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Draft Chapter for Strategic Intelligence

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)

Robert David Steele

Executive Summary

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is the only discipline that is both a necessary foundation for effective classified intelligence collection and analysis, and a full multi-media discipline in its own right, combining overt human intelligence from open sources, commercial imagery, foreign broadcast monitoring, and numerous other direct and localized information sources and methods not now properly exploited by the secret intelligence community.  OSINT is uniquely important to the development of strategic intelligence, not only for the government, but for the military, law enforcement, business, academia, non-governmental organizations, the media, and civil societies including citizen advocacy groups, labor unions, and religions for the simple reason that its reliance on strictly legal and open sources and methods allows OSINT to be shared with anyone anywhere, and helps create broader communities of interest through structured information sharing.  

It can be said that at the strategic level in particular, but at all four levels of analysis (strategic, operational, tactical, and technical) generally, the secret intelligence communities of the world are inside-out and upside-down.  They are inside-out because they persist in trying to answer important questions with unilaterally collected secrets, rather than beginning with what they can learn from the outside-in: from the seven tribes1 and the 90+ nations that form the Coalition.  They are upside down, at least in the case of the United States of America (USA) and

Version 2.4 dated 7 April 2006

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