Ming the Mechanic:
Open Source Intelligence

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Open Source Intelligence2004-05-25 13:52
picture by Flemming Funch

Robert Steele is a champion for OSINT - Open Source Intelligence. He's a former U.S. Intelligence Officer who now for years has run OSS.NET, a company selling intelligence services to government and big companies.
“At its best, OSINT is the complete marriage of the proven process of intelligence, from requirements definition and collection management to timely analytics, with all — and I do mean all — legally and ethically available sources. It is important to emphasize the paucity of those endeavors that are limited to English or the main European languages. If one cannot work in 29 plus languages on a 24/7 basis — that is in real time and near real time, — one is not serious. Print and broadcast media are actually the smallest part of the open source universe. Untapped perceptions, oral histories, informal exchanges, limited edition local publications, pre-prints, and geospatial as well as imagery information of all kinds — including photos from cells phones with geospatial positioning system information — this is the larger open source universe.

Lest you might believe that the U.S. government does OSINT, but does not advertise, I will briefly highlight the fact that in August 1995, in an overnight exercise, I defeated the entire U.S. intelligence community — all agencies — in what is now known as the Burundi exercise. I did this with six telephone calls on my way to the airport. It was not a fair contest — if you believe that only secrets matter, then you will tend to not know where to go for the non-secrets. There has been no real change since then, despite the best intentions within the FBIS community and the federal research Division at the Library of Congress, because of persistent opposing mind-sets at the highest levels.”
Steele has been trying hard to get the U.S. government to use more open source intelligence. As he suggests, if you only look for the stuff that is secret, you might miss all the stuff that's easily and openly available.

But what I think is cool about Open Source Intelligence is not just that it might make governments do less stupid things, but rather that it is equally available to the rest of us, if we organize ourselves well. A relatively small number of us could very well be more informed about many things than the CIA. A large number of us, well enough organized, with good enough tools, could perpetually be better informed and more collectively intelligent than any government agency.

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26 May 2004 @ 15:56 by bri_outten : eyes and brain connect
I guess it's a case of constant awareness as in the case of always keeping your eyes and ears primed!
Incidentally, how's life in Francais?
I've moved back to London now, much happier funnily enough, don't know for how long though!
We'll see!  

26 May 2004 @ 16:40 by ming : London
Life is pretty routine in France by now, and generally good. And I do seem to get to London too once in a while.  

26 May 2004 @ 20:18 by Ed Knight @ : Comment on Open source
One of Germany's best spies in the U.S. during the 2nd WW was a fella that spent a majority of his time reading newspapers & gathering largely freely available info. In Victor Suvorov's book, "Inside the Aquarium" Russia's main feeding trough was going to trade shows open to almost anybody. There's also a circulating story about a supposed revolution in the way intel gathering changed when a bus 1/2 full of inteligence folks and 1/2 full of librarians broke down in the desert outside Vegas  

26 May 2004 @ 22:09 by b : I agree
a small number of us could be better informed then a government. With focus on a specific goal with a plan could be unstopable.  

27 May 2004 @ 18:26 by Quirkeboy @ : Makes you wonder..
what would have happened in the war in Iraq if we had used Open Source Intelligence before invading.. Do the Iraqi people have a desire for democracy?? Do they mind being "occupied" by a country that has an entirely different religious background, priorities, etc.?? Will the Iraqi people greet us with flowers in the streets of Baghdad?? Do they have access to flowers?? What kind of flowers will they be showering upon us?? Cause Im allergic to climatis and gardenias!! ... anywho...
Im just saying.. someone should have taken a simple POLL!!
I read an article recently where they interviewed an Iraqi man who said they LIKE dictators.. in an area of the world that is violent and one is sorrounded by enemies.. they desire a strong handed ruler to control things. The Bush administration seems to assume everyone wants what we have.. but when your dealing with people who have different priorities, different religious preferences, different circumstances than your own.. its never safe to assume what they would prefer. Did anyone ask these questions BEFORE the war??  

14 Jun 2004 @ 08:44 by oasiian : Opportunity
You all remember King Arthur, right? Everyone back then loved that guy. He was a monarch, a Dictator. All, for a while, was good.
My point is that Iraq, liking dictators as said in last comment, is not much different except that Saddam as it was was a tyrant and had to be removed sometime or another.
So yes, they should have checked with the people first. But you know the government. Democracy or not they'll go right ahead and do it anyway.
But you know....Bush's doing a bad job. Not simply by his act of war. He originally HAD to be trained to be a president. And originally, Al Gore was to be the next president...so why did Bush get in? Dear old Daddy.
And what happened after? Well, are we surprised by the 9/11 event? Are we surprisd by the second war in Iraq? Are we surprised by the constant bloodshed in Afghanistan?
Most of those terrorists and iraqi were brought up and were children in the gulf war. it would have made them hate americans naturally. the first Bush started up that one. Now they want HIS kid dead for that.
Pandora's box, that's all I'll say. Pandora's box.
But WHY is he doing such a bad job? Look at the economy. Look at your gas prices. America's economy is falling apart because of the war, because of a blind eye turned to America itself. Gas prices are rising to compensate for THEIR problem. Can't you see it, it's Oil that's driving everyone mad. An obsolete technology called Internal Combustion keeps that plague kicking around...when we could just as easily have mass-produced HYDROGEN cars 20 or so years ago.
My point? right now....is perfect for a revolution. Just what America, and the world, has been begging for.
If we hope to acheive a utopian world, the first step is tipping over America's dirty jug and putting some clean water in...if you catch my metaphor.
--Gavin Bellis, Collective of Oasiian Angels (COA)  

1 Jul 2004 @ 11:23 by Robert David STEELE Vivas @ : OSINT = Collective Intel = Smart Mobs
I see the people starting to take back the power. MeetUp and Linked In and Skype are part of something huge. Google for "Collective Intelligence" and you will see the bottom up popular version, completely spontaneous and all over the country, of what I have been trying to do in teaching governments to do global open source intelligence (OSINT). Recently I refined my thinking and now talk of the "seven tribes, seven standards, seven issues", this can be read in "The OSINT Story" at www.oss.net in the OSINT Portal Page--national, military, law enforcement, business, academic, NGO-media, and citizen-labor unions-religions-social clubs--we all have the power to combine what we see and what we know to force truth in government and truth in business. Public intelligence, or collective intelligence, is the only power that can make things right. Am grateful to Ming for noticing my work. Thank you.  

Other stories in
2014-09-27 00:04: You must be an expert by now
2014-09-26 15:15: Brevity
2011-11-06 21:33: Counting what counts
2011-01-23 13:46: Authenticity
2010-08-23 01:31: Semantic Pauses
2010-06-27 02:28: Doubt
2009-10-25 17:04: Opinions, perceptions and intuition
2009-10-15 08:32: Abstraction
2008-06-29 16:47: Complicated and Complex
2008-02-20 16:39: The universe as a virtual reality

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