December 8, 2011
Seated at a sunny table outside in Los Angeles this week, 44-year old W. Edward Griffith could easily be mistaken for an average businssman, were it not for the lapel pin that reads "Griffith Colson Intelligence Service" (GCIS). His clip badge is attached to the breast pocket of his suit coat.
After co-founding GCIS, Griffith turned his agency into one of the most effective intelligence communications organizations in the country, with its MSS (Machaseh Security Service unit) serving the same role for the people of Israel statewide, as well as Jews in the United States. Griffith serves the dual role of Director-General of MSS, in addition to his job as Director of GCIS.
Griffith's vision was born out of Griffith Corporation Security Service, which evolved into today's GCIS. The agency provideds analysis on current events and open source information for the public-at-large (at no charge), and custom analysis for corporate and personal clients.
The agency is divided into directorates ranging from cyber security (which has a Cyber Narcotics unit), space security, art protection and communications. GCIS was also the first private intelligence agency to form its own accountability board, called the ESC (Executive Security Council), comprised of a variety of men and women from the private sector.
A private intelligence agency is a private sector (non-governmental) organization devoted to the collection and analysis of information, most commonly through the evaluation of public sources (OSINT or Open Source INTelligence) and cooperation with other institutions. Some private agencies make their services available to governments as well as individual consumers; however, most of these agencies sell their services to large corporations with an interest or investment in the category (e.g. crime, disease, corruption, etc.) or the region (e.g. Middle East, Vietnam, Prague, etc.). Some private agencies also provide related services, such as security personnel, surveillance equipment, medical evacuation or traveler's insurance.
The private intelligence industry has boomed due to shifts in how the U.S. government is conducting espionage in the War on Terror. Functions previously performed by the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agencies are now outsourced to private intelligence corporations.
Griffith is not camera shy. He has delivered dozens of online televised broadcasts on issues ranging from politics to defending Israeli airstrikes against Iran's nuclear facilities. He is socially moderate, liberal on some issues (such as the repeal of DADT), and strictly conservative of economic and national security issues. He is a staunch advocate of law enforcement on the local, state and federal levels, and is unapologetic in his defense of U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies.
Captiol Hill News was granted an interview with the private sector intelligence boss. Here are some excerpts from that interview.
Q: You have pioneered a new genre in private intelligence. Can you expalin that?
A: What we did was something different than most in the industry have done. While other agencies charge high fees and subscriptions for their information, we have held that information regarding the national security of our country belongs to all Americans. We make our profits through ad revenue and security partnerships, as well as clients who require more in-depth analysis of the information we provide. The core of our agency is communications and that is where we have made ground against our rivals.
Q: There has been talk that you are thinking about running for political office in California. Is that the case?
A: I said in a recent interview with SpyChix Magazine that I was not interested in running for office. I am happy and content in my position as director here at GCIS. I will admit that lately, with the gridlock on Capitol Hill and the economic conditions of the country, not to mention the global economic crisis, I have had to reconsider. There is nothing to indicate that I will run for office and I am looking forward to supporting the best candidates in the 2012 campaign season. But nothing is off the table at this point. If and when such a decision is made, it will be with the blessing of my wife Alysyn and our children first.
Q: You have endorsed Mitt Romney. Why?
A: Mitt is an amazing leader. He has had his challenges, but he is the best, most balanced choice for the Republican Party to beat President Obama in 2012. His vision for America reminds me of a cross between Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp and this is the kind of leadership America requires to survive the challenges of our era.
Q: You have been calling for the U.S. and Israel to lead airstrikes against Iran's nuclear facilities for at least a year and a half.
A: Indeed, I have. The situation in Iran can not be balanced when their intentions against our allies of Israel. We dropped the ball with regard to our foreign policy in Egypt, Libya and other areas of the middle east. We warned the Administration during the Arab spring that the only result would be the extremist blocks, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, to take over the regions we once had contained. Economic sanctions will not work in Iran and I fear, even now, that while the only option is a military one, we may be too late. But act we must.
Q: Thank you Mr. Director.
A: My pleasure. Thank you.