America's secret agent men might soon be freelance.
The White House and the CIA are supposedly thinking about outsourcing certain covert operations and counterintelligence efforts in "hostile countries" to a private company of former U.S. intelligence officers, BuzzFeed News reported Thursday. Under one proposal, the company in question, Amyntor Group, would reportedly receive millions of dollars to create networks for information gathering and in another proposal, former intelligence officials affiliated with Amyntor would be involved in efforts to capture terrorists and bring them back to the U.S.
The seriousness with which the White House is examining these proposals is reportedly in dispute, however. One government official who spoke to BuzzFeed News claimed that "[t]he idea [Amyntor] is pitching is absurd on its face and it is not going anywhere," while a lawyer for the private company would only say that the hypothetical plan was legally permissible "with direction and control by the proper government authority." BuzzFeed News' sources claim that the Trump administration has been open to intelligence privatization proposals because the administration believes "the CIA bureaucracy has an anti-Trump bias that would thwart efforts to fulfill the president's objectives."
The president has reportedly considered other privatization pitches in the past, most notably, a proposal on behalf of Erik Prince — former CEO of the now-defunct private military group Blackwater and brother to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos — to privatize the war effort in Afghanistan. Trump eventually went with more conventional troop increases there, so perhaps these spies for hire shouldn't get their hopes up.