Draft Chapter for Strategic Intelligence
Secret collection has made three fundamental mistakes across several generations of management:21
1. It chose to ignore open sources of information, assuming that the consumers of intelligence were responsible for their own OSINT, and that OSINT would not impact on secret collection. In fact, OSINT can dramatically reduce the cost and the risk, and increase the return on investment in secret sources & methods, simply by helping with targeting, spotting, assessment, validation, and the over-all strategic context of what needs to be collected “by other means.” It merits very strong emphasis that this failure to respect open sources of information falls into three distinct forms:
Complete disrespect for history in all languages. There is no place within the U.S. Government where one can “see” all Chinese statements on the Spratley Islands, or all Iranian statements on the competing Caliphate concept, or all Brazilian statements on alternative energy sources. We simply do not compute history, and consequently what little we know about current events and threats is known is isolated ignorance of history.
Complete abdication of any responsibility for monitoring, understanding, and engaging sub-state or transnational entities as major factors in both international affairs, and as threats or potential allies in domestic security and prosperity.
Finally, almost complete abdication for more nuanced topics other than standard political-military calculations, with very important sustained
Version 2.4 dated 7 April 2006