Jellyfish Intelligence is the name of a new company formed by former officials at Blackwater. Jellyfish Intelligence will serve Fortune 500 companies with corporate spying services. Jellyfish CEO and former Blackwater senior executive Keith Mahoney insists that the new company will not be controversial.
Along with Mahoney, there’s Michael Yorio, the executive vice president for business development and another Blackwater vet; Yorio recently prepped the renamed Xe Services for its life after founder Erik Prince sold it.
Jellyfish’s chief technology officer is J.D. Smith, who was part of Able Danger until lawyers for the U.S. Special Operations Command shut the program down in 2000. Also from Able Danger is Tony Shaffer, Jellyfish’s “military operations adviser” and the ex-Defense Intelligence Agency operative who became the public face of the program in dramatic 2005 congressional testimony
Jellyfish is about corporate-information dominance. It swears it’s leaving all the spy-world baggage behind. No guns, no governments digging through private records of its citizens.
What’s that mean? Through a mouthful of corporate-speak (“empowering the C-suite” to make crucial decisions) Mahoney describes a worldwide intelligence network of contacts, ready to collect data on global hot spots that Jellyfish can pitch to deep-pocketed clients. Does your energy firm need to know if Iran will fall victim to the next Mideast uprising? Jellyfish’s informants in Tehran can give a picture. (They insist it’s legal.)
They’ve got “long-established relationships” everywhere from Bogota to Belgrade, Somalia to South Korea, says Michael Bagley, Jellyfish’s president, formerly of the Osint Group. A mix of “academia, think tanks, military or government” types.
I can’t be the only person thinking that this is not going to turn out well. Take a look at the Fortune 500 companies. How many of them would love to have corporate spies on the payroll? Who do you think you are going to encounter the next time you go to protest a major company?
Ironically, Jellyfish has named themselves after a creature that looks cute and harmless, but can kill you with it’s poisonous tentacles that get everywhere. Then again, they weren’t so great with their former name, Blackwater.