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 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.
DO IT! We'll crush them if we play too.— CC (@ChristiChat) 5 декабря 2017 г.
President Trump's White House is weighing a plan for private SPIES to counter "Deep State" enemies which was developed by Oliver North & Blackwater founder Erik Prince.#MAGA #TuesdayThoughts pic.twitter.com/5dVi13t4c9
Trump is considering creating a private intelligent agency to fight the deep state….. pic.twitter.com/fbQhBL9YfC— /pol/ News Network (@PolNewsupdates) 5 декабря 2017 г.
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.
Always vigilant. Every American citizen needs to always be vigilant in defense of our Republic. It can be taken away in the blink of an eye. We must never allow something like this to occur. A secret police force would be a true ‘Deep State’. https://t.co/DMUqokgr0k— Andrew C Laufer, Esq (@lauferlaw) 5 декабря 2017 г.
Trump is considering a proposal to develop a private spy network that would circumvent CIA and the "deep state". Do you see what's happening here? If this doesn't scare the crap out of you then you've been drinking too much Kool Aid. https://t.co/7rrj78Ci81— Nick Knudsen 🇺🇸🇵🇷 (@DemWrite) 5 декабря 2017 г.
These kind of private contractors are responsible for the most notorious violence and abuses.— Grant Stern (@grantstern) 5 декабря 2017 г.
Luckily, Erik Prince has lots of experience in covering up atrocities. #Resist #TheResistance https://t.co/WWhYkgpyys
The 'the Nazis did this sort of thing' narrative was also out in full force among Trump's opponents.
This is basically why Hitler created the SS. https://t.co/XbAz2Ec89z— Will Fischer (@will_c_fischer) 5 декабря 2017 г.