Secrecy News -- 09/13/12
saftergood at fas.org
Thu Sep 13 08:46:11 PDT 2012
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from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2012, Issue No. 93
September 13, 2012
Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/
** AN ARMY INTRODUCTION TO OPEN SOURCE INTELLIGENCE
** HOUSE VOTES TO REAUTHORIZE FISA AMENDMENTS ACT
AN ARMY INTRODUCTION TO OPEN SOURCE INTELLIGENCE
A new U.S. Army publication provides an introduction to open source
intelligence, as understood and practiced by the Army.
"Open-source intelligence is the intelligence discipline that pertains to
intelligence produced from publicly available information that is
collected, exploited, and disseminated in a timely manner to an appropriate
audience for the purpose of addressing a specific intelligence and
information requirement," the document says.
"The world is being reinvented by open sources. Publicly available
information can be used by a variety of individuals to [achieve] a broad
spectrum of objectives. The significance and relevance of open-source
intelligence (OSINT) serve as an economy of force, provide an additional
leverage capability, and cue technical or classified assets to refine and
validate both information and intelligence."
See "Open-Source Intelligence," Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 2-22.9,
The new manual is evidently intended for soldiers in the field rather than
professional analysts, and it takes nothing for granted. At some points,
the guidance that it offers is remedial rather than state of the art.
For example, "if looking for information about Russian and Chinese tank
sales to Iraq, do not use 'tank' as the only keyword in the search.
Instead, use additional defining words such as 'Russian Chinese tank sales
But the manual reflects the ongoing maturation of open source intelligence
(OSINT), and it contains several observations of interest.
"The reliance on classified databases has often left Soldiers uninformed
and ill-prepared to capitalize on the huge reservoir of unclassified
information from publicly available information and open sources," the
Classification can also be a problem in open source intelligence, however,
and "concern for OPSEC [operations security] can undermine the ability to
disseminate inherently unclassified information."
"Examples of unclassified information being over-classified [include]
reported information found in a foreign newspaper [and a] message from a
foreign official attending an international conference."
Therefore, pursuant to Army regulations, "Army personnel will not apply
classification or other security markings to an article or portion of an
article that has appeared in a newspaper, magazine, or other public
medium," although the resulting OSINT analysis might be deemed "controlled
Curiously, the new manual itself is blocked from access by the general
public on Army websites. But an unrestricted copy was released by the Army
Somewhat relatedly, the Department of Defense this week published a new
Instruction on DoD Internet Services and Internet-Based Capabilities, DODI
8550.01, September 11, 2012:
HOUSE VOTES TO REAUTHORIZE FISA AMENDMENTS ACT
The House of Representatives voted yesterday to renew the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act for five years.
The Act generally authorizes electronic surveillance of non-U.S. persons
and U.S. persons who are believed to be outside the United States, while
prohibiting the "intentional" targeting of persons in the U.S. without an
individualized warrant, seemingly leaving a wide opening for unintentional
or incidental collection. This and other features of the Act prompted
concerns about the expansion of surveillance authority and the erosion of
But such concerns, however eloquently expressed by a few dissenting
Members, gained little traction. The House rebuffed efforts to increase
reporting on implementation of the law or to shorten the duration of its
renewal, and approved the measure by a vote of 300-118.
In the Senate, Sen. Ron Wyden has placed a hold on the bill in an attempt
to compel disclosure of the current scale of government interception of
U.S. communications, which the Administration says it cannot provide.
The Congressional Research Service has produced a new report on
"Reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act," dated September 12, 2012.
The ACLU is challenging the constitutionality of the Act in a case that
will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on October 29.
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the
Federation of American Scientists.
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