Exclusive and Valuable Intelligence
Washington, DC. Dec 19th, 2005 ---- There is a mistaken idea that publishers should display all their knowledge up on the websites for anyone to access free of charge. That is especially so with Political OSINT, or Open Source Intelligence covering Politics.
At presentations I am sometimes chided about not putting more free political intelligence information up on the websites about the inside whispers around Washington. One academic went so far as to question the abilities of our team, indicating that only regular peer examination of our daily meetings, with a breakdown of topics covered, and references would suffice for him. Asked if he would pay the cost of monitoring political intelligence in one of the most expensive cities in the United States, for complete access, he just walked away in disgust.
For a client to gain targeted political intelligence costs between $5000 and $120,000 a month depending the route taken. Many lobbying companies charge over $1,000,000 a year per client to get the lowdown.
Remember that social event where loose whispers abound costs up to $1000, and membership in the right clubs costs a bundle. Congressmen and Senators don't talk to people sitting in Burger King, and their staffers won't fill you in for a Diet Coke. Sitting through endless news conferences, briefings and hearings is not the most creative occupation, but that is the price for the choice words afterwards with the people who make decisions. Once they recognize you, and know you won't put everything up on a website, then information flows.
Much of our international information comes from visiting journalists, politicians and business leaders visiting the Nations capital. That can be very expensive, for they require hosting and often like to tell you their stories over a very expensive meal. Information has value.
The website is less than a fraction of 1% of the information received and available. It is also spread around the world. A large amount of the information we receive is not for hostile ears, or eyes. Despite what the rabid rancid right wing of the Republican Party may believe, most Intelligence Journalists do keep a secret. It's the politicians who can't especially when Dead Presidents are being pushed under the table.
Our political news system monitors around 2000+ sources of information in DC. That is the level of breaking news that could reach the evening news. Consider that in one day we could generate more pages than the majority of web sites on the Web. Add to that the international feeds, and commercial news feeds and you can see the size if the daily information load.
One critic complained that we did not report the speeches of Congressman X who made a riveting speech at the County Fair. "Son, you don't know Jack Sh*t about Politics" . He pointed out in no uncertain terms, and that any ass can write about Bush and Cheney. Well if he had let us know, and given us a budget, we could have told him everything about his Congressman, and his lovely DC Mistress. Every concentric information circle costs so much more that the one before, when you want to drill down to the center of decision making. Of course when you get too near the truth, you could get your head smashed in as a warning. Washington politics can be a little like the Mafia, when you uncover the money trail. The number of suicides by jumping out of Hotel windows is rarely reported in the mainstream media, in respect for the grieving family.
Intelligence does have a scarcity value, and is very time sensitive. The value of decision making goes from high dollar when a handful know, to worthless when it is on the wire services. Of course misinformation is the direct opposite. It is worthless when a handful know, and invaluable when it is reported widely. Ask Karl Rove and Dick Cheney about that.
So please understand the quality of fine wine and political intelligence gets better the higher the cost , unless of course you are paying for the overheads of a DC Lobbying firm, then you are buying the label. That being said don't expect the rare vintages of the finest wines to be given away on the tasting counter. The Web is a huge tasting counter. But to really enjoy you need to purchase, and ensure the right setting, and company are around you when you open the product.