Eliot, making waves
President Bush and U.S. policy-makers are receiving more intelligence from open sources such as Internet blogs and foreign newspapers than they previously did, senior intelligence officials said.
The new Open Source Center (OSC) at CIA headquarters recently stepped up data collection and analysis based on bloggers worldwide and is developing new methods to gauge the reliability of the content, said OSC Director Douglas J. Naquin.
“We’re certainly scoring a number of wins with our ultimate customer,” said Mr. Jardines, who became the first high-level official in charge of the government’s nonsecret intelligence in December.
“I can’t get into detail of what, but I’ll just say the amount of open source reporting that goes into the president’s daily brief has gone up rather significantly,” Mr. Jardines said. “There has been a real interest at the highest levels of our government, and we’ve been able to consistently deliver products that are on par with the rest of the intelligence community.”
Mr. Naquin said recent OSC successes have included the discovery of a technology advance in a foreign country. Also, most data on avian flu outbreaks come from open sources, he said.
“Have we got coups out of it? Close to it,” Mr. Naquin said. “But certainly we’ve had more insight than we’ve ever had before.” […]
A Defense Department official said Chinese military bloggers have become a valuable source of intelligence on Beijing’s secret military buildup. For example, China built its first Yuan-class attack submarine at an underground factory that was unknown to U.S. intelligence until a photo of the submarine appeared on the Internet in 2004.
It won’t make one OSINT practitioner happy, but it would seem – even with what I am sure are hamstrings – things are moving forward. An Army of Analysts tapping an Army of Collectors (albeit unintentional ones).