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The International Contract Agency (also known as the "ICA" or "The Agency") is a global conglomerate of hitmen and professional assassins, whose services are extended to wealthy and influential customers around the world.
The ICA is Agent 47's employer. It is a multinational, extremely-funded criminal organization independent of the world's governments, with ties to various groups and individuals, providing assassination and mercenary services. Credited assassinations have taken place in the Americas, the Pacific Rim, and Eurasia. The Agency enjoys the cooperation of affiliates such as the FBI, CIA, MI6, CSIS, NSA and even elements within the United Nations (UN). Although politically neutral and ethically amoral, the Agency avoids accepting hits ordered by enemies of its allies in government bureaus to ensure cooperation from their allies. In addition, most of 47's assigned assassination targets are professional criminals.
The Agency offers not only assassinations, but also intelligence on the suspects. The initial price for scheduled assassination depends on the target, the target's importance, the amount of security that the target enjoys, and the chosen asset, with 47 being the most expensive one. The Agency can be contacted by virtually anyone, from wealthy international companies and other agencies to even individuals seeking vendetta.
The Agency uses "handlers", such as Diana Burnwood, as the middle-man with its agents. They provide professional freelance operatives like 47 with electronic correspondence and mission briefings. Contractors also sell intelligence briefings on the subjects of missions to their agents for the fee of USD 1,500 per file. Controllers in the Agency are not supposed to liaise with their assets in person, however Diana Burnwood has violated protocol by doing so. In Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Agent 47's registration number in the Agency is revealed as "BRO3886".
Even though the ICA has many assets and controllers all around the world, Agent 47 is the most valuable asset and achieved a Gamma rank after just one kill. He is provided with all the possible ICA weaponry and he is given the most dangerous and impossible tasks. He is also the most expensive asset to order for a kill, but he is known for always completing the order with perfection and even scheduling it to be an accident. It's also worth mentioning that Agent 47 is paid thousands for each contract, but he still chooses to keep a humble approach to life, donating some of it and keeping the rest for the activities he indulges in his spare time, such as fine dining and expensive clothing, such as suits.
During the events of Hitman: Blood Money, many ICA agents are killed by members of The Franchise, to the point where Diana says she and 47 are all that's left. The ICA's last hit is placed on corrupt CIA agent Anthony Martinez and grey market arms dealer Vaana Ketlyn, and Diana splits the remaining funds between herself and 47. However, once the Franchise is eliminated, Diana states that all the assets are back online.
Before the events of Hitman: Absolution, a secret ICA division led by Benjamin Travis secretly created a clone assassin of their own, a young girl named Victoria. However, when Diana learns of this, she flushed all ICA accounts, cut off all communication, and made the ICA publicly known. She then fled with Victoria and went into hiding. The ICA was reformed and a hit was ordered on Diana at her mansion near Chicago. However, once 47 shoots her and does not return Victoria, the ICA sent their forces after him. Later, "The Saints" (an elite assassin team Travis formed) and numerous ICA soldiers attack the Waikiki Inn. Here the ICA is shown as ruthless, firing a RPG into the motel, and executing all of the witnesses. However 47 eliminated all members of the Saints team. Later the ICA besiege the town of Hope while searching for 47, in a plan named "Operation Sledgehammer". It is suggested that several civilians are killed as there is gunfire heard in the Hope fair, The ICA also causes a gasoline tanker to crash, setting fire to a large section of Hope. The third time the ICA appears is at the Burnwood family crypt in Cornwall, England, Travis used them to dig up Burnwood's crypt and used another team, the Praetorians, to protect himself. Nonetheless 47 eliminates them both. In Hitman: Absolution's ending, Diana welcomes Agent 47 back, suggesting the ICA has rehired them both.
Alternate Background (2007 Film)
In the 2007 Hitman film, which is set a universe parallel to the main series, the Agency is replaced by a similar organization simply known as the "Organization". Like the Agency, the Organization benefits from ties to various government agencies, is neutral in global affairs and morality, and performs missions all over the world. Unlike the game, where the hitmen are contracted from a range of backgrounds, the Organization instead recruits orphans and trains them from an early age. But when 47 ties FSB agent Yuri Marklov to a bathtub, and a clock ticks in a laptop, the name of the ICA is clearly visible in the laptop, instead of Organization.
