Internet Anthropologist Think Tank: OSINT, New value.

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    Friday, December 21, 2007

    OSINT, New value.

    ( gOOGLE blog is messing up formating, in compose mode this appears as normal paragraphs, sorry G }
    One result of this revolutionary change has been a newfound willingness on the
    part of the U.S. Intelligence Community to reexamine the extent to which it relies —
    or has failed to rely — upon open source information, which some have argued has
    been relegated to a “second class” status by many intelligence professionals who
    continue to value secret information above all else. As part of this reexamination, the
    Intelligence Community appears to be reassessing a number of open source issues,
    including the relative value of open source information compared to that of secret
    information; the impact and importance of the growing volumes of information
    unlocked by easy access to the Internet; the dampening effect that certain Community
    security practices may have had and may continue to be having on the use of open
    sources; the state of development of analytic tools necessary to effectively and
    efficiently collect, sift, analyze, and disseminate a vast volume of publicly available
    information when analysts are expected to also analyze increasingly large amounts
    of classified information; and, training issues relating to open source technology and
    If the global information revolution has sparked debate within the Intelligence
    Community over the value of open source information, the ongoing jihadist terrorist
    threat has sharpened its focus. In underscoring the strategic and tactical importance
    of open source information generally, and the role of the Internet specifically, one
    senior policymaker recently described the Internet as being America’s new open
    source battlefield.

    Ultimately, these observers suggest, the United States must develop the capability to understand and influence foreign populations — “not in their council of states but in their villages and slums” — if it is to effectively counter the threat posed by jihadists. In such circumstances, it is argued, the information that should matter most to policymakers can be derived from open sources.

    The debate over the relative value of open source information, compared to that
    of classified data, is occurring at a time when the global information environment is
    viewed by some as having reached a “post-modern” stage.3 In such an environment,
    secret information may be less important than the combination of open source
    information, information sharing, computer networking, and an ability to sift and
    analyze a dizzying volume of open source information. Indeed, one former senior
    intelligence officer suggested that whereas the 20th century was the century of
    secrets, the 21st century may well prove to be the century of global information. If the
    Intelligence Community as a whole accepts and understands this change, according
    to some observers, it may gain an edge in confronting current threats, particularly
    those posed by terrorism.

    Intelligence professionals generally agree that open source information is useful
    and that such information should be collected and analyzed, just as is data derived
    from classified sources. They disagree, however, over its value relative to that of
    clandestinely-collected secret information, and thus the amount of time, attention,
    and resources that should be devoted to its collection and analysis remains in dispute.
    For a brief case study of open source intelligence, see Appendix.

    There generally are three different prevailing views regarding the of relative
    value of open source information. The first holds that policymakers simply derive
    less value from such information than from clandestinely-collected secrets. While
    open source information can complement, supplement and provide context for
    classified data, such information, it is suggested, rarely provides insight into an adversary’s plans and intentions. ( This would suggest they are not employing Paradigm Intel at all? Gerald )Policymakers tend to view such information as being critically important to policy deliberations, and attach to it the highest value.
    For that type of insight, it is argued, the Intelligence Community must discover and
    collect secrets. It therefore is entirely appropriate that the Community target the
    preponderance of its resources to that end. As the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) reportedly stated in 2005, “I only have money to pay for secrets.”..................................................(Bad news for USA.G)

    The second view asserts that open source information should be viewed not only
    as an important contextual supplement to classified data, but also as a potential
    source of valuable intelligence, in and of itself. Proponents of this view tend to cite
    the as-Sahab Institute, al-Qaida’s sophisticated Internet-based messaging and
    propaganda multimedia production facility, as an example of why open source
    collection and analysis is so important in today’s technology-driven and globalized
    world.5 Others cite al-Qaida’s ability to use virtual space to recruit, proselytize, plot,
    and plan with impunity.6 According to one observer, “al-Qaida is right on the cutting
    edge of the adoption of new technologies. They grab hold of the new stuff as soon
    as it becomes available and start using it.”7 Another commentator suggested that
    gaining an understanding of the inner workings of the as-Sahab Institute may provide as an effective way as any “to get close to bin Laden and Zawahiri.”8 According to one former senior intelligence who believes that the Intelligence Community continues to undervalue open source information, “[Open source information] is no longer the icing on the cake, it is the cake itself.”

    Proponents of the third view adopt a “middle-ground” position, arguing that
    open source information probably will never provide the “smoking gun” about some
    issue or threat, but that it can be instrumental in helping analysts to better focus or
    “drive” clandestine collection activities by first identifying what is truly secret. Open
    sources therefore should be viewed as an analyst’s “source of first resort.” Although
    these adherents tend to champion the relative value of open sources, their supports
    appears to be measured. While generally believing that the Intelligence Community
    should devote additional resources to collecting and analyzing open source
    information, they appear wary of over-selling its value. “We don’t have the
    confidence yet,” according to one senior intelligence officer, in explaining such


    We view as clandestine info and OSINT a screw drivers, one flat head and the other philips. It is just a question of what you need.

    And we just heard that the CIA doesn't use philips screwdrivers?

    The value we see to our OSINT OPs is that of up-to-date info, bots feed you what your interested in, in real time.


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