erik prince oliver north
President Donald Trump is courting bad company. He's talking with Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, ex-CIA officer John R. Maguire, and Iran-Contra figure Oliver North in a bid to create his own private version of the Central Intelligence Agency. A proposal has been submitted to the current CIA boss, Mike Pompeo, The Week reported on December 5.

It's part of an effort to circumvent current and former members of the intelligence community that are working to undermine the president.

"Pompeo can't trust the CIA bureaucracy, so we need to create this thing that reports just directly to him," a former senior intelligence official told Matthew Cole of The Intercept. "It is a direct-action arm, totally off the books."

One glance at the players and we can determine what the outcome will be if the effort gets off the ground.

Erik Prince currently heads the private equity firm Frontier Resource Group and is chairman of Hong Kong-listed Frontier Services Group Ltd. Prince worked with Trump's transition team and shares the president's view on Islam.

In 2009, a former Blackwater employee and Marine, identified as John Doe #2, made allegations in federal court that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe." The Marine, who worked as a security operative for Blackwater, also said his former boss "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."

He also said in a sworn declaration "it appears that Mr. Prince and his employees murdered, or had murdered, one or more persons who have provided information, or who were planning to provide information, to the federal authorities about the ongoing criminal conduct."

The allegations were made in a lawsuit filed by Iraqi civilians suing Blackwater for war crimes and other misconduct.

In 2007, Blackwater employees killed 17 Iraqi civilians and injured 20 when they opened fire in Nisour Square in Baghdad. Four Blackwater employees were found guilty of manslaughter in the case.

Earlier this year, Prince floated an idea to privatize the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan. Dubbed "A Strategic Economy of Force," the plan calls for sending 5,500 contractors to Afghanistan to embed with Afghan National Security Forces, and appointing a "viceroy" to oversee the plan, The Atlantic reported on August 18.

Prince's "viceroy" would report directly to the president and be empowered to make decisions about State Department, DoD, and intelligence community functions in-country.

His proposal also calls for establishing a private air force to supplement Afghan air capabilities, according to the report.

Moreover, according to Jack Murphy of SOFREP, a website specializing in Special Forces news, Prince sold out to Chinese intelligence.

"It now appears China's newest proxy soldier is Erik Prince, the former SEAL, the private military company CEO, and once CIA cut-out," Murphy wrote in March. "When the Chinese government absorbs Prince's knowledge, they will then strip the Western characteristics from it (including Prince himself) to create a uniquely Chinese approach to covert operations, using specific techniques gleaned from Prince about intelligence and paramilitary operations."

Murphy also claims Prince laundered money through Chinese banks. If true, he writes, "Prince can look forward to being gifted a Chinese passport and a permanent stay in Hong Kong, as he will never be setting foot in the United States again unless he strikes a considerable plea bargain with the Department of Justice."

Prince's arrogance and contempt were on display during testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in December. "It was the considered opinion that Prince possibly was the most arrogant jackass ever to appear before a congressional committee," a source told Charles P. Pierce, writing for Esquire.

John R. Maguire is a former CIA Senior Service case officer. He also worked with the Trump transition team. Maguire is the vice president of the Amyntor Group.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Maguire has "wide ranging experience and success in Iraq, the Middle East, Arabian Gulf and Africa, with global Special Operations, security issues related to business development and emerging market challenges, international banking and risk management and mitigation."

Not mentioned in the profile is Maguire's work with the Nicaraguan Contras. According to Michael Isikoff and David Corn (Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War), Maguire ran guns to the paramilitary group supported by the Reagan administration and also directed commandos to mine Nicaraguan ports-an act of war. He posed as an employee of Johnson Outboard Motor Repair in La Union, El Salvador.

In Afghanistan, Maguire provided explosives and weapons training for Ahmed Shah Massoud and the Northern Alliance. In 1995, he planned a coup attempt against Saddam Hussein in Iraq. This proved to be a dismal failure and Iraqis plotting with Maguire and the CIA were killed along with their families.

The Iran-Contra investigations resulted in a more cautious CIA and the partial shutdown of covert and paramilitary operations during the Clinton administration. Disillusioned, Maguire went to The Farm, the CIA's training camp in Virginia.

