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Friday, December 09, 2005 

The Power of the Open Source Media

The future of the blog-o-sphere is potentially infinite... that is until particular bureaucrats get their feathers ruffled.

There is one extremely practical future for a good portion of us who explore this realm, and who love the United States of America with all our hearts.

I think of the networks that can be set up for the purposes of monitoring the security of our communities and how that allows for the setting up of a whole new form of neighborhood watches.

Is it just me or does it seem that the modern day American neighborhood has undergone a sort of isolationist evolution? Perhaps I think that because I have always been on the move and have only recently had the opportunity to plant some roots.

I've now found a great home in Nevada and plan on staying... for now... and will be getting involved in a new venture of Conservative Nevadan bloggers called Battle Born News Blog after the new year.

I see an emergence of a new type of American militia.
The information gatherers.

Anyone who paid attention to the Able Danger story realizes that there is an infinite amount of Open Source information that needs to be utilized and organized for the reweaving of neighborhoods all across the fruited plain...

The fact that those tasked to skim this information for the security of the United States, by the United States, were PUNISHED because of some sad bureaucratic egos, is extremely disturbing!

(meanwhile Sandy Berger's bruise for the slap on his wrist has long been healed)

Thankfully, I do not work for the Government (anymore).

Anyone who blogs probably realizes by now that the Mainstream Media is nothing but a packaged product produced for the pushing of particular political points of view as decided by only a handful of media moguls. Phew... don't say that three times in a row!

I was emailed this today by someone whose writing has captured my imagination. It was prefaced with: 'you might find this interesting'

I Sure do!

The Politics of CP sent me a link to a post he wrote, here is some of it:
As I began posting information related to Jamaat ul-Fuqra, I posted a disclaimer noting that my information was being gathered from open sources. I said that not only did bloggers have power to inform as citizen journalists, but to become a better informed citizenry themselves. In addition to that, I said that bloggers who post information, including investigative research, in an open source venue could serve as "virtual tipsters" or informants because the government- while its investigative abilities are vast- is not omnipresent and all-knowing.

I wanted to write this post to further discuss the value, uses, opinions, history, future and sources related to open source intelligence.

OSINT actually accounts for a large majority of the information that is collected (some say 80-90%), but it receives a minuscule amount of the funding (as little as 1% according to one source).

The 9/11 Commission recommended in its report that the CIA should create a new division or "Open Source Agency" that would report to the Director for National Intelligence.

On November 8, 2005, they announced just that, and the birth of The DNI Open Source Center took place. Pajamas Media covered the story here. The Department of Defense is also stepping up its domestic surveillance activities, which does make sense when you consider that there are foreign supported organizations (like JF) operating here.

It is imperative that the value of open source information be properly recognized.

China has recognized this and even published a book on how to exploit available scientific and technical information. A review of the document by the (U.S.) National Counterintelligence Executive had this to say,

"One of the most startling revelations in Sources and Techniques is the extent to which the Chinese military and defense industries rely on open-source information, particularly US and British, for weapons modernization."

We also know from daily news reports that that terrorist groups use the internet to communicate in chat rooms and message boards, and to post information about their activities, etc. This is open source information that can be exploited.

The GWOT is changing the way intelligence agencies do business. Many of the traditional sources and covert collection methods still work, but they must be accompanied and complimented by new sources and methods.

Consider newspapers. The average citizen can sit in their living room and read online newspapers from Singapore to Zimbabwe. That would have been impossible 20 years ago.

Also, the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is becoming more common. People are using openly available mapping and imagery to display information. Some software that has been around for years requires a little more technical skill to fully utilize. Google Earth is among one of the most recent and more simple to use programs. With its features download placemark and datalink files created by other users, you can find everything from historical stormtracks of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico to live traffic cams in Germany.

Now, with the emergence of bloggers, a new component is added to the mix. A distributed network of observers, citizens, researchers, professionals, academics, dissidents, soldiers, engineers, photographers, and so on can openly report information from anywhere in the world. This can only be advantageous to the intelligence community.
Any advantage that our intelligence agencies can gain to put a buffer between those who want to do us harm, and those who just want to live their lives, is one that needs to be taken advantage of. For far too long intelligence agents have been handcuffed and their budgets cut... hopefully no longer!

When (not if) another attack does occur, I fear that we are going to find out that there were people all over the case... but were ignored...

CP provides more reading material if this is something that interests you... (and it should!)

NATO Open Source Intelligence Handbook (PDF via OSS.net)
NATO Open Source Intelligence Reader (PDF via OSS.net)
NATO Intelligence Exploitation of the Internet (PDF via OSS.net)

linked with... Stray Dog, Third World County, Bloggin' Outloud, Stop the ACLU, NIF (here too), Basil's Blog, Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe, Wizbang, Point Five, Choose Life, Adam's Blog, Mudville Gazette, 10ft2ft, TMH Bacon Bits, MacStansbury, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, The Uncooperative Blogger

Yes, this blog home page is cool-looking. One of the better ones, I'd say.

I should know this... but am not for sure: What exactly does "open source" mean?

Thanks for the compliments guys... Jaden Kale did a great job on this site design... stop by her place and tell her you like it!

As I understand it, open source information is that information that can be gathered electronically and used for intelligence gathering... without having to hack into any secure areas.

"The Open Source Center is the centerpiece of my response to the WMD Commission's recommendations calling for the Intelligence Community to devote more attention and resources to exploiting openly available information," said John D. Negroponte, Director of National Intelligence.

Typically with the use of algorithms, open source information is scanned and particular phrases, patterns, etc are more closely scrutinized by intelligence officials to track down any plots against America that are being discussed in the ether of the internet.

Naturally this is going to lead to all sorts of free speech lawsuits and whatnot but it is a necessary tool in the gathering and organizing of the incredible amount of freely available information posted in one form or another on the internet.

Unfortunately it will only be a matter of time until another Able Danger scenario occurs again: Men hot on the trail of a potential plot who get shut down by Pentagon Lawyers who are afraid of Looking discriminatory. That attitude is going to allow a lot more people to die from sensless acts of violence from radical retards.

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