CIA contracting in the private sector?

07 February 2010

While it's probably common knowledge to everyone inside the beltway but me, I stumbled across a news article in the Politico that talks about CIA analysts hiring themselves out to the private sector as contractors who specialize in determining the veracity of what is said by people involved in corporate negotiations.

Or in other words, truthsayers.

While I'm only slightly joking with the Dune reference, the way it's described they're doing much the same thing, only without the aid of external devices or mind-altering compounds. Apparently, the Agency maintains a cadre' of operatives who are trained in reading overt and covert physiological cues to determine if someone is lying about something and how important that something is to them as well as linguistic cues which are employed to qualify falsehoods or gloss over missing facts. They seem to refer to this technique as Tactical Behavior Assessment. It seems that they changed their internal policies to allow this because they got tired of their highly trained agents quitting to take jobs in the private sector where the pay and benefits are much better. They are, it should be noted, still bound by whatever security clearance and non-disclosure agreements they were granted when they signed on with the agency, though it would also not surprise at all if any interesting bits of information they picked up got passed up the food chain when they got back. An in depth description of work must be submitted to the Agency for review before a go/no go is returned to the agent in question. Any conflict of interest or hints of impropriety are grounds for an immediate refusal, backed up by the fearsome US legal system.

There is even an outfit based in Boston called Business Intelligence Advisors, which appears to be staffed by former Agency employees, though they seem to contract a fair number of active CIA employees for specific tasks. Not only can assets be contracted to carry out these tasks but sometimes they can be contracted to instruct non-assets in TBA methodologies.

It seems that the walls between worlds grow thinner and thinner as time goes by.