Prior to President George W. Bush's Iraq invasion, Maguire came up with a plan to insert a small army of paramilitary officers on the ground in Iraq, penetrate Saddam's regime, recruit military leaders with "buckets of cash," stir up internal dissent, bomb railroads and communication towers, and target key regime officials for assassination. The objective was to get Saddam Hussein to respond and thus provide a pretext for a full-scale US invasion.

"We were doing things in this program that we hadn't done since [former CIA direct William] Casey," Maguire proudly admitted.

As for the Iraqi dictator, he said: "We wanted that fucker dead. We were willing to do anything to get Saddam."

Oliver North's crimes are well-known. As President Ronald Reagan's National Security aide, he was largely responsible for planning and executing the illegal war against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. 25,000 Nicaraguans were killed during the conflict.

Reagan initiated a heyday of renewed CIA covert activities following the Church Committee disclosures of the 1970s. During the eight years of his administration, Reagan oversaw more than 50 major covert operations, more than any president since John F. Kennedy. "Reagan and Casey set the agenda, but it was Oliver North's job to carry it out. In North, they had their 007," writes Bill Moyers.

Prior to his role on the Iran-Contra affair, North, at the time working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, drew up plans to mass surveil activists and arrange for the detention of hundreds of thousands of undocumented aliens in case of an unspecified national emergency. The plan was part of Rex 84, short for Readiness Exercise 1984. It called for suspending the Constitution and the detention of citizens deemed to be a "national security threat."

Rex 84 was an outgrowth of earlier projects, including Operation Garden Plot, activated during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, and Operation Lantern Spike, a military intelligence effort to target civil rights activists, including Martin Luther King.

North put his "national security threat" experience to use when he cooperated with the FBI in an effort to surveil and sabotage domestic activists. The FBI told a congressional committee North ordered the agency to investigate funding sources behind legal action brought by two journalists who were being represented by the Christic Institute in a lawsuit against members of North's private network.

Although the FBI claims it didn't engage in such behavior-despite a long history of doing so under Operation COINTELPRO-it investigated and surveilled members of the Christic Institute.

North used funds raised from the sale of arms to Iran to fund the Contras. He suggested a million dollars from Project Democracy-later called the National Endowment for Democracy-be given to Panamanian dictator General Manuel Noriega so he might "take care of' the Sandinista leadership for us." Noriega was a trusted CIA asset.

He was later renditioned by the US military during its invasion of Panama following an indictment by federal grand juries in Miami and Tampa on charges of racketeering, drug smuggling, and money laundering.

If Donald Trump's plan for a fully privatized, unaccountable, and personalized version of the CIA becomes a reality, it will represent a grand stroke in an ominous trend that has unfolded since 9/11-the for-profit outsourcing of intelligence, surveillance, and covert military operations.

As of 2015, five corporations dominated the military and intelligence contractor business-Leidos, Booz Allen, CSRA, SAIC, and CACI. Other players include Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Raytheon, BAE, and Accenture, as well as smaller companies, including ManTech International Corporation, Engility Corporation, L-3 Communications, and PAE.

Iran has worked its way to the top of Donald Trump's "America First" foreign policy to-do list. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley's recent show-and-tell with rocket wreckage is but the latest example of an effort to frame Iran.

"Haley's comments were more telling about the nature of what the Trump administration is trying to do with such displays," writes Paul R. Pillar for Consortium News. "She talked about going to 'great lengths' to declassify 'evidence' and said, 'As you know, we do not often declassify this type of military equipment recovered from these attacks.'"

Further "evidence" will likely be forthcoming as the Trump administration continues its effort to provoke a confrontation with Iran.

CIA director Pompeo is known for his intense animosity toward the Islamic Republic. In October, he declared Iran "a pernicious empire that is expanding its power and influence across the Middle East." He added, "unlike ISIS and its mirage of a caliphate, Iran is a powerful nation-state that remains the world's largest state-sponsor of terrorism. The Islamic Republic is Iran's version of what the caliphate ought to look like under the control of an Ayatollah and his praetorian guard, the IRGC."

Finally, as a preview of things to come-both at the CIA and Trump's proposed subsidiary-recall Pompeo's remarks delivered at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a neocon operation, in October.

He said "we've now laid out a strategy for how we're going to execute our strategy with incredible vigor. We're going to become a much more vicious agency in ensuring that we are delivering this work. We are going to go to the hardest places with some of the hardest people and of our organization to crush it."

Think Eric Prince, John R. Maguire, and Oliver North.