If you’ve made it this far into Countdown and you haven’t set your hair on fire, check this out: The White House and the CIA are reportedly considering proposals that sanction private covert missions by former intelligence agents, and that these missions would include “propaganda”, intelligence gathering, and even rendition. One of the companies reportedly being considered for a multi-million dollar contract is Amyntor Group, whose employees include “veterans of a variety of US covert operations, ranging from the Reagan-era Iran–Contra affair to more recent actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.” What are these missions exactly that CIA employees can’t conduct directly, and call for the hiring of private companies? Have we learned nothing from Blackwater? Ok, seriously, we need some good news before Christmas, we’re in desperate need for jolly holiday season.

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