1993 Talking Points for the Director of Central Intelligence

DCI Talking Points

DCI Talking Points

This was faxed to John Deutch when he was DCI.  It probably made it to his desk only to be dismissed as it was not from anyone remotely associated with power or money.  This was the beginning of our realization, articulated in 1997 for the US Institute for Peace, that those with power know too little, and those with knowledge have no power.

Since then we have also determined that too many senior executives in both government and business leave the sorting of incoming mail to interns and the lowest paid receptionist–there is no “intelligence” at the front end of the enterprise that can identify and flag “weak signals.”

Even when writing to the top 2000 people in America across roughly 15 segments, we discovered that even the most sensible attempt to engage, absent a “hook” that is already entrenched, tends to fail.

DOC (9 Pages): 1993 Steele Fax to DCI John Deutch

Full Text Below the Fold

Tuesday,20 July1993



1. The Age of Information has radically altered the balance of power, both between nations, and between institutions. As Alvin Toffler articulated in his book PowerShift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century (Bantam, 1992), information is a substitute for time.space, capital. and labor.

2. Your intelligence community, and indeed all your counterpart intelligence communities around the world, are in a state of shock, whether they realize it or not. The major nations have intelligence capabilities oriented toward the industrial age and the Cold War; the minor nations have intelligence capabilities oriented toward the agricultural age and internal security. Around them has exploded a robust commercial capability to collect,process, analyze, and disseminate unclassified information, or open source intelligence (OSCINT). This commercial capability is often superior to classified capabilities, and sometimes the only capability available for specific targets or topics.

3. Your immediate challenge, within the intelligence community, is to “reinvent” the entire community, and make major changes in the relationships between the disciplines (HUMINT, IMINT, SIGINT, and OSCINT), between the organizations stove-piped around those disciplines, and between the analysts and the consumers of intelligence. Radical changes are required–it should be of grave concern to you that 90% of what your consumer reads is unclassified and unanalyzed. To deal with these challenges you will have to instill a sense of adaptability of mind and adaptability of organization throughout the community. Attached is a list of nine steps you could take immediately.

4. There is a grander vision, however, which we believe you should discuss with the President and the Vice-President, and that pertains to the role of the intelligence community, and its considerable annual budget, in the context of the National Information Infrastructure, the national “information commons”, and the urgent requirement for a national knowledge strategy. Attached is a list of five areas for your consideration.

5. Your counterarts, at least in Sweden, France, England, and Italy, are interested in creative discussions about the possibility of using NATO as the basis for an international encyclopedic intelligence exchange agreement, with clear burden-sharing arrangements regarding unclassified maps, orders of battle, and economic matters. You should consider sponsoring a NATO or at least a UK/US summit on “reinventing intelligence”.

6. The REDACTED is prepared to support you in bringing together two small working groups focused respectively on the internal and the external vision, and to report to you within 30 days the recommendations of these individuals. Access to classified materials will not be required.

a. Among the individuals we could invite, in addition to anyone whose advice you particularly desire, are Richard Helms, William Colby, ….

b. For the external working group, we would recommend, at a minimum, Alvin Toffler, Harlan Cleveland, Paul Strassmann, Peter Drucker, Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn, Jay Keyworth, Steven Adriole, and Robert Steele.

7. We would also like to draw on selected members of the intelligence community. Among those that we particularly desire to include are Gordon Oehler, Jack Devine, Boyd Sutton, Ross Stapleton, Andy Shepard, Francisco Fernandez, and Greg Treverton. We propose dress rehearsal briefings be delivered to Joe Nye.


1) Expand your consumer base to include all Departments of government

MONEYMAKER: Approach other Departments first, offering to bring to bear intelligence sources and methods.

2) Redefine national security to provide for integrated examination of domestic policies

MONEYMAKER: Target the Vice-President, the Economic Council, and selected Congressional committees with proposals to bring intelligence sources & methods to bear on domestic issues using unclassified data fully releasable to public.

3) Shift to gap-driven collection and eliminate priority-driven collection which leads to repetitive collection against the same targets day after day while ignoring major gaps in Third World encyclopedic intelligence

MONEYMAKER. Conduct rapid IR&D survey of gaps among consumers in various Departments and in Theaters (perhaps even include selected Ambassadors), then develop White Paper proposals to rapidly resolve gaps using unclassified sources.

4) Integrate analysts and consumers, analysts from different disciplines, and analysts and operators-this could be a “virtual” integration, using encrypted electronic mail and file transfer

MONEYMAKER: Using existing assets, develop a prototype “virtual Embassy” focused on a specific country, or a “virtual NSC” focused on a specific topic, and demonstrate how your team can reach out and pull in anyone, any information, in near-real-time.

5) Recapitalize the infrastructure–CIA’s “capture” by IBM, and its decision to “modernize” into the 1970’s”, is the talk of the town. Get Paul Strassmann to serve as your Chief Information Officer for a year

MONEYMAKER. Ensure you have a “campaign plan” for ongoing recapitalization of your own infrastructure, have a White Paper showing how you can serve as an interim “core” service supplier and model as specific agencies move away from mainframes and toward distributed model. Demonstrate that pushing information out to the private sector and letting them maintain it is actually cost effective and contributes to national competitiveness.

6) Establish a Deputy Director for Open Sources, someone with real authority, and create a Center for the Exploitation of Open Sources (CEOS) where all new analysts must master OSCINT before going on to classified sources. Admiral Shaefer has 75,000 square feet of empty space in the new building at Suitland, and is ideally suited as your Executive Agent in this arena.

MONEYMAKER. Put forward a White Paper on how you can create CEOS, funded by the private sector. What you get: first shot at new analysts, first shot at existing unclassified databases in government.

7) Demand an accelerated security review–most senior observers around town agree that 90 days should be enough. Did you know that the Office of Security is threatening to cancel clearances of industry analysts who travel to the Soviet Union to exploit open sources?

MONEYMAKER: Put forward a White Paper, with a press release and copies to Congressional staff and the Presidential Inter-Agency Task Force on National Security Information, articulating a proposed new security strategy for national security information, to include a redefinition of what constitutes national security information, and a change of focus from unauthorized dissemination of secrets to “missed opportunities” and interruption of services (fragility of system). Become the “duty expert”.

8) Encourage Joe Nye in his plan to nurture competitive public analysis; the F Street facility could hold both a ‘forward” element of the National Intelligence Council, and an Office of External Liaison specifically charged with managing (and funding) the external element of the open source program in coordination with other non-intelligence agencies which have major investments in external research facilities

MONEYMAKER: Establish a corporate “tiger team” to mirror the National Intelligence Council person for person, and a very tight support staff responsible for outreach to each of the major information sectors: universities, libraries, business, private investigators & information brokers, media, government (including state & local), defense, and intelligence. Their outreach should be international.

9) Accept responsibility for all intelligence, and seriously study why military intelligence manning and training
is so mediocre. Jim Clapper, if be does replace Adm Studeman as DDCI, is the man for the job.

MONEYMAKER. None. Avoid like the plague.

Jul 23

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