|February 3, 2010|
|'Spooks' for Sale to Highest PR Bidder|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|Is your PR firm looking to bolster its intelligence capability? Look no further. Focus your sights on CIA's Langley headquarters. That's where the action is.|
According to a forthcoming book by Eamon Javers called "Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy: The Secret World of Corporate Espionage," The Agency allows its spies to moonlight in the private sector in order to to pick up some cash.
The CIA rationalizes its moonlighting policy as a way to fend off a brain drain from the service. It knows intelligence officers could easily double or triple their salaries in the private world.
Financial firms and hedge funds are most active in recruiting CIA talent, but why can't some big global PR firms step into the picture. Picking the brains of a freelancing CIA officer is the kind of cost efficiency that is loved by bean-counters at corporate headquarters such as WPP. And what better way to spice up an RFP pitch then to include a couple of case officers on the executive team. It's pure gold.
Active duty officers have been moonlighting, offering expertise in areas like "deception detection, the art of telling when executives may be lying based on clues in a conversation," wrote Javers in an excerpt from his book that ran on Politico today.
They also are skilled in "Tactical Behavior Assessment." Imagine how competitors would tremble if word got out that WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell had a cadre of CIA officers helping him to plot strategy in his effort to rule the communications world roost. Surely, archrival Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy would need to respond.
Perhaps the Frenchman already has consulting pacts with the Direction Generale de la Securite Exterieure, France's equivalent of the CIA. That would be quite a coup since the French spy service warned the CIA that allegations that Iraq tried to buy nuclear materials in Africa was bogus. U.S. firms should throw some French spooks into the mix and add a couple of Britain's MI6 guys for a more global outlook.
The addition of CIA personnel is the patriotic thing to do. Firms could crow about keeping intelligence talent on the federal payroll at a time when the CIA needs all the manpower it needs to meet the demand for agents in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Somalia, Yemen and wherever else President Obama chooses to fight the war on terror or radical extremism or whatever else the Administration decides to call it.
You have to act fast. HarperCollins is publishing Javers' book on Feb. 9. It will be a seller's market once "Broker, Trader" generates buzz.
The book may also trigger a backlash against selling American intelligence talent to the highest corporate bidder.
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