COLLECTION AND USE OF OPEN-SOURCE INTELLIGENCE

To 2005

I - Z

Loeb, Vernon. "Back Channels: The Intelligence Community -- Non-Secrets." Washington Post, 1 Feb. 2000, A13. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to Robert D. Steele, former CIA operations officer and chief executive of Open Source Solutions Inc., "three of the Pentagon's joint commands have appointed action officers to manage the collection of openly available, non-secret intelligence. 'There is growing interest among the theater commanders-in-chief in operationally oriented open-source intelligence,' Steele said. 'The continuing difficulties faced by the CINCs in obtaining timely intelligence, including commercial imagery, from the Beltway bureaucracies have led them to begin creating their own direct-access capabilities for open-source intelligence.'" See Steele, Robert David, below.

Loeb, Vernon. "Spying Intelligence Data Can Be an Open-Book Test: Firm Finds a Market for Publicly Available Information." Washington Post, 22 Mar. 1999, A17.

Robert D. Steele, chief executive of Open Source Solutions Inc., in Fairfax, Virgina, "thinks there is one aspect of the intelligence game that he plays better than his former employer: gathering up publicly available information." Steele and his partner, Mark Lowenthal, "don't contend that open sources can replace clandestine human and technical sources. But the intelligence agencies exhibit a bias for their own secrets, they say, and lack internal systems for fully mining business experts, academic authorities, scientific journals, foreign government reports and burgeoning commercial databases, not to mention the Internet." See Steele, Robert David, and Lowenthal, Mark.

Lowenthal, Mark. "Open Source Intelligence: New Myths, New Realities." [http://www.defensedaily.com] Intelligencer 10, no. 1 (Feb. 1999): 7-9.

Clark comment: This is an excellent analysis of the problems surrounding the collection and use of open-source intelligence in the information world of today. Lowenthal argues that the the Community Open Source Program Office (COSPO), "the IC's attempt to arrive at a more coherent approach to the open source issues, both technology and content," failed to achieve its mission. The reasons for that failure can be found in an "in-grained" Intelligence Community "prejudice ... against open sources," and an overemphasis on "finding an ever elusive technology that would solve the open source problem of multiple and diverse sources."

McGill, G.M. (Mert) "OSCINT and the Private Information Sector." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 7, no. 4 (Winter 1994): 435-443.

"The amount of information available electronically through open sources, information with countless intelligence applications, is staggering.... The intelligence community must take advantage of every possible resource at its disposal, including the wide array of open source information that is readily available and relatively inexpensive." The author's primary suggestion is for the government to release information in "raw" form through a network like the Internet; private-sector information providers would, then, package or add value to this data.

Mercado, Stephen C. "A Venerable Source in a New Era: Sailing the Sea of OSINT in the Information Age." Studies in Intelligence 48, no. 3 (2004): 45-55.

"[T]he Intelligence Community needs to build a better ship to sail the sea of open sources. FBIS, the largest and best equipped of the disorganized collection of offices engaged in OSINT, is too small a craft with too few hands to navigate the waters and harvest the catch.... Above all, the Intelligence Community requires a sustained approach to open sources. As with other collection disciplines, one cannot conjure OSINT programs out of thin air. Assembling a substantial number of officers competent in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, and other languages and expert in fishing in the OSINT seas, then giving them the sources and methods to do their work, would be no small feat."

Clark comment: The author makes many on-the-mark points in this excellent article. The problem is that he is a decade too late. CIA and FBIS management missed the boat in the early 1990s when the CIA's Community Open Source Program Office was formed without FBIS as the lead element.

Ogle, James V. "The Intelligence of Literature." Studies in Intelligence 7, no. 4 (Fall 1963): 23-29.

In his following of the open literature, the author finds a reemergence of the trends that culminated in the 1956 Hungarian revolt.

Pringle, Robert W. "The Limits of OSINT: Diagnosing the Soviet Media, 1985-1989." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 16, no. 2 (Summer 2003): 280-289.

"Without human and technical intelligence, open source intelligence can be important, but of limited utility for the strategic intelligence analyst, because of the very nature of the material. Moreover, during a period of change -- such as the Soviet Union between 1985 and 1988 -- open source intelligence has to be especially carefully used."

Pughe, George A. "The Dust That Isn't There." Studies in Intelligence 2, no. 2 (Spring 1958): 71-74.

Reports on the Air Intelligence Division's efforts to exploit the Soviet Union and its satellites for scientific, technical, and other information.

Rathmell, Andrew, and Lorenzo Valeri.  "Implementing Open Source Intelligence."  Jane's Intelligence Review, Nov. 1997, 523-527.

Seymour: "Reviews the results of a study to discover 'just how effective is the information revolution for intelligence purposes?'"

Sigurdson, Jon, and Patricia Nelson. "Intelligence Gathering and Japan: The Elusive Role of Grey Intelligence." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 5, no. 1 (Spring 1991): 17-34.

Steele, Robert David [multiple items on open source and intelligence reform].

Studeman, William O. [ADM/USN] "Teaching the Giant to Dance: Contradictions and Opportunities in Open Source Information within the Intelligence Community." American Intelligence Journal 14, no. 2 & 3 (Spring/Summer 1993): 11-18.

Remarks made at Symposium on "National Security and National Competitiveness: Open Source Solutions," McLean, VA, December 1992.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Preparing U.S. Intelligence for the Information Age: Coping With the Information Overload. Washington, DC: 1993.

Surveillant 3.2/3: "The Scientific and Technical Committee (STIC) Open-Source Subcommittee ... believes there is an urgent need to develop automated tools for coping with information overload. The report gives an awareness of the extent of the problem."

Wallner, Paul F. "Open Sources and the Intelligence Community: Myths and Realities." American Intelligence Journal 14, nos. 2 & 3 (Spring-Summer 1993): 19-24.

Return to Open Source Table of Contents

Return to Post-WWII Issues Table of Contents