The Dilemma of Open Sources intelligence: Is OSINT Really Intelligence?

Arthur S. Hulnick

in The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780195375886
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Dilemma of Open Sources intelligence: Is OSINT Really Intelligence?

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This article discusses the significance and the downside of Open Resources Intelligence (OSINT) to the American intelligence system. Before the 9/11 attack, the American intelligence system was always ambivalent towards intelligence material derived from open sources including media, journals, and other publicly available sources. However, in the wake of the September 11 bombing, OSINT found a new appreciation on the part of legislators and intelligence managers. This newfound interest on open sources resulted in the creation of a new office dedicated to Open Source which is under the direction of the Director of National Intelligence and which is managed by the CIA. Although in previous years, OSINT was seen as unnecessary to national intelligence due to the tendency of the low reliability of sources arising from the misinformation, secret messages, disinformation, and nonsense content of OSINT sources, the OSINT when properly used is believed to be as crucial as the most secretive and expensive aspects of intelligence collection. Together with other forms of intelligence collection, OSINT provides information about adversaries and enemies. Properly interpreted, OSINT can be just as enlightening as a well-informed secret agent, or an image from an unmanned spy aircraft. In the end, what is most significant is the system'S ability to give sound judgments to decision makers.

Keywords: Open Resources Intelligence; OSINT; open sources; intelligence; sources; publicly available sources

Article.  5511 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations

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