Kroll Inc. has hired many former CIA, MI6, Mossad and other government operatives.  Some have played outside the lines.  Kroll investigators aren't allowed to wiretap, break-in or bribe.  "Its investigators must use weapons that are both sharper and softer than those available to the police."  This has forced it to put greater focus on developing human sources, still a big shortcoming of American intelligence.  Sudan is mentioned as one country where Kroll Inc. has better contacts.

Kroll Inc. has had its problems.  R. Allen Stanford, the Texas billionaire accused of Ponzi scheming, used its services.  There have been other bad cases.  But the article paints a complimentary picture overall.  

All good things come to an end, though.  Kroll has left his firm, which sold for nearly two billion dollars.  With him gone, there's a sense within that things will be more normal, less intense, Finnegan reports.  Even before Kroll's departure, his company was getting bureaucratic.  One top employee recalled that as Kroll Inc. grew through acquisitions, becoming more mainstream, "They asked me to write a code of conduct, which I refused to do... They asked me point blank if I had ever lied.  I had been working under an alias, for &*$#%@ [my edit]."  Sounds a bit like Langley?  

"[Kroll Inc.] are the keepers of innumerable embarrassing, probably career-destroying, possibly corporation-destroying secrets."  This intelligence apparatus was built on ingenuity and without government strings.  It offers a few lessons learned.