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National Intelligence Estimate

Posted July 17, 2007 by mcpaige
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With the NIE that came out today, the media followed McConnell over the DNI Open Source Conference 2007. There was definitely a larger presences. Here are some of the related stories I found.

Mrs. Mary Margaret Graham, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Collection

Posted July 17, 2007 by Kirby
Categories: Uncategorized

Mrs. Graham is introduced by Mr. Jardines.

Mrs. Graham states that everyone, all of the players (media, analysts,academics, etc) have a role in Open Source. She wants to know about the capabilities of Open Sources that may not have previously identified.

Open Source gives a viewpoint that is not secret. If we can do Open Source right, we will have a much better understanding of where to spend our classified resources. If we can get the answer from the data that is out there, why would we spend money on our classified resources? We don’t have that confidence as yet. How many requirements can we answer by open source? It is her gut feeling that we will be able to answer some of the questions using purely open sources.

She says in a perfect world the analyst will be able to log in to one network and look at open sources and classified intelligence at the same time.

She mentions that a large dollar amount has been spent on classified resources and that the funds will be lower in the future and this is why Open Source Intelligence will be so important. We will need to reserve the classified resources for things that can only be collected via secret means.

She tells an anecdote about WWII, where open sources were able to measure a shift in thinking by identifying language used in describing the death of soldiers in Germany. In 1941 the soldiers where described as having died for the Fuhrer, the people and the homeland, and in 1945 the obituaries described the soldiers as having died only for the homeland. What does this mean? That understanding is what Open Source Intelligence is about.

Press Coverage

Posted July 17, 2007 by Kirby
Categories: Uncategorized

The following media outlets (among others) have covered portions or all of the conference and more information can be found on their websites, publications and newscasts:

  • The New York Times
  • FOX News
  • CNN
  • ABC News
  • The New Yorker
  • The Washington Post
  • US News and World Report
  • NBC

Dr. Thomas Fingar, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis

Posted July 17, 2007 by Kirby
Categories: Uncategorized

Mr. Jardines introduces Dr. Fingar.

Tom Finger

Dr. Fingar states that intelligence today is a lot harder to be an analyst today than in the Cold War. The two sides were defined. Today the number of countries and local level politics and many other examples need to be identified in order to answer questions by policy makers in Washington, military leaders around the world and law enforcement locally. They need the answers at the speed of information and unless we can provide those answers that quickly we fail. Open source intelligence is one of the fastest way to get and give information.

The effort is to give them something they didn’t already know. Even just tweaking the information that already exists is helpful. It is more than googling and more than checking a wiki entry. How is it more? He says the way in the past to gain information was not to go to the library and troll through the card catalogue but instead to make use of the research librarians. The point is to make use of the expert knowledge managers. We don’t want to suck in all information from everywhere but instead to pinpoint what is useful. The goal is to make collecting and organizing information a normal part of the workflow.

Tom Fingar

Expertise needs to be identified and maintained within the network. Capturing the information about who and what sources are the best for what question or problem set. This knowledge base should be available not only inside the IC but amongst everyone working on the problem. Just because information is on a classified system does not make it classified. We have to make sure that the sharing of this information is useful and rewarded.

Beyond Simple Searching

Posted July 17, 2007 by Kirby
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The moderator for this panel is Eric Haseltine, Associate Director of National Intelligence for Science and Technology, ODNI

The panel:

  • John Howard, Deputy Associate Director of Enterprise Solutions (Intelink), Office of the Chief Information Officer, ODNI
  • James Mulvenon, Director, Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis, Defense Group Inc.
  • Francis Kubala, Scientist, BBN Technologies
  • Jason Hines, Principal Search Engineer, Google

Dr. Haseltine discusses the problem with search and the challenge today:is there hope?

Mr. Howard mentions the acronym ICABOD, which is a new program coming soon (note: we will flesh this acronym out later). The point of it is discovery, the “D” at the end. The challenge of information discovery is the next major issue to be solved.

