Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is about knowing who knows and being able to formulate a requirement, collect in all languages and mediums against that requirement, process and analyze the totality of the information collected, and deliver a “bubble gum card” answer to a decision-maker with less than three minutes to digest the decision-support.  Information is not intelligence.

The most common failure among all students and practitioners of OSINT is to limit themselves to digital online sources, 80% of which are incomplete or incorrect.  OSINT is HUMINT as the below graphic makes clear.

For years now I have been committed to helping anyone that wants to get

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OSING can answer 40% of all leader requirements for roughly 5% of what is spent on secret intelligence, which in turn provides “at best” 4% of what a leader needs.

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OSINT is not librarian ship but librarians need to make the leap from archiving to discovery, to include primary research that connects the student to the HUMAN who can distill an answer.  Today ntelligence services process perhaps 1% of what they collect, they collect 1% of what is published which is 1% of what is written which is 1% of what is known.  This is not very effective.

We need a new standard book in the field (or monograph) that is translated into Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, Russian, and Spanish.

Here are some basic references as a starting point for doing OSINT “right.”

Steele, Robert, “Royal Danish Defence College: Lecture by Robert Steele on Open Source Intelligence Done Right,” Copenhagen, Denmark: Royal Danish Defence College, April 18, 2016.  OFFICIAL VIDEO 59 Minutes.

Steele, Robert. “Robert Steele on OSINT – Why and How,” Copenhagen, Denmark: Government of Denmark, April 18-20, 2016, as commissioned and presented to military, police, and national services.  BRIEFING

Steele, Robert. “The Ultimate Hack – Resilient Villages, Smart Cities, Prosperous Nations at Peace — and Unlimited Clean Water,” Potomac, Maryland: Reserved, March 6, 2016, as discussed for transmission to the Government of India and others.

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The Presidential Memorandum is here, along with a letter to the Secretary General.

Steele, Robert. Letter to Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres, “Subject: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) with Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE),” January 2, 2017.

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Steele, Robert. For the President of the United States of America Donald Trump: Subject: Eradicating Fake News and False Intelligence with an Open Source Agency That Also Supports Defense, Diplomacy, Development, & Commerce (D3C) Innovation to Stabilize World. Earth Intelligence Network, 2017.

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These are the minimal mandatory basic references — without these no treatment of OSINT can be said to have intellectual integrity.

Steele, Robert. “Augmented Intelligence with Human-Machine Integrity: Future-Oriented Hybrid Governance Integrating Holistic Analytics, True Cost Economics, and Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE),” in Daniel Araya. Augmented Intelligence: Smart Systems and the Future of Work and Learning. Bern, CH: Peter Lang Publishing., 2018.

Steele, Robert, “Intelligence at a Cross Roads: To Be Or Not To Be (Review of Principled Spying by David Omand and Mark Phythian),” American Herald Tribune, 25 June 2018. PBI BackUp

Steele, Robert, “How The Deep State Controls Social Media and Digitally Assassinates Critics: #GoogleGestapo – Censorship & Crowd-Stalking Made Easy,” American Herald Tribune, 7 November 2017.

Steele, Robert. “Healing the Self & Healing the World: The Open Source Way,” Phi Beta Iota Public Intelligence Blog, 2 September 2017 no longer available where previously published in Defence and Intelligence Norway, 13 September 2017.

Steele, Robert, “In Harmony with All Life: The Open Source Way,” Kosmos: Journal for Global Transformation, 1 November 2016.

Steele, Robert. “Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE) — a Nordic Manifesto,” Phi Beta Iota Public Intelligence Blog, 15 April 2016.

Steele, Robert. “Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE) – Creating the Academy, Economy, Government, and Society of the Future,” Phi Beta Iota Public Intelligence Blog, 5 April 2016.

Steele, Robert. “Human Intelligence and Open Source Technologies,” SingularityWeblog, 1 February 2016.

Steele, Robert. “Foreword,” in Stephen E. Arnold, CyberOSINT: Next Generation Information Access, Harrods Creek, KY: Arnold Information Technology, 2015.

