The Military Don't Own OSINT
Washington, DC. Dec 23rd, 2005 ---- Still on the subject of Open Source Intelligence. Talking to a couple of key staffers on the Hill it appears there is a misconception that the Military owns OSINT, developed it and are the sole users. BS they are the LEAST users and the Grunts have had less than spectacular success compared to the media and corporate America.
Consider these military experts at OSINT got the tapes of Bin Laden from journalists and watched them with everyone else on Al Jazeera. No Top Secret clearances needed here.
The world has changed dramatically since 9/11 and the whole military and government intelligence apparatus is obsolete and too big to upgrade as long as it hangs on to its penchant of secrecy.
The US Government has spent $160,000,000,000 on intelligence gathering and analysis since 9/11 and still can't talk to Bin Laden. Al Jazeera probably could do an interview with him next week if they wanted. But the Grunts don't believe the world media is worth anything, except they use their final product to build their own. They lie and fabricate news stories and wonder why they fail.
There needs to be a whole new examination of the definition of "Open Source Intelligence" and how it is ethically obtained and by whom. Many consider it the next generation of focused news and investigative journalism, the new paradigm beyond the Newsroom. The government have created a new post to oversee their use of OSINT. The media is not convinced that Eliot Jardines, the new Assistant Deputy Director of Intelligence, Open Source is anything other than a low level manager put in to keep the people at FBIS occupied till retirement. The chatter from the professional intelligence community is that he is wasting his time, and the taxpayers money. Time alone will tell. He has a unique opportunity to build a information bridge between the world's media and the world's defenders and law enforcement. But as likely as not corporate America will do it for him, and he can get the information second hand from the private information networks.
There have been thousands of journalists killed, or injured over the years, and even more imprisoned, to gather accurate reports on events around the world. They spend years learning the craft, building up their skills and knowledge, and become the world's eyes and ears, with their media outlets being the mouth. The last thing we need is Amateur Grunts running around messing up the playing field, demanding Top Secret Clearances to play the game. For if foreign governments believe that OSINT and the hundreds of thousands of journalists are in any way directly connected with the US Military then there will be disaster.
As I said earlier the last thing we need is tens of thousands of amateur "collectors" feeding the Grunts with battlefield intelligence, and potential target information. There are enough real journalists rotting in political prisons for saying "Good Evening" to known CIA Agents at foreign receptions.
The only people collecting Military Intelligence should be wearing uniforms! There is absolutely no place for civilians, especially Boy Scouts who think they are James Bond, on the modern battlefield.
Fortunately the growth in OSINT is in the corporate arena, where the concept is finally being seen as not just blowhards dreaming of huge military contracts, but as real opportunities to create a better knowledge environment for the corporation, organization, even investment strategy. The successful intelligence companies have moved into strategic forecasting, risk assessment and warning, and developing profiles for competitive intelligence.
The media based companies are realizing that the Newsrooms hold a wealth of knowledge, and the end user will pay a substantial premium for that information.
What we are achieving is the fusion of Corporate interests, and the gathering capabilities of the Newsrooms to create the new paradigm of Open Source Intelligence, OSINT beyond the Newsroom.