At the Security & Counterterror Expo (SCTX 2017) in London this week there are companies and organisations on show active in a bewildering range of activities from perimeter security to training and from EOD to counter-drone detection and neutralisation.
There are not many private intelligence companies, though. For one simple reason – there aren’t that many. “We were the first intelligence company in the world when we began operations in 2008,” Chief Executive Officer of 5 Stones Intelligence, David Tinsley, told Mönch at the show.
In less than a decade the company has grown significantly in size – largely, it seems clear, as a result of its unique approach to intelligence. The concept of privatised intelligence may be anathema to Cold War Warriors, perhaps – but, as the 5 Stones’ operational motto puts it, “….for such a time as this,” it provides a viable, cost-effective and, it has to be said, results-oriented capability that has gained support and great credibility with US government agencies as well as those in other parts of the world.
The company has grown to some 235 staff with varied government and intelligence backgrounds, some from special forces, others from intervention and analysis groups within several ‘three letter agencies.’ The proof of the pudding, though, lies in its financial success. “We must be doing something right to have won $629 million in contracts,” Tinsley asserts.
A lynchpin of a successful counterterror or counterinsurgency strategy has long been addressing and disrupting the adversary’s sources of funding: the ‘follow the money’ adage. 5 Stones has taken this very much to heart and specialises in identifying, tracing and disrupting funds in a range of activities from forensic accounting to outright seizure. “In fact, we lead the world in financial seizures,” Tinslely told Mönch with an understandable degree of pride.
This is a company with a fascinating story to be told. One which, we hope, can actually be told without affecting operational security – the accomplishments of a company such as this are too important for the lessons not to be shared with an increasingly pressurised security community. SAFETY & SECURITY INTERNATIONAL intends to conduct an in depth interview with Tinsley and some of his colleagues in a future issue.