President Trump is considering creating a private network of spies that would be controlled directly by him and his CIA chief, according to a report.
The alleged proposal comes in part from Blackwater founder Erik Prince and would be separate from existing intelligence agencies in order to counteract the supposed “deep state” in the national security apparatus that is opposed to the commander-in-chief, sources told The Intercept.
Prince’s Blackwater previously provided privately contracted soldiers to the U.S., though scandal over operations that included civilian deaths in Iraq has led him to rebrand the venture and begin working with powers such as China and the United Arab Emirates.
A Prince spokesman said allegations reported in the Intercept are false.
“Any meetings Erik did have with members of the intelligence community, current or former, focused on his well-publicized plan for saving the U.S. taxpayer $42bn in Afghanistan,” the spokesman said in a statement to the Daily News.
The spokesman also accused the site of using Prince “asclick-bait to promote its own website.”
The new proposed intelligence wing, which has reportedly been soliciting Trump donors for financing, would also include spies in areas such as North Korea and Iran.
A National Security Council spokesman denied to The Intercept that anyone at NSC or the White House had been briefed on the proposal, though the outlet said that CIA Director Mike Pompeo was pushing it.
Prince denied that he was part of the project, which also reportedly includes his former colleague and CIA veteran John Maguire, the company Amyntor Group and Iran-Contra scandal figure Oliver North.
He says that the only effort he has publicly pitched has been private contracting options for the long-running war in Afghanistan.
Beyond his work with the government during the George W. Bush administration, Prince has ties to Team Trump, and is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
The Washington Post reported earlier this year that Prince had traveled to an Indian Ocean getaway in the Seychelles to meet with Abu Dhabi crown prince Mohammad bin Zayed and an associate of Vladimir Putin as an unofficial representative of the Trump transition.
Prince denied acting in any way for the Trump camp or setting up a backchannel method of communication between the future President and the Kremlin.
Source: New York Daily News