Beginning with the Bush administration, the privatization of government services grew on a massive scale. This process included the military and the intelligence services. The reference to the president's private army might have been Blackwater and or XE. I read somewhere that half the staff at Langley are private contractors. The president is the commander-in-chief, and, in theory, controls the military and intelligence services. But there are legal constraints on these organizations that prevent them obeying all his orders. Part of the oath you take going into the military is swearing to obey the legal orders of all those appointed over you. No one in the chain of command, including the president, can order you to torture anyone. Bush and Cheney went private to get around the law. Violations of of the Constitution, federal law and the Uniform Code of Military Justice did and, probably still occur, because interpretations of the law from the Justice Department created the impression that torture was legal. This was legal spin, and not case law.
The CIA's Ancestor was the OSS, which originated during WWII. While it was an intelligence organization, it was more like the British SOE and heavily involved in sabotage activities. Members of the OSS were the founding fathers of the CIA. Quite a number of generals and admirals have headed the CIA, and, as an organization, they have relied on professional military personnel.
Intelligence agencies often own private companies as a cover, but I doubt that Blackwater was one of these covers. These people are screw-ups, and no sane intelligence organization would go near those idiots.
Special operation forces are not necessarily intelligence types, though they often work with them. Tom Engelhardt's father was a major in the 1st Air Commando, which was the ancestor of the Air Forces Special Operations forces. He must have been good, if he worked for Col. Cochran. They provided logistical and air support for Orde Wingate's Chindits operating behind Japanese lines in Burma. However, Special Operations facilities could include different organizations.
Pervis James Casey
Jan 12 2010 - 5:22pm