Used extensively by protesters in Egypt and Tunisia, Facebook and other social networking websites contain a wealth of useful intelligence. However, knowing how to exploit that information is another matter. During a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on February 4, Senator Dianne Feinstein complained to Stephanie O’Sullivan, number 2 at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, about the U.S. intelligence community’s failure to anticipate the Egyptian crisis by analysing information that was freely available on Facebook. On January 28, British MPs made the same complaint about Britain’s intelligence agencies to Gus O’Donnell, Prime Minister David Cameron’s cabinet secretary. Agencies on both sides of the Atlantic are now busy playing catch-up with the Facebook generation.
Phi Beta Iota: The tragedy of the unintelligent US Intelligence Community will not be fixed until one of two things happen: the President realizes he is being screwed; or the DNI realizes he is overlooking the ONE THING he can get right this time around. From 1988 onwards, with every Commission from Aspin-Brown onwards, each DNI has been told in no uncertain terms what needs to be done. For Jim Clapper, one of the finest thinkers we’ve every known, to refuse for one minute to take the simple step of asking the long-standing leaders of the OSINT movement–Steele, Markowitz, Dumaine, with Hock, Reuser, Benavides, Edwards, Bjore, and a few others completing the inner council–is difficult to comprehend.