Robert Steele: Foreword to Spanish-Language Diary of a Spy with PRB Approval

Articles & Chapters
Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge


It is a pleasure for me – and gives me professional satisfaction – to present this book to the Iberian public. I have known the author for several years, and admired his efforts to translate the lessons from his past life into useful capabilities in the commercial and public intelligence domains.

While some will consider this book to be about spies and secrets and undertakings of great risk, for me it is really a book that can help the public understand that intelligence is not only about spying or secrets. Intelligence is mostly about knowing. Intelligence is about creating ethical evidence-based decision-support for everyone, not just prime ministers and general officers.

Intelligence is about sources and methods – the inputs – and it is about helping leaders of organizations make decisions – the outcomes. Intelligence is about arriving at the best possible understanding of the truth, from all points of view. In commercial intelligence we call this the 360 degree view.

In the pages that follow, I will illustrate and explain four additional points that might help engage public attention in this book’s important offering:

First, spies comprise four of the fifteen “slices” of Human Intelligence (HUMINT). They are the first and most important part of a larger mosaic. I particularly demand good counterintelligence – without it, nothing else can be trusted.

Second, the government intelligence “tribe” is one of eight tribes of intelligence. The other seven tribes need to learn how to “do” intelligence.

Third, our complex world can no longer tolerate governments or corporations that treat the Earth as a personal bank account. The time has come to demand a professional 360 degree perspective focused strictly on the public interest.

Fourth, we can all come together to share most of what we collect, process, and analyze. Sharing creates intelligence.

Fifteen Slices of Human Intelligence

Below is an illustration that I presented to the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) when making the case for an Iberian intelligence network that brought us all together with a particular focus on the independence and future prosperity of South America. I also focused on the vital importance of helping South America reach west to Indonesia and east to Africa, creating a new southern hemisphere elevating billions of poor by making it possible to harvest their distributed collective intelligence.

Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge

Figure 1: “Full Spectrum” Human Intelligence

I will simply emphasize two points here:

01 All intelligence is human. All digital and analog information is an artifact.

02 All forms of human intelligence must be managed and integrated as a whole, not in isolation from one another, if we are to create Smart Nations.

Eight Tribes of Intelligence

Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge

Figure 2: Eight Tribes of Intelligence

I have spoken to this point in Spain, Chile, and before the Inter-American Defense Board.[1] Here again, two key points:

01 Do not send a spy where a schoolboy can go. Use the most direct, lowest-cost, least-risk method first. 95% of what we need to know is largely open.

02 Share what you can. We spend too much time protecting secrets and not enough time sharing commercially and publicly valuable open source intelligence. Sharing, not secrecy, is the engine of 21st Century prosperity.

The Evolving Craft of Intelligence

Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge

Figure 3: The Evolving Craft of Intelligence

I have been a spy, not only as a clandestine case officer across many countries, but also engaged in counterintelligence, technical operations, and the creation of new analytic institutions. One of the reasons I like this book is because it demonstrates that Spanish spies have matured. Everything is connected.

Intelligence about socio-economic conditions in Africa matters. It matters not as a curiosity, but as an immigration issue. We cannot stop illegal immigration with weapons. Illegal immigration can only be stopped by demanding an end to corruption within local governments and global corporations, and by helping create peace and prosperity across the impoverished regions.

We must end fraud, waste, and abuse, and create heaven on earth, the community of man. This is not a “utopian” imperative, it is a practical mandate. In the 21st Century, intelligence is about everything, always.

The Intelligence Triangle of Sharing

Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge

Figure 4: The Herring Triangle of Intelligence Cost and Sharing

My colleague Jan Herring, the first US National Intelligence Officer for Science & Technology (NIO S&T) created this illustration that I use with permission. I consider it a vital perspective for all across the eight tribes of intelligence who might wish to create a Smart Nation, a prosperous nation at peace.

The diagram allows for secrecy in three of the four levels of accomplishment. Personally I believe that sharing is more valuable than secrecy for the following reason: publishing what you know attracts more information from others. In my experience, sharing one piece of information openly attracts one hundred pieces volunteered in return, of which ten are valuable.  This is a 10 to 1 return on investment! Creating a national community of citizens who collect, consume, and share intelligence requires a significant mind-shift.


I commend this author, this book, this unique panorama of experiences, to the public. While intelligence professionals will certainly enjoy this book and recognize many of the joys, the challenges, and the deep pains they have experienced, this book’s primary value is in educating the public.

With abiding regard for all,


Robert David Steele Vivas

Afghanistan, 22 November 2013

Robert David Steele
Robert David Steele

About Steele Vivas

Today Mr. Steele is on assignment in Afghanistan. He is the CEO of Earth Intelligence Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching how best to create public intelligence in the public interest. He is the foremost proponent of Open Source Everything (the technical solution for affordable, interoperable, scalable information operations) and M4IS2 (Multinational, Multiagency, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making). He has tried – and failed – to get the EU and NATO to understand that they need to create a joint multinational decision support center on the southern coast of Spain, to manage all information in all languages about Africa, the Caucasus, and other areas of trans-European concern. Raised across South America and Asia, he has trained over 7,500 intelligence professionals in Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), and consulted to over 20 governments including the government of Spain. He has been a Marine Corps infantry officer and a clandestine operations officer. He served as the senior civilian responsible for creating the Marine Corps Intelligence Center, and led the first study, “Planning and Programming Factors for Expeditionary Operations in the Third World.” He is a prolific author with many books, articles, and chapters all available free online, and is regularly invited to brief international audiences on the future of intelligence as a public common good.

All of my work is free online at For my work in Spanish see and in French,

Publications Review Board Approval of Manuscript by Robert D. Steele

Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 11:41 PM


The Publications Review Board has completed its review of your manuscript entitled “Forward to Spanish-Language Diary of a Spy.”  The Board has no objection to its publication.

If you add material to or change the text the Board has approved for publication, you must submit these additions or changes to us before giving them to your publisher or anyone else.  In such a case, please mark or otherwise clearly indicate the new material so we can expedite our review.

The Board appreciates your cooperation with prepublication review. Please contact the Publications Review Board at  703-613-3070  if you have any questions or if we can be of further assistance.


PRB Staff

Financial Liberty at Risk-728x90