The Agency has ties to several major governments in the CIA (via Agent Smith), FBI (prior to The Franchise taking it from them), MI5, and Interpol. They are especially friendly with the United Nations, after Agent 47 prevented a terrorist attack at their summit in 2000. This later resulted in the Agency making an exception to their rule of not killing former clients, when Agent 47 was asked to kill Sergei Zavorotko for his possession of WMDs. Shortly beforehand, 47 was under strict orders not to kill any UN soldiers while on a mission in Afghanistan. The UN wanted to gain information from 47's target before he was sniped, showing that the Agency does not have a strict allegiance to the UN.
The end of Hitman: Blood Money shows one of their offices, perhaps a headquarters, having a beautiful view of the river bay in Copenhagen, Denmark. At this point, Diana talks to an unknown character known only as 'Your Majesty', about the unknown location of Agent 47.
As for the ICA badge, the D.K. refer to Denmark whose national letters are DK.
Hitman: Enemy Within describes their board of directors in detail. Their leader is an unidentified male with a deep voice, who does not show his face (also demanding of middle management like Diana to show their faces as little as possible), and as of 2003 their board of directors consist of;
- Aheem Shbot (Former Iraqi minister, with a stolen $25 million fortune from the war)
- Jose Sosa (Venezuelan oil minister)
- Frank Tang (High-ranking member of a Chinese tong, or crime ring)
- Lalu "King of Whores" Khan (Leader of India's biggest prostitution network)
- Dr. Natalia Luka (Arms dealer selling Russian nuclear weapons to the third world)
- Hans Beck (German industrialist and aspiring politician)
- Mary Minnarr (South African blood diamond mogul)
- Mustapha Nour (Egyptian arms dealer, selling to terrorists)
- Goto Osami (Japanese Yakuza member)
- Aristotle Thorakis (Greek shipping mogul, who Agent 47 would later kill for selling information to their rival, the "Puissanze Treize".)
Joe Sosa and Aristotle Thorakis are known to use their board positions to request assassinations. More than one of Sosa's rivals have died in car accidents, while Thorakis ordered at least three hits - Jose Alvarez (a Mexican cruise line owner rivaling Thorakis, who drowned in his pool even though he was an olympic swimmer 15 years ago. This was done by 47, who hid in his pool with scuba gear), Harry Meyers (a journalist who did an expose on Thorakis dumping toxic waste into the Atlantic, and seemingly killed himself two days before his wedding) and Countess Maria Sarkov (who was hit by a truck when walking the streets, after calling Mrs. Thorakis "an ugly pig" in a New York newspaper column).
Agent 47 and Diana Burnwood
Agent 47 is recognized as being the Agency's most efficient killer, an "urban legend", that is frequently requested by name from clients. During the course of Hitman Absolution Benjamin Travis and some ICA soldiers refer to Agent 47 as the "scalpel", calling him the Agency's most subtle and precise assassin. He is also one of their most expensive, charging anywhere from $100,000 (low-rate) to $600,000 (in the cases of difficult targets like Sheikh Al-Khalifa) for his services. Hitman: Enemy Within reveals that he personally kills only 3% of the Agency's targets, but makes them 37% of their income per year. It also shows that while Agent 47 has a number because of a previous institution, other agents are simply called by name.
Agent 47's main controller, Diana, is the voice heard almost exclusively from all the games. There is only one other voice in Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, and that is Clera in The Graveyard Shift.
Numerous assassinations can be attributed to Agent 47. Being a member makes him an underground public representative. His success is their success, bringing more clients to them and himself. Such assassinations have come in the form of bombings, poisonings, strangulation, "accidents", on top of numerous more specific other public killings., making the Agency, and Agent 47, a highly sought after service and assassin that is known to get the job done.
- It is also interesting to note that the Agency's logo itself is based on the original MI5 emblem, replacing, along with the images themselves, the characters in the three corners, originally M, I, and 5, from left to right with IOI, for IO-Interactive.
- In the Saints ICA File trailer, it's mentioned in the documentation that the Agency apparently uses names of birds as ranks for its operatives. For example, the rank of some of the Saints is named as "Eagle" and documents suggest that one of the members, Heather McCarthy, should be hired as "rank Sparrow".
- The Agency's motto, which is in Latin, "Merces Letifer" means "Lethal Trade".
- Atop the Agency's logo resides the "all-seeing eye", frequently attributed to the Illuminati and Freemasonry. This can also be seen on the American dollar bill, though it is simply associated with secrecy.