Review (Guest): No More Secrets – Open Source Information and the Reshaping of U.S. Intelligence

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Budget Process & Politics, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Democracy, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Information Operations, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Misinformation & Propaganda, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy
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Hamilton Bean

5.0 out of 5 stars The Folly of Secret Intelligence,July 28, 2011

By  Retired Reader (New Mexico) – See all my reviews

Ever had someone try to undercut your position by alluding to “secret” information whose details, alas, cannot be shared but allegedly trump your arguments. How much worse when it is the government who is seen to bully its own citizenry in this way?

The hallmark of our free society is the First Amendment, which stipulates that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” Had it occurred to the framers that the Executive Branch would acquire equivalent law-making powers–Executive Orders with the “force of law”–they likely would have constrained that branch of government similarly …and perhaps an activist judiciary, as well.

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Reference: Open Source Agency (OSA) II

About the Idea, Articles & Chapters, Book Lists, Briefings (Core), Defense Science Board, DoD, Hill Letters & Testimony, Legislation, Memoranda, Monographs, Office of Management and Budget
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This book remains the single definitive reference on the Smart Nation Act as developed by Robert Steele in support of Congressman Rob Simmons (R-CT-02).   As pointed out in Hamilton Bean's recently published book,  No More Secrets: Open Source Information and the Reshaping of US Intelligence the Open Source Agency (OSA) has become the subject of competing visions–on one side, those who favor accountability, effectiveness, transparency, and respect for the public…..on the other, those who favor corruption, profitable waste, secrecy, and the exclusion of the public.

The simplified public articles are three:  1995 GIQ 13/2 Creating a Smart Nation: Strategy, Policy, Intelligence, and Information; 2002 TIME Magazine The New Craft of Intelligence and 2006 Forbes Blank Slate On Intelligence.

The back-up book, the one intended to help the Department of Defense transform itself, INFORMATION OPERATIONS: All Information, All Languages, All the Time has since been supplemented by two briefings, 2009 DoD OSINT Leadership and Staff Briefings.

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Most recently, INTELLIGENCE for EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability provides the strategic, operational, tactical, and technical contexts for leveraging both Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) and Multinational, Multiagency, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making (M4IS2) in order to create a prosperous world at peace–and at one third the cost of what the USA spends on war today.

This book had two pre-cursors, 2002 THE NEW CRAFT OF INTELLIGENCE: Personal, Public, & Political and 2010 COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace.

That book has since been supplemented by a chapter, 2010 The Ultimate Hack Re-Inventing Intelligence to Re-Engineer Earth, in the just-published book, Counterterrorism and Open Source Intelligence; and by two articles and a monograph from the U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute, all three found at 2010: Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Trilogy Updated.

If an OSA is created–it can only be a success under diplomatic auspices as OMB has twice agreed (provided the Secretary of State asks for it as a sister agency to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), it could–it should–host the Multinational Decision Support Centre (MDSC) as proposed to DoD and implicitly called for in several Defense Science Board (DSB) reports.  The MDSC  could be located in Tampa, Florida, as the Coalition Coordination Centre has been, but staffed by intelligence professionals instead of logistics professionals.

Put most simply, an OSA restores intelligence and integrity to the entirety of the US Government, and changes everything about how we do policy, acquisitions, and operations.  It restores the Republic.

See Also:

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Review: No More Secrets – Open Source Information and the Reshaping of U.S. Intelligence

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Best Practices in Management, Budget Process & Politics, Change & Innovation, Communications, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Country/Regional, Culture, Research, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Information Operations, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Public Administration, Security (Including Immigration)

Hamilton Bean

5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular Integrative and Pioneering Work, July 27, 2011

This is a pioneering work that not only explains the true worth of open source intelligence, but also illuminates the institutional bias against it and the pathologies of a culture of secrecy. The use of primary data from interviews makes this an original work in every possible sense of the word. I strongly recommend the book to both professionals and to faculty seeking a provocative book for students.

The book opens with a Foreword from Senator Gary Hart, who cites Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's point that secrecy is used against the US public more often than it is used to withhold information from the alleged enemy. He also makes the observation that the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the web occurred almost simultaneously (1990-1991). See Senator Hart's three most recent books, The Thunder and the Sunshine: Four Seasons in a Burnished Life; The Shield and the Cloak: The Security of the Commons, and my favorite The Minuteman: Returning to an Army of the People. The concept of an “intelligence minuteman” is at the foundation of the Open Source Intelligence movement, and highly relevant to this book by Dr. Hamilton Bean.

In his Preface Dr. Bean makes the point that his book is about institutional change and resistance, and the open source intelligence story is simply a vehicle for examining both the utility of his methods with respect to the study of communications and discourse, and the ebbs and flows of institutional change.

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Worth A Look: Book on CIA’s View of Open Sources

Intelligence (Government/Secret), Worth A Look
Amazon Page

Hamilton Bean

$49.95, 218 pages

Available for Pre-Order, 31 May 2011

Phi Beta Iota: Mr. Bean means well, but this is a three star book at best, losing one star for being grotesquely over-priced and a second for being completely out of touch with the Open Source Intelligence world outside the albino incest pit at CIA, while also completely oblivious to all that is going on across 90 different nations and the eight tribes of intelligence. The book's coverage of the US scene is mediocre, missing Bill Studeman, Joe Markowitz, Carol Dumain, Doug Dearth, and Ben Harrison, among many others–a simple comparison of Golden Candle Awards with those named in the index makes clear the very limited “official” range of views, most of them ranging from the totally unethical to the obliviously bureaucratic.  A pre-quel to the book is available at the link below, as well as the riposte that was reviewed in draft by Studeman and Markowtiz.

2007 IJIC 20/2 The DNI’s Open Source Center

2008 IJIC 21/3 The Open Source Program: Missing in Action

See Also:


History of Opposition (15)

2008 IJIC 21/3 The Open Source Program: Missing in Action

Articles & Chapters, History of Opposition, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public)
21.3 Fall 2008 DNI OSINT MIA
21/3 Fall 2008 DNI OSINT MIA

“The Open Source Program: Missing in Action”

Responds to Hamilton Bean's “The DNI's Open Source Center” in IJIC Summer 2007, a copy of which is available on this web site under References.  Click on Frog to go there.

Bean on OSC
Bean on OSC

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