Correction to the Record: Aspin-Brown Day on OSINT

Hill Letters & Testimony

Aspin-Brown Commission OSINT TestimonyAugust 3, 1995 Washington, D.C.

Larry Cox, Vice President, Washington Operations, David Sarnoff Research Center

“We’re not sure what OSINT is, but high-definition TV will make it better.”

Dr. Richard O. Hundley, Senior Physical Scientist, RAND Corporation

“Everything you want in OSINT is on the Internet, and we know how to get it.”

Anthony Lake, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

“I call my friends.” (Summary of testimony behind closed doors.)

Robert D. Steele, President, Open Source Solutions Group

”OSINT is all information in all languages that can be gotten legally and ethically.  No one in Washington knows how to do this…or wants to.”   And then the Burundi Exercise as proposed by General Lew Allen, USAF (Ret).

Phi Beta Iota: The above list of witnesses came up in a search for <Clapper Steele>, and it seemed a good opportunity to both correct the record (Steele has been saying it was 5 August, Thursday was actually 3 August), and set forth in one place the one line summary of testimony from each of the four witnesses as Steele recalls.  Nothing has changed in the US Intelligence Community since 1995 except this, a variation of Paul Strassman’s statement on information technology:  “more money makes bad management worse.”

Quoting Loch Johnson: “The inquiry’s avowed purpose was to determine how best to adapt the Intelligence Community to the challenging new world that had emerged following the end of the Cold War.”

None of the Aspin-Brown recommendations, all largely sensible and long-overdue, have been implemented.  Even today, both the secret mandarins and the Pentagon mandarins, feel they can lie to Congress and offer up platitudes instead of serious answers.  We need leaders who combine balls, brains, and the ability to speak the truth to power.