Stephen C. Mercado


Mercado, Stephen C. "FBIS Against the Axis, 1941-1945." Studies in Intelligence 11 (Fall-Winter 2001): 33-43.

In early 1941, the FCC launched the "Foreign Broadcast Monitoring Service" to monitor, transcribe, translate, report, and analyze foreign broadcasts. The author outlines the development, contributions, and travails of the organization through the World War II years.


Mercado, Stephen C. "Hermit Surfers of P'yongyang: North Korea and the Internet." Studies in Intelligence 48, no. 1 (2004): 39-44.

North Korean "[r]esearchers can surf the Internet via a connection routed through the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications." [footnote omitted] In this way, the Pyongyang government "can promote scientific exploration while keeping researchers in country and under surveillance."


Mercado, Stephen C. "An Insight into Japanese CI." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 15, no. 4 (Winter 2002-2003): 628-632.

This is a review of the Japanese-language work by Azuma Teruji, Warakushi wa Yoshida Shigeru no supai datta (I Spied on Yoshida Shigeru), ed., Hosaka Masayasu (Tokyo: Kojunsha, 2000), but the review is as close as most of us will be able to get to the author's memoir of counterintelligence service in World War II.


Mercado, Stephen C. "The Japanese Army's Noborito Research Institute." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 17, no. 2 (Summer 2004): 286-299.

The Noborito Research Institute "conducted research and development in four main areas: intelligence, counterintelligence (CI), covert action, and propaganda.... The military officers who led Noborito were accomplished men who hired technical talent from Japan's top universities, drew on the expertise of academic experts, and tapped corporate resources to execute the institute's projects." After the war, "Noborito's veterans applied their skills in an organization designated the Government Printing Supplies Office (GPSO). Their reproductions supported the agent operations conducted before and during the Korean War." [Footnotes omitted]

[Japan/Poswar; WWII/FEPac/Japan]

Mercado, Stephen C. "Reexamining the Distinction Between Open Information and Secrets." Studies in Intelligence 49, no. 2 (2005).

The author argues that "(1) secrets are not identical to intelligence; (2) the distinction between overt and covert sources is more blurred than commonly imagined; (3) open information often equals or surpasses classified material; (4) slighting OSINT is no way to run an intelligence community; and (5) the private sector is no substitute for the government in applying open sources to address today's intelligence challenges." He concludes that "Washington needs to assign greater resources to open sources. Whether we create a national OSINT center or leave FBIS and its counterparts right where they are is less important than the issue of dollars and people."


Mercado, Stephen C. The Shadow Warriors of Nakano: A History of the Imperial Japanese Army's Elite Intelligence School. Dulles, VA: Brassey's, 2002.

Jonkers, AFIO WIN 30-02, 29 Jul. 2002, notes that the Nakano School provided training in "intelligence collection, propaganda and irregular warfare." The author is "a former CIA analyst and Asia expert," whose work "sheds light on a special niche of intelligence activities in World War II and postwar Japanese affairs."

For Seamon, Proceedings 128.11 (Nov. 2002), the author "manages to keep his scholarly report moving through a sea of Japanese names that could well drown a non-Japanese-speaking reader." Peake, Studies 48.4 (2004), comments that "[i]n addition to being an interesting and impressive work, The Shadow Warriors of Nakano is the only scholarly account of this subject in English and thus a unique contribution to the intelligence literature."

Nish, I&NS 18.1, says that "[t]his is an intriguing book,... packed with interesting facts.... It is well-grounded in Japanese sources and research in the American archives.... Mercado provides a comprehensive survey of an important element in prewar Japan's Army intelligence network." To Bath, NIPQ 19.3, "[t]hat portion of Shadow Warriors dealing with the post-surrender period and the relationship between the American military government and the remaining Nakano graduates is of particular interest." The author traces the influence of the Nakano "old boys" well into the postwar years.

[Japan/PreWWII; WWII/FEPac/Japan]

Mercado, Stephen C. "A Venerable Source in a New Era: Sailing the Sea of OSINT in the Information Age." Studies in Intelligence 48, no. 3 (2004): 45-55.

"[T]he Intelligence Community needs to build a better ship to sail the sea of open sources. FBIS, the largest and best equipped of the disorganized collection of offices engaged in OSINT, is too small a craft with too few hands to navigate the waters and harvest the catch.... Above all, the Intelligence Community requires a sustained approach to open sources. As with other collection disciplines, one cannot conjure OSINT programs out of thin air. Assembling a substantial number of officers competent in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, and other languages and expert in fishing in the OSINT seas, then giving them the sources and methods to do their work, would be no small feat."

Clark comment: The author makes many on-the-mark points in this excellent article. The problem is that he is a decade too late. CIA and FBIS management missed the boat in the early 1990s when the CIA's Community Open Source Program Office was formed without FBIS as the lead element.

[CIA/Components/FBIS; OpenSource]

Return to Meo-Mh