine the president, and fears among detractors about the dangers of an unaccountable private intelligence agency, The Intercept's story has served to pour fuel on the fire of mutual animosity online.

    Supporters of the president welcomed the idea wholeheartedly, saying it would give Trump a chance against the secret forces working to box him in and prevent the realization of his agenda.

    Opponents, however, warned that a private spy agency would itself become unaccountable, and serve to promote Trump's own partisan agenda. Some were particularly concerned that the proposals came from Erik Prince, whose private security company Blackwater has been mired in controversy over severe human rights abuses in Iraq in the 2000s.

    The 'the Nazis did this sort of thing' narrative was also out in full force among Trump's opponents.

    contractors, spy agencies, private spies, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Oliver North, Erik Prince, Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump, United States
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