Shadow War, the American People and the Private Intelligence Industry

News & Society

  • Author Tony Anderson
  • Published September 21, 2023
  • Word count 1,629

From inside a non-discreet office building located in a mixed middle to upper-class neighborhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin sits several men and women. They are gathered around a bank of computers and big screen monitors tuned to different news outlets keeping track of what is happening. Others are busy pulling information from the cyber world and communicating with their human sources on the ground.

In which they are running sophisticated background checks on individuals and companies. This is all happening inside of what can only be described as a war room.

The only difference is that this war room is not a part of the US government or even the State or local police department. No, it is run by another type of shadowy organization that has blossomed over the years. These agencies do not operate for the benefit of any local, State, or federal government agency, even though they have all the tools and trapping of government available at their disposal.

No, this shadowy organization like many others exists for one reason — TO MAKE MONEY and CONTROL THE INFORMATION!

So what is this shadowy organization that seems to mimic the government in many different ways? Some call them private spies for hire or Private Intelligence agencies, companies, or firms. The names I assume do not really matter. Because the one thing they all have in common is the power to turn the odds in your favor for whoever is footing the bill.

Private intelligence agencies, once relegated to the margins of the national security landscape, have surged in prominence in recent years. These entities, often staffed by former intelligence professionals, offer a wide range of services, from background checks to sophisticated political intelligence gathering. Vanguard Intelligence & Security Group, located in a trendy wealth part of Milwaukee, is emblematic of this industry’s growth.

Before the election this next year, I ran into an individual by the name (well for his safety we will just call him (R) who told me that he had been hired by a company called Vanguard Intelligence & Security Group. I was intrigued by the name as I had heard of the company many years ago but had never met anyone who worked for them.

He explained to me that the company from what he was told had exited for almost 30 years and that one of the founders was some guy that had served in the Army as a Special Forces spy or something of that nature and that he was retiring soon. As we sat there smoking, I asked him several questions about the company as now I was completely engulfed in the conversation. But what interested me most was what he told me next.

He told me that Vanguard Intelligence & Security Group provided specialized information in several different areas including something called Opposition Research on not just wannabe politicians but those that are currently elected. Now this was not necessarily a surprise to me as many investigative companies at times provide information on elected officials. No, what made the conversation strange is when he informed me that they had dug into the lives of non-elected officials and their families. He told me he was not aware of what the information was being used for but it was scary the type of information they could pull on individuals.

I asked him how did he know that this company could do all of what he had been told. What made them any different than say a private investigation company? He explained to me that he watched the Director, run a license plate. I was like all P.I. can do that. He said that may be but can they track that license plate across the country?

I did not understand what he meant by that statement so I asked him to elaborate on it. He said that they could put the person’s license plate into a system and track their movements anywhere in the country for the most part. I had to ask myself was it possible? I think that I had seen what he said on an episode of NCIS or something. But I never thought it was real.

One of the most concerning aspects of private intelligence agencies is their capacity to gain and manipulate information and sway public opinion. As information brokers, they have the ability to cherry-pick facts, manipulate narratives, and selectively release information to serve the interests of their clients. This power to mold perception has significant implications for American democracy.

While Vanguard Intelligence & Security Group may not be unique in this regard, its location in a fashionable area of Milwaukee underscores the increasing reach and influence of such entities. These companies can tap into the local and national zeitgeist, shaping opinions and beliefs while operating behind the scenes.

When I hinted about possibly getting to meet the guy he was talking about he said NO WAY that he had already warned another person away. I asked him why. He informed me that this company played by a different set of rules that he had never seen before. And “R” believed that the company especially the guy that was retiring could be considered dangerous to not just his health but my health also.

This made me even more eager to attempt to get more information about this company. So the next day I looked up the company assuming that it would be like every other company out there and have a web presence — it did. I ran across an article or two on Bing about Vanguard Intelligence & Security Group being involved with the January 6th event in Washington DC along with another Private Intelligence Agency which surprised me.

If this information was true, then I was starting to understand “R” hesitation in providing me with any additional information or even introducing me to “the Old Man”. The article was on several different sites and it did provide some information as to the type of surveillance and agent provocateur operations this company could wage, not to mention the ability to conduct behavioral profiles on individuals that a client.

However, it did confirm on its’ own website that Vanguard Intelligence & Security Group was NOT a private investigation agency as I had expected it to be. Even though Vanguard Intelligence & Security Group is licensed as a PI agency, it states that they are a Private Intelligence Firm.

The website shows that it does provide a range of services, including “HUMINT”, “Surveillance”, “Geopolitical Intelligence”, "Behavioral Analysis and Profiling" and a host of other services. I called and asked for information on the different types of services they provide and if they had a brochure that I could read. I never received any information at all. I even went to their office and was stopped by a security officer with a patch and wearing an ID card that said she worked for Vanguard Intelligence & Security Group. I never even made it past the lobby area. She informed me that I would have to make an appointment.

It made me wonder how far would Vanguard and other companies go for their clients. I asked R if the company seemed shady and dangerous and he told me point blank that there are people that work for the company that he would not want to meet in a dark ally. I told him there are a lot of people like that and he said yes, but he has always got that gut feeling that you just did not want to cross the old man or the company as it could be bad for your health. He made it clear that based upon the type of information that they had available at their fingertips and the background of some of the people he meet, he did not not plan on crossing that line.

The ability to keep track of individuals, both online and offline, is another potent tool in the arsenal of private intelligence agencies. Vanguard Intelligence & Security Group, like others in the industry, is capable of conducting comprehensive surveillance operations, including monitoring social media, tracking online behavior, and gathering personal information from various sources.

This capacity for surveillance raises concerns about privacy and civil liberties. While these companies often claim to operate within legal boundaries, the line between responsible intelligence gathering and invasive surveillance can be thin. The ability to collect data on individuals can be exploited for a variety of purposes, including corporate espionage, political manipulation, or even personal vendettas.

As I thought about it, “R” reasonings for not necessarily to pissing off the old man as he called him started to make sense. What was a former Green Beret doing running a private intelligence agency I asked myself. I decided that I did not want to find out why after all. As it could potentially be bad for my health. Then again maybe I was allowing myself to be fed a load of malarkey.

Even though R did not appear to be worried about losing his job, he did appear fearful somewhat. It made no sense to me at first because like Chicago where I live, Milwaukee is a very dangerous city. This was something different however. I just cannot explain it.

When I left out the building I saw a sign in the parking structure that said the Vanguard Intelligence & Security Group, just as I had been told by “R” which said they controlled the entire office building. I went back into the building and asked if the owner of the building was Vanguard Intelligence & Security Group. She informed me that was not the case and then asked me my name and the nature of my business. I gave her a fake name and informed her I was just intrigued and went on my way.

Just an individual out to protect the American public from the Military and Intelligence industrial complex by sounding the drums of war. Thereby allowing the American people to be prepared.

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