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Director of National Intelligence's Open Source Center (OSC) surfing blogs and web sites...
by Wayne Madsen    The Wayne Madsen Report
Entered into the database on Tuesday, December 13th, 2005 @ 20:46:28 MST


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The Washington Post is reporting that the Director of National Intelligence's Open Source Center (OSC) (which replaced the Foreign Broadcast Information Service) is surfing blogs and web sites looking for open source intelligence to help it do its job. The center's director, CIA veteran Douglas Naquin, said, "managing the world's unclassified knowledge ... [is] much bigger than any one organization can do."

With all the recent complaints about Internet censorship and e-mail blocking, one has to wonder -- what does "managing the world's unclassified knowledge" entail? Secret deals with Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, and Google to control the flow of information. What does this have to do with John Poindexter's re-engineered and re-packaged Total Information Awareness system and its Genoa I, Genoa II, and Genesys incarnations? What does OSC's Advanced Internet Exploitation training have to do with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA's) Information Exploitation Office (IXO)?

Note to OSC analysts: since the various whistleblowers from a dozen intelligence agencies cannot seem to get the attention of their management, would you be so kind as to incorporate their stories and travails found on this web site in your intelligence reports so people like John Negroponte will realize that the major problem with our intelligence agencies is their senior management? Names provided upon request.


From The
By Susan B. Glasser
The Washington Post

CIA scours blogs for useful intelligence

Some `secrets' can be found in plain view

WASHINGTON · The CIA now has its own bloggers.

In a bow to the rise of Internet-era secrets hidden in plain view, the agency has started hosting Web logs with the latest information on topics including North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il's public visit to a military installation -- his 38th this year -- and the Burmese media's silence on a ministry reshuffling. It even has a blog on blogs, dedicated to cracking the code of what useful information can be gleaned from the rapidly expanding milieu of online journals and weird electronic memorabilia warehoused on the Net.

The blogs are posted on an unclassified, government-wide Web site, part of a rechristened CIA office for monitoring, translating and analyzing publicly available information called the DNI Open Source Center. The center, which officially started this month under the aegis of the new director for national intelligence, marks the latest wave of reorganization to come out of the recommendations of several commissions that analyzed the failures of intelligence collection related to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

They pointed to decentralized and insufficient efforts to tap into the huge realm of public information in the Internet era, as well as a continuing climate of disdain for such information among spy agencies. "There are still people who believe if it's not top secret, it's not worth reading," said an outside expert who works with government intelligence agencies.

By adding the new center, "they've changed the strategic visibility," said Douglas Naquin, a CIA veteran named to direct the center. "All of a sudden open source is at the table." But, in an interview last week at CIA headquarters, he said that "managing the world's unclassified knowledge ... [is] much bigger than any one organization can do."

Today's Open Source Center began life as the Foreign Broadcast Information Service -- FBIS to insiders -- in 1941, when it was charged with monitoring publicly available media and translating it. Its pastel-hued booklets became a familiar presence throughout government. At the height of the Cold War, it was FBIS translators who pored through the latest issues of Izvestia and Pravda from the Soviet Union, providing the little hints such as a word change that might signal something broader for the CIA's Kremlinologists.

By the 1990s, the office had fallen on hard times. Some advocated abolishing FBIS, saying it was irrelevant in the age of 24-hour cable news. It survived, but its staffing was slashed 60 percent, according to Naquin. Sept. 11 gave it new purpose, as "open source" became an intelligence buzzword. Across government, policymakers began to debate how to find the nuggets of genuine information hidden in the Internet avalanche.

Even before the Open Source Center's debut, the office had retooled its Internet efforts earlier this year. It added a new video database that makes all its archives available online, and it rolled out an upgraded Web site with the blogs and homepages for key intelligence topics, such as Osama bin Laden, Iraq insurgency leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, China and even avian flu.

The center also sees itself as a repository of what Naquin calls "open-source tradecraft" in a self-conscious echo of his clandestine colleagues. It teaches courses to intelligence analysts across the community, with titles such as "Advanced Internet Exploitation."

Perhaps the toughest challenge for the new Open Source Center is proving its mettle inside a skeptical intelligence community, in which the stolen secret has long been prized above the publicly available gem. Although the center's Web site is unclassified and available across the government, at the moment it has just 6,500 users with active accounts, Naquin said.

"Rarely is there the `aha!' The `oh-you-solved-this or you-prevented-this'" moment, Naquin acknowledged.

The culture clash isn't likely to disappear anytime soon, especially with an intelligence community that still takes steps to classify material found easily on the Internet. Not long ago, recalled a former senior government terrorism analyst, he was teaching a class to future CIA intelligence analysts that included a PowerPoint presentation on al-Qaida's post-Sept. 11 evolution.

Two men in the back of the class came up to the instructor after the presentation. Where, they asked, did he get a particular image from Iraq? It's classified, they insisted. The former analyst laughed. He had taken it from a gruesome Web site that compiles terrorist atrocity videos along with pornography.,0,5337566.story?coll=sfla-news-nationworld