I’m currently working on a chapter on how the assessment of OSINT has changed over time and I think you could provide me with some missing pieces of the puzzle given your expertise in this area and your work in promoting the use of Open Sources.
01 Firstly, from what I have gathered so far, the US attitude towards OSINT started to change with the recommendations made by the WMD Commission in 2005. Is this correct?
No, this is not correct. Although the WMD Commission enjoyed several people deeply familiar with OSINT, it followed from the 9/11 Commission Report that actually recommended an Open Source Agency (OSA), and the Aspin-Brown Commission Report in 1996 that stated that OSINT should be a top priority for funding and a top priority for DCI attention. All such recommendations are ignored. The Central Intelligence Agency, at the time of its inception the ONLY national intelligence agency, was created by President Harry Truman to be a central bureau for collating and making sense of all that had already been collected by others — e.g. the Department of State, the military services, labor attaches, etcetera. Cf. Harry Truman, “Limit CIA Role to Intelligence,” Washington Post, 22 December 1963, p. A11. From inception, the Presidential intent was to achieve strategic analytics using predominantly open sources and methods, as well as such signals or other secret information covertly acquired by others. CIA was never intended to become a spy agency or a covert action gorilla mounting secret wars, funding dictators, or subverting the media to present both the US and foreign publics with a menu of lies.
KEY POINT: The value of OSINT has never been in question. The absence of integrity in government has led to a loss of focus on definitions — what is intelligence, what is OSINT (versus information), who is responsible for doing OSINT, should government make decisions based on ethical evidence-based decision-support. At root, this question is about the soul of intelligence and the soul of the Republic. I trace the collapse of integrity in the US Government to the successful assassinations — and cover-ups — of John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, all by elements of the US Government acting in concert with Texas oil and New York money, as well as Cuban exiles and New Orleans criminal families. That was the point at which the US Government stopped representing the 99% and became a wholly-owned front for special interests — the 1%. That in turn has inspired me to recognize that the foundation for predominantly open intelligence (decision-support) with integrity leveraging OSINT is ruthless, pervasive, most secret counterintelligence focused on enemies of the state and the public interest — on multi-billion dollar a year traitors — not on small million and multi-million dollar a year criminals, which is where the FBI has chosen to focus while being complicit in ignoring high crimes in both the public and private sectors. Today the US has neither OSINT nor effective counterintelligence, and no substantive decision made by the Executive or Congress is actually based on intelligence with integrity.
Hamilton Bean, No More Secrets: Open Source Information and the Reshaping of U.S. Intelligence (Praeger, 2011)
Anthony Olcott, Open Source Intelligence in a Networked World (Bloomsbury Academic, 2012)