Force Multiplier for Intelligence
July 30, 2007
The once seamless relationship between the intelligence community, academia, and the private sector seriously deteriorated at the end of the Cold War. Early in the twenty-first century, in the post-9/11 environment, these links appeared headed for a renaissance of sorts—and drastic reform.
Radical expansion and modernization of open source exploitation is a strategic reform of great importance to the intelligence community. Legacy security rules on outreach to nongovernmental experts are distinctly incompatible with knowledge building—and knowledge sharing—in the information age. Publicly available open source intelligence is frequently undervalued and underutilized. Yet there is now scarcely a subject where it doesn’t provide significant context and a baseline of knowledge. Open source information thus plays a key role in intelligence work by cueing valuable collection and analysis resources and in bringing into sharper focus the problem at hand.