Mr. Kubala of BBN Technologies identifies how their methodology and software structures and gives meaning to video/audio to text feed technology. They are also working on technology that will be able to identify the context of a query and serve up similar or related information, and in multiple languages that would not require the analyst to know that language.

Mr. Mulvenon speaks on the difficulty in searching the internet in Chinese. He wants to show what cutting edge methodologies they have learned and used in searching for Open Source Intelligence on a difficult subject. The first barrier is, of course, the Chinese language. Finding clearable linguists is a big problem. He is finding the average to get a native speaker cleared is 3 to 4 years. The Chinese internet also has a major firewall that is blocked to foreign IP addresses, requiring searching from within China (or appearing to be searching from within China). He uses blogs and bulletin boards but the technological problem he has had is that they are using locally produced software. He goes beyond looking at port 80 (browsing) but insteadlooks at the plumbing of the internet to assess the holding of certain websites. He also combines indigenous mapping websites from China and mashes the information gleaned with Google Earth. He also details creative searching and extrapolating information from the target’s neighbors in the case that the original does not have the information accessible to the analyst.

Mr. Hines states that Google takes their mission to make all of the world’s information accessible very seriously. He discusses the Goggle Enterprise Systems, Google Apps and Google Enterprise Search as well as some of the advanced features such as maps, news archives and machine translation services. He challenges the Open Source professionals to come back to Google and tell them how they can help the IC be more successful in search.

Libraries of the Future

Posted July 17, 2007 by Kirby
Categories: Uncategorized

The moderator for this session is Dan Carrigan, Chair of the IC Librarian’s Consortium.

The panel consists of:

  • Chuck Henry, President, Council on Library and Information Resources
  • David L. Osbourne, Head, Research Section, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress
  • Richard James King, Chief Librarian of the Ruth H. Hooker Research Library, Naval Research Laboratory
  • Diane J. White, NSA Librarian, National Security Agency

Dr. Henry speaks from the perspective of higher education and research libraries in general. He discusses the roles of computers in dealing with information, particularly in the humanities. He shows some slides of the way technology is documenting items such as a laser scan of works from Michelangelo, 3D maps of Civil War battles and original and transcripts of Civil War diaries.

He highlights the project Survivors of the Shoah from Steven Spielberg. The project contains and indexes the visual and vocal histories from Holocaust survivors.

Mr. King discusses the future of the library as well as examining the library’s past and the evolution of scholarly communication.

Dr. Osbourne speaks about the Library of Congress and how the Federal Research Division serves Open Source Intelligence to the Intelligence Community. He highlights the critical role played by gray literature in Open Source Intelligence. The staff of the FRD are all professionals with proficiency in foreign languages as well as training in advanced research methods. OSINT depends on people who can ask the right questions and make the right judgments. He also briefly touches on the future of the LOC’s research environment, including digital preservation and collection and particularly at-risk born-digital content. They also intend to expand access through the digital effort.

(Note: the FRD projects are available to the IC on

Ms. White approaches the problem of libraries in the future as libraries of tomorrow and the day after and not the future of libraries in a year, five years, ten years. She is a realist and is engrossed in the problems happening right now. She discusses using technology to provide resources, particularly to get information to the desktop. She describes the need to get open sources available from the average analyst’s desktop no matter what level of classification his system resides on. She wants to enhance collaboration and the need for librarians to assert themselves as the experts and authority in information management. Access is important beyond the information itself and IC librarians need to learn to navigate new technology and be able to guide their customers. She emphasizes that the younger generations (digital natives) need to be embraced and that librarians are the ideal people to bring the generations together. She says that the wikification of everything is happening. The authoritative librarians need to jump in and use the tools to further their cause, specifically to edit the wikipedia to make it better, promote the blogs that are good resources, join in the conversations. The point is to make sure that people are interested in the library and will use it to enhance the work that they are doing.