Corporate intelligence firms seeing business boom

Fortune magazine reports that corporate intelligence firms, such as Control Risks in London and Kroll in New York, represent a sector of the economy that “stand[s] to gain from the financial crisis”. In fact, such “specialized consultancy” firms, largely staffed by former MI6 and CIA agents, are already “seeing a dramatic uptick in business from a surge of banks, private equity firms, and hedge funds that need to make sure those pesky multimillion-dollar investments they made when times were good will hold up”. The idiotic reporting aside (“we’d tell you who it was, but then we’d have to kill you”), which includes stupid (or product placement?) references to “James Bond’s License to Kill“, the magazine brings up an important aspect of contemporary economic activity: namely the gradual transformation of (what used to be called) corporate security to corporate spying, as well as its increasing outsourcing. Unfortunately, the article leaves completely untouched the controversial issue of informal ties between ex-government intelligence agents employed by industry and their buddies back in government agencies. It also does not address the equally timely subject of spying agencies of various nations conducting financial intelligence against foreign companies, in an attempt to help their country’s corporations win international contracts. [IA]

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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