Boyd Davis Sutton: In Memory – Godfather of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)

Ethics, Government

Boyd Davis Sutton, 1941-2018

Boyd Davis Sutton died suddenly this past week following a 76 year love affair with life.

His official obituary in now online.

In the mid-1990's Boyd was asked by then Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet to study the shortfalls and potential solutions for achieving “global coverage” of the world, something the secret intelligence world was unable to achievedespite its massive spending on secret collection technology.

Boyd's report, “The Challenge of Global Coverage,” was the first national-level study to conclude that the US intelligence community was neglecting the obvious — open sources and methods — and that a new discipline, Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) was required, with a budget of $2 billion a year or $10 million a year for each of 200 countries and topics not properly covered by the secret world. When the future history of US intelligence community is written, this one document will be seen as the turning point in forcing the issue of whether the world intelligence stands for “spies and secrecy,” or — as Boyd and his many followers posited — “decision-support.”

Boyd Sutton: Open Source and the Global Brain

2006 Sutton (US) Global Coverage, Looking Backward, Looking Forward

1997 Sutton (US) The Challenge of Global Coverage


Robert Steele: Intelligence at a Cross Roads: To Be Or Not To Be… Review of Principled Spying by David Omand and Mark Phythian

Robert Steele: Reflections on Philosophy of Intelligence (Trump Revolution 18)

2013 Intelligence Future — The Third Era of Local to Global Intelligence Overview & Workshop 2.8 Adds 2 Memos to CINCEUR & CINCSOC

Steele, Robert. “The Evolving Craft of Intelligence,” in Robert Dover, Michael Goodman, and Claudia Hillebrand (eds.). Routledge Companion to Intelligence Studies, Oxford, UK: Routledge, July 31, 2013.

Steele, Robert, “Intelligence for the President–AND Everyone Else,” CounterPunch, 1 March 2009.

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