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Private Security, Public OrderThe Outsourcing of Public Services and Its Limits$
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Simon Chesterman and Angelina Fisher

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199574124

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574124.001.0001

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Intelligence services

Intelligence services

(p.184) 9 Intelligence services
Private Security, Public Order

Simon Chesterman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter surveys the manner in which US intelligence functions have been outsourced in collection activities such as electronic surveillance, rendition, and interrogation, as well as the growing reliance on private actors for analysis. The different incentives that exist for private and public employees call for wariness in determining whether and to what extent intelligence functions should be outsourced. The simplest way of containing some of the accountability-related problems would be to forbid certain activities from being delegated or outsourced to private actors at all. A determination of which activities to forbid, however, is far from simple. In the United States, this question is framed in the language of ‘inherently governmental’ functions: those to be carried out by government employees only. There is, however, great uncertainty over the meaning of the term and little prospect of intelligence agencies adopting a robust definition of ‘inherently governmental’ functions.

Keywords:   privatization, private military and security companies, PMSCs, intelligence agencies, inherently governmental functions, accountability, transparency, limits on privatization

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