Culture and Components

Directorate of Science and Technology

A - L

Barber, Ben.

1. "CIA Media Translations May Be Cut: Users Rush to Save Valuable Resource." Washington Times, 30 Dec. 1996, 1.

"Concern is rising in academia and on Capitol Hill over an expected end to the translations of daily world media broadcasts over the CIA-run Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), which has served as America's window on the world for 50 years."

2. "Scientific Set Celebrates Survival of CIA Service." Washington Times, 7 Feb. 1997.

"A group of scientists, including 40 Nobel laureates, [on 6 February 1997] applauded a CIA decision to preserve the U.S. government's monitoring and translation service covering 3,000 foreign newspapers and broadcasts around the world."

Barr, Stephen. "Monitoring Service Spared in Latest Cuts." Washington Post, 6 Feb. 1997, A21

"In every budget season, there are winners and losers. This time around, it looks like one of the winners will be the arm of the Central Intelligence Agency that tries to chronicle what the world's media say. The Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) will be spared from proposed funding cuts, the CIA said this week."

Betts, Mitch. "Agents Spy Internet Data." Computerworld 28 (1 Aug. 1994): 1, 101.

Comments from Joseph Markowitz, "director of the CIA's Community Open Source Program Office," on Intelligence Community components hooking up to the Internet "to collect and share 'open-source,' or unclassified, information." On the use of open-source information generally, Markowitz states: "The creation of our office is a recognition that open sources are a valuable resource. As we draw back in some parts of the world, our office provides an information safety net."

Boston Globe. "[Editorial:] A Lack of Intelligence." 13 Jan. 1997.

"[T]here is something perverse about a pending decision to eliminate the FBIS translations."

Burger, Timothy J. "Opening Up the CIA." Time, 15 Aug. 2005, 19.

"Senior intelligence officials tell TIME that CIA Director Porter Goss plans to launch by Oct. 1 an 'open source' unit that will greatly expand on the work of the respected but cash-strapped office that currently translates foreign-language broadcasts and documents like declarations by extremist clerics. The budget, which could be in the ballpark of $100 million, is to be carefully monitored by John Negroponte, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who discussed the new division with Goss in a meeting late last month."

Calkins, Laura M. "Patrolling the Ether: US-UK Open Source Intelligence Cooperation and the BBC's Emergence as an Intelligence Agency, 1939-1948." Intelligence and National Security 26, no. 1 (Feb. 2011): 1-22.

"By early 1942,... a small FBMS [the FCC's Foreign Broadcast Monitoring Service] outpost was established at the [BBC] Monitoring Service facility at Wood Norton." In April 1943, the Monitoring Service "completed its relocation to the Caversham facility," where both FBIS (the FBMS's new name) and OWI were given offices in the main building. "[B]ilateral arrangements on the exchange of BBC and FBIS Osint from broadcast monitoring were finally concluded ... in November 1948." (Footnotes omitted)

Chandlee, John. "Scooping the Soviet Press." Studies in Intelligence 6, no. 1 (Winter 1962): 23-27.

In August 1961, FBIS monitored advance notice of the Soviet decision to resume nuclear testing from an internal TASS radioteletype circuit to outlying areas of the USSR. The circuit was watched primarily for the prerelease of material destined for later broadcast or publication. However, the public use of these materials by the U.S. government has seemingly led to restricting the sending of embargoed items on the circuit.

Cote, Maureen. "Translation Error and Political Misinterpretation." Studies in Intelligence 27, no. 4 (Winter 1983): 11-19.

Ford, Harold P. "Calling the Sino-Soviet Split." Studies in Intelligence (Winter 1998-1999): 57- 71.

With regard to the developing Sino-Soviet split, "the dominant voice of CIA analysis was out in front of the rest of the Intelligence Community (IC) in trying to alert policymaking consumers that the United States might someday face a significantly changed strategic situation." Nevertheless, "for the better part of a decade, those analysts who were convinced that bitter differences underlay the Sino-Soviet relationship faced tough hurdles....

"One of the earliest CIA publications mentioning differences between Moscow and Beijing was published jointly by the Foreign Documents Division (FDD) and the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), on 30 April 1952, titled 'Propaganda Evidence Concerning Sino-Soviet Relations.' That study briefly identified two chief areas of differing Soviet and Chinese propaganda: Soviet aid to China's war effort in Korea, and China's status in the Communist orbit [footnote omitted]....

"The word 'conflict' in Sino-Soviet relations first appeared in November 1954 in an FBIS study, 'Points of Sino-Soviet Conflict on Far Eastern Policy.' This piece identified two areas in which Soviet and Chinese propaganda 'persuasively suggest longstanding and still not entirely resolved divergences on policy in the Far East.'"

Kempster, Norman. "Academia Mounts Fight to Save a CIA Program." Los Angeles Times, 14 Jan. 1997.

"At issue is a plan by some of the CIA's budget writers to cut by 25% or more the funding for the Foreign Broadcast Information Service.... Since rumors of the cuts surfaced last summer, a growing list of professors and other academics has protested what is called a false economy. Lyman Miller, director of the China studies program at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, said the cuts will 'cripple our curriculum.'"

International Studies Newsletter. Editors. "ISA Members Express Concern Over Impending Cuts to FBIS." 24, no. 1 (Feb. 1997): 1, 7.

"Concern is escalating among ISA [International Studies Association] members, and academia as a whole, over an anticipated end to the translations now provided by the CIA-run Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS)." The article quotes ISA President Davis Bobrow as stating: "FBIS has long been a major resource for understanding international developments. At a time when such understanding is of mounting importance, it is penny-wise and pound-foolish to cut back the absolutely and relatively modest current level of support for FBIS, or to entrust it to a more privatized management."

Leetaru, Kalev. "The INT for Cross-National Academic Research: The Scope of FBIS and BBC Open-Source Media Coverage, 1979-2008." Studies in Intelligence 54, no. 1 (Mar. 2010): 17-37. [https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/volume-54-number-1/PDFs-Vol.-54-No.1/U-%20Studies%2054no1-FBIS-BBC-Coverage-Web.pdf]

The author engages in some old-fashioned quantitative analysis (or, if you prefer, statistical examination) of the world's largest purveyors of open-source intelligence. The examination is limited to the years FBIS (July 1993-July 2004) and the BBC Monitoring Service (January 1979-December 2008) have produced available digital files of their output. As the author states: "The power of OSINT to peer into closed societies, to predict major events and to offer real-time updates cannot be overstated."

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