Private intelligence agency
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A private intelligence agency (PIA) is a private sector (non-governmental) or quasi-non-government organization devoted to the collection, analysis, and exploitation of information, most commonly through the evaluation of public sources (OSINT or Open Source INTelligence) and cooperation with other institutions. Some private agencies make their services available to governments as well as individual consumers; however, most of these agencies sell their services to large corporations with an interest or investment in the category (e.g. crime, disease, corruption, etc.) or the region (e.g. Middle East, Vietnam, Prague, etc.).
The private intelligence industry has boomed due to shifts in how the U.S. government is conducting espionage in the War on Terror. Some US$56 billion or 70% of the US$80 billion national intelligence budget of the United States was in 2013 earmarked for the private sector according to the New York Times' Tim Shorrock. Functions previously performed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), and other intelligence agencies are now outsourced to private intelligence corporations.
Private intelligence agencies have also been seen in fiction. Rubicon, a TV series from AMC, was devoted to the intelligence consultancy American Policy Institute (API). In the Kingsman franchise, we see the inner workings of Kingsman, a private intelligence service of which main character Eggsy is a member.
List of private intelligence companies
- AEGIS (UK-based)
- Black Cube (Israel&UK-based)
- Booz Allen Hamilton (US-based)
- Control Risks Group (UK-based)
- Groupe GEOS (France-based)
- Fusion GPS (US-based)
- Hakluyt & Company (UK-based)
- Kroll Inc. (US-based)
- Oxford Analytica
- Pinkerton National Detective Agency (US-based)
- Smith Brandon International, Inc. (US-based)
- Stodacom (Africa-based)
- Stratfor (US-based)
- Verrimus (UK-based)
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