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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.[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 $56 billion (USD) or 70% of the $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]

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 companiesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Smith, Michael (2008-06-01). "Private Intelligence Companies" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-02-05. 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. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  4. ^ Kara Scannell, Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb, Intelligence firm: House panel's subpoenas 'clear abuse of power', CNN (October 16, 2017).
  5. ^ "Verrimus Ltd invest in new North East training facility". 21 May 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  6. ^ "State needs dedicated stand-alone intelligence service". 24 July 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Inquiry into Reports of Unlawful Surveillance of Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission" (PDF). 4 June 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Dublin bugging scandal: Hi-tech surveillance and intrigue". 21 February 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Verrimus".