Intell in plain sight
The nation's spy agencies have not been all that interested in
publicly available information; historically, their emphasis has
been on developing covert information. But open-source
intelligence'the Internet, print, broadcast media, podcasts,
anything that contains information, in any language, from any
country'is playing an increasingly prominent role in U.S.
intelligence gathering, according to a report at Wired.com.
Open-source intelligence has indeed come in from the cold and
now has found a place inside the halls of power. Today, the head of
the Open Source Center (OSC)'whose mission is to mine "the
world's unguarded knowledge"'now reports directly to CIA
chief Gen. Michael Hayden, according to the Wired report. And open source material is included
regularly in the President's Daily Brief, the intelligence summary,
delivered right to the Oval Office.
The OSC was founded in 2005, and incroporated as its foundation
the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, a division of the CIA.
The data OSC collects is archived, and OSC analysts can then draw
upon it in response to queries from all levels of government; in
addition to the the intelligence community, the center fields
requests from the Defense Department, civilian agencies and state
and local law enforcement.