Open Source Center

2007 - 2014

Materials presented in chronological order.

Bean, Hamilton. "The DNI’s Open Source Center: An Organizational Communication Perspective." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 20, no. 2 (Summer 2007): 240–257.

"A focus on competing definitions and assumptions about OSINT reveals that the OSC, intended to implement the recommendations of the WMD Commission, does little to resolve important underlying issues in the OSINT debate. The OSC represents a negotiation, a first step at translating competing positions into tangible structures and action."

In "Reader's Forum," Robert David Steele, "The Open Source Program: Missing in Action," International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 21, no. 3 (Fall 2008): 609-619, praises, criticizes, and expands on Bean's discussion. Steele's discussion can profitably be read as a stand-alone item. It is available as a PDF file at:

[Naquin, Doug.] "Remarks by Doug Naquin, Director, Open Source Center, CIRA Luncheon, 3 October 2007." CIRA Newsletter 32, no. 4 (Winter 2007): 3-9.

Naquin discusses the current state of open source collection and exploitation. He notes that the old FBIS is the starting point for the new Open Source Center, but emphasizes