Ralph Peters is the only author other than Will Durant to have his own shelf in the OSS/EIN/PBI library. He can anger, infuriate, provoke and sometimes even drive insane those who are impatient with controversy. We hold him in the highest regard as one who consistently speaks truth to power. See the reviews of his many books.
Below is his speech to the Open Source Intelligence Lunch Club on 12 September 1995, as included in the Proceedings of that year’s conference.
Ivian Smith, just prior to going to Little Rock during a Clinton Administration, was the top FBI executive for dealing with CIA on open source intelligence and related matters. His critique of both CIA and FBI is devastating–and this was in 1995, long before the litany of errors that allowed 9-11 to happen came to light. His book is less about spies and more about local, state, and federal political corruption as well as FBI incompetency, and highly recommended. The government is a beneficiary of public intelligence, NOT a source of public intelligence. We’re on our own.
At the age of 27 Dr. Professor Beaumard was the youngest leader for French strategic planning in modern history. Today he is a visiting professor at Stanford University. Below is his historic contribution in 1993, and also, in the same year, his view on the need for economic intellience as a separate area for national inquiry and understanding.
Jan Herring, as National Intelligence Officer (NIO) for Science & Technology (S&T) at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), tried in the 1970’s to adddress the “severe deficiencies” in access to open sources of information. Historically, it has been the S&T analysts that understood the availability and value of open source information in all languages. He failed within government, but did not give up. He went into the private sector and created the Academy of Competitive Intelligence (click on his photograph to learn more) with Ben Gilad and Leonard Fuld, two of the half dozen “top guns” in the English-seaking competitive intelligence community world-wide. If Stevan Dedijer is the father of business intelligence (qua decision-support), then Jan Herring is surely the father of business intelligence in the USA, and a global pioneer in training people to use unclassified analytic sources and methods of inestimable value to any group.
Unlike most, Jan Herring also understand the vital relevance of intelligence to the devleopment of strategy. Below is one of his seminal papers on this topic. See also his short paper on Business Intelligence.
John has done some futures work and thought critically about both early warning and “wild card” surprises. See our reviews of his books in the Reviews section. Below is a piece he did for the OSS Conference.
If the spooks can’t analyze their own data, why call it intelligence?
For more than a year now, there has been a deluge of stories and op-ed pieces about the failure of the American intelligence community to detect or prevent the September 11, 2001, massacre. Nearly all of these accounts have expressed astonishment at the apparent incompetence of America’s watchdogs.
I’m astonished that anyone’s astonished.
The visual impairment of our multitudinous spookhouses has long been the least secret of their secrets. Their shortcomings go back 50 years, when they were still presumably efficient but somehow failed to detect several million Chinese military “volunteers” heading south into Korea. The surprise attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were only the most recent oversight disasters. And for service like this we are paying between $30 billion and $50 billion a year. Talk about a faith-based initiative.
After a decade of both fighting with and consulting to the intelligence community, I’ve concluded that the American intelligence system is broken beyond repair, self-protective beyond reform, and permanently fixated on a world that no longer exists.
Arnie Donahue was the only person in the Office of Management and Budget with ALL of the CODEWORD compartments. He knew where every dollar was going, at the time $30 billion or so. When he stood up and said “There is PLENTY of Money for Open Source,” there was an ambient chill. Everyone wanted to know what Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) was, but no one wanted to pay for it “out of hide.” He and his boss at the time, Don Gessaman, were instrumental in establishing in the year 2000, at the direction of Sean O’Keefe, Code M320 for all DoD expenditures on OSINT, a time bomb that is about to explode (or a bill that is about to come due, as it were).