Are CIA analysts helping Chevron spy on activists? | EarthRights International
Here is what we know:
First, Chevron and Gibson Dunn have a demonstrated practice of hiring aggressive investigative firms to conduct surveillance and other undercover work in connection with the litigation over contamination in Ecuador. Examples include Kroll, Inc., Investigative Research Inc., the Mason Investigative Group, and Custom Investigative Service.
Firms like these are able to carry out the dirty work for corporations like Chevron and their corporate counsel. For example, a lawyer and a private investigator, both working for Chevron, brought a suitcase full of cash to a former judge who, unsurprisingly, has since become their key witness. Bribery? Well, not according to Chevron. We’ll see.
Kroll, Inc., another one of Chevron’s “risk consulting” firm, made the news recently when then-employee Sam Anson, attempted to recruit a young journalist to secretly dig up dirt on the Ecuadorian plaintiffs for Chevron. She refused, and revealed the plan.
Second, it is well known that private intelligence and investigative firms often employ former CIA agents. In fact, Investigative Research Inc. is run by Douglas Beard, a former CIA agent.
Third, the CIA and other intelligence agencies have an acknowledged policy of allowing active-duty agency personnel to do work on the side for private firms.
I can’t help but find this last point particularly concerning. The ethically questionable - if not outright illegal - purposes for which Chevron has used its private investigate firms is alarming on its own. But if it’s possible our government’s intelligence staff are assisting Chevron in its effort to bend the law to avoid accountability, that is all the more troubling.