Erik Prince — the founder of controversial military contract firm Blackwater
, major GOP donor, Hillsdale alumni, and brother to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos — wants to build President Donald Trump a private spy network, according to a report
by The Intercept
. The arrangement would allow Trump to circumvent the CIA and the so-called the "deep state."
According to the report, a senior official says the Trump administration is considering proposals from Prince to create "a global, private spy network that would circumvent official U.S. intelligence agencies" to counter "'deep state' enemies in the intelligence community seeking to undermine Donald Trump's presidency." The alleged proposal would create a spy network in countries deemed "denied areas" for current American intelligence personnel, including North Korea and Iran.
"[CIA Director Mike] Pompeo can’t trust the CIA bureaucracy, so we need to create this thing that reports just directly to him," a former senior U.S. intelligence official told The Intercept
. "The whole point is this is supposed to report to the president and Pompeo directly."
The White House and National Security Council, however, have vehemently denied the allegations.
"I can find no evidence that this ever came to the attention of anyone at the NSC or [White House] at all," a National Security Councils spokesman told The Intercept
. "The White House does not and would not support such a proposal." A CIA spokesperson said, "You have been provided wildly inaccurate information by people peddling an agenda."
It wouldn't be the first time Prince attempted to circumvent traditional government channels. In April, The Washington Post reported
that Prince held a secret meeting in the Seychelles islands to establish a back channel line of communication between then-President-elect Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.