Where Public Meets Private: In Search of Evidence of an Emerging Industrial-Espionage Complex


In the United States, the privatization of the national security intelligence is well documented. As Keefe (2010) writes, alongside the United States’ military-industrial complex operates an extensive yet lesser known “espionage-industrial complex”. Since the 1990s, lucrative private intelligence contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton have played a central role in the United States’ privatized national security industry. In Canada, comparably less is known about how trends toward privatization have affected high policing operations, but more details continue to come to light. Using a variety of data sources, this paper systematically compares the privatization of high policing in the United States and Canada. In contrast to the United States, it is argued that the privatization of high policing in Canada has been occurring with much less transparency, accountability, and public debate. In conclusion, I reflect on the broader implications of privatizing high policing in the United States and Canada, including the deterioration of public accountability and the emergence of a new profit-driven ethos of national security.

Nov 13, 2019
American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting