Private intelligence agency

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A 'PIA' or Private Intelligence Agency 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.[1] 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.).[2]

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.[3] The AMC series Rubicon was devoted to the fictional intelligence consultancy American Policy Institute (API).

Notable private intelligence companies[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Smith, Michael (2008-06-01). "Private Intelligence Companies" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-09-28. 
  2. ^ Ripley, Amanda. "Rent A-Spook". Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Abbot, Sebastian. "The Outsourcing of U.S. Intelligence Analysis". News21 Project. Retrieved 28 February 2013.