Sunday, December 03, 2006

Calling All Open Source Analysts

Can bloggers help to prevent a terrorist attack?.

This is a good read and very appropriate for all of us. I think the concept of Intellipedia is a great way for the intel agencies to start communicating to one another, and the concept of "mob analysis" is intriguing. Also, I'm don't think any of the complaints are serious.

1 comment:

The Geriatric Three said...

I'm incredibly fascinated by the issues raised in the article. A few thoughts:
1) The very nature of the IC should prevent some of the stupidity/belligerence/bias/incompetence problems we see so often in Wikipedia. Intellipedia (totally lame name) should, in theory, be like the TV show ‘Eureka,’ where everyone in town is a scientific or technical expert of some kind. By automatically imposing credential barriers (most Intel agencies usually require a combination of grad school, regional expertise, and non-glue-sniffing) the “Duh” factor is gone. The incentive to fabricate or willfully distort is equally jettisoned as charlatans will be fired for their chicanery. Ditto incompetence and belligerence. My usual rule for trusting someone’s judgment is this: will the person’s family go hungry if they’re wrong? I can get behind a wiki with participation requirements and consequences for errors.
2)Compartmentalization and need-to-know is impossible. This represents a very real security risk and one requiring considerably more brain power than I have at present.
3)There is wisdom in the idea that individual analysts should decide which rocks to turn over, as they hunt through endless clues and leads. Programs like Intellipedia undermine that search process to some degree by providing the intelligence others have written without their though-process—how you reach conclusions is often as important as the conclusions you reach. Analysts look at patterns while reporters look at events; these goals are oftentimes at loggerheads
4)The tiered system of Unclassified-Secret-Top Secret mentioned in the article seems particularly unhelpful. There is little point to this process if some information is verboten: “Bin Ladin is presently located in [The Happy Black Sharpie Line of Redaction]. Sources suggest that he is happy to be there.” Operational
5)Good luck getting this through to a generation not raised online.