The amount of publicly and often freely available information is staggering. Yet, the intelligence community still continues to collect and use information in the same manner as during WWII, when the OSS set out to learn as much as possible about Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan by scrutinizing encyclopedias, guide books, and short-wave radio. Today, the supply of information is greater than any possible demand, and anyone can provide information. In effect, intelligence analysts are drowning in information.
The book explains how to navigate this rising flood and make best use of these new, rich sources of information. Written by a pioneer in the field, it explores the potential uses of digitized data and the impact of the new means of creating and transmitting data, recommending to the intelligence community new ways of collecting and processing information.
This comprehensive overview of the world of open source intelligence will appeal not only to practitioners and students of intelligence, but also to anyone interested in communication and the challenges posed by the information age.
About the Author
Anthony Olcott is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Intelligence, and was Officer in Residence at Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. While at the Director of National Intelligence's Open Source Center, he served as Senior Analyst in the Emerging Media Group, and also as an Expert Analyst covering Russia and Central Asia. Olcott has received numerous awards and citations from the intelligence community.
Table of Contents
Part 1 When "information retrieval system" meant the memory of the oldest employee 1
1 The screwballs of K Street and the bad-eyes brigade 3
2 Intelligence analysis and open sources - the early days 23
3 "Not indigestion but gluttony" 47
Part 2 The "information iceberg" tips over 73
4 Collecting puzzle pieces while mysteries abound 75
5 Six qualities of information… 101
6 So what? Addressing the signal-to-noise problem 133
Part 3 So what now? 151
7 Improving information "food searches" 153
8 Narratives of persuasion and the battle for attention 177
9 A world awash in images 207
Part 4 Conclusion 231
10 Don't be surprised by surprise 233