Thursday, June 08, 2006

Congressman Calls For CIA Open Source Center To Become Separate Agency

Most people do not realize that the majority of the intelligence collected by the CIA comes from "open sources", not from spies abroad.

A lawmaker understands the importance of OSINT and is making a suggestion.

A senior Republican lawmaker on Wednesday called for removing the nation's center for publicly available intelligence from the CIA...

House Homeland Security Intelligence Subcommittee Chairman Rob Simmons, R-Conn., said the Open Source Center at Langley, Va., should be turned into an independent agency. The center was created last November by National Intelligence Director John Negroponte and then CIA Director Porter Goss as the government's premiere agency for collecting and processing "open source intelligence," such as information that is available to the public in newspapers and books...

Simmons lambasted critics of open source intelligence who claim it is not as important as other activities within the intelligence community, such as signals intelligence and human intelligence. "It is a discipline. You collect the information. You don't collect the intelligence," he said. "You process it and you analyze it and then you produce something out of the information that you have collected and processed and analyzed, and what you produce is called intelligence."

He added that open source intelligence is "relatively cheap" and "the products are exportable and sharable." But he also acknowledged that some progress is being made on integrating open source information into intelligence activities. For example, at least 30 reports based on open source intelligence have made it into the president's daily brief this year, which is one of the most highly valued intelligence documents within government.


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