Steele, Robert. “On Defense Intelligence: Seven Strikes,” CounterPunch, 2 July 2014.

Steele, Robert with Hal Berghel. “Out of Band: Robert David Steele on OSINT,” IEEE Computer Vol. 47, No. 7, July 2014, pp. 76-81.

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. “The Open Source Everything Manifesto,” Reality Sandwich, 13 June 2012.

Steele, Robert. Human Intelligence: All Humans, All Minds, All the Time, Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, Press, June 3, 2010.

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

Steele, Robert. “Open Source Intelligence (Strategic),” in Loch Johnson (ed.), Strategic Intelligence: The Intelligence Cycle, Westport, CT: Praeger, 2007, Chapter 6, pp. 96-122.

Steele, Robert. Information Operations: Putting the “I” Back Into DIME, Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, Press, February 1, 2006.

Steele, Robert. “Special Operations Forces Open Source Intelligence,” Fort Bragg, NC: 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, 2004.

Chester, Andrew with Robert Steele (15%), Intelligence Exploitation of the Internet, Norfolk, VA: North Atlantic Treaty Organization, October 2002.

Steele, Robert with Andrew Chester (15%), NATO Open Source Intelligence Reader, Norfolk, VA: North Atlantic Treaty Organization, February 2002.

Steele, Robert. The New Craft of Intelligence: Achieving Asymmetric Advantage in the Face of Nontraditional Threats, Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, Press, February 1, 2002.

Steele, Robert. “Information Peacekeeping: The Purest Form of War,” in Alan Campen and Douglas Dearth (eds.), CYBERWAR: Myths, Mysteries, and Realities, Fairfax, VA: Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Associations, June 1998, pp. 277-293.

Steele, Robert. “SPECIAL FEATURE: Creating a Smart Nation–Strategy, Policy, Intelligence, and Information,”  Government Information Quarterly, pp. 159-173

Steele, Robert (ed), Open Source Intelligence: Professional Handbook, Bolling AFB, DC: Joint Military Intelligence Training Center, October 1996.

Steele, Robert. “La reinvention du renseignement: Les avantages du renseignement ouvert (OSCINT) / The reinvention of intelligence: The advantages of open source intelligence (OSCINT),” in l’Admiral Pierre Lacoste, Defense et Renseignement, Paris, FR: Editions L’Harmattan, 1995

Steele, Robert. “National Intelligence and Open Source: From School House to White House,” American Intelligence Journal, Spring/Summer 1993, pp. 29-32.

Gray, Al (Ghost-Written by Robert Steele), “Global Intelligence Challenges in the 1990’s,” American Intelligence Journal, Winter 1989-1990, pp. 37-41.

The NATO OSINT Handbook is very badly out of date and it would be a most useful contribution to organize an international conference to write the new OSINT Handbook.

OSINT is how you create a Smart Nation.  Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE) is how you achieve peace and prosperity for all at 10-20% the cost of the failed western model, your thesis should conclude that the any and every country would benefit from sponsoring an Open Source Agency such as described in my memorandum to President Trump.

The secret intelligence world fears OSINT — OSINT will ultimately cut their budgets by up to 70% while making them much more accountable and effective at doing decision support instead of assassination, child smuggling, fake news, regime change, and torture.

I consider it an honor to help students, particularly graduate students.  I would be glad to write a preface or foreword for your thesis and help you get it published in English, if it meets my standards.  OSINT is decision support relying primarily on human sources with direct access to reality.  It is NOT media monitoring, which is ignorant and unprofessional CIA position.

With best wishes,


Addendum: the below link includes a photograph of me with Bill Binney and our agreed upon solution for President Trump should he ever decide he wants an intelligence community that actually serves the public interest at an affordable cost.

Robert Steele with Javad Heirannia, “Counterintelligence Failure by CIA and NSA in Venezuela: An Opportunity for President Donald Trump to Reform US Intelligence,” American Herald Tribune, 10 May 2019.  PBI BackUp also in Tehran Times (13 May 2019).


In passing:

Robert Steele: Columbia Journalism Review Guide to OSINT (1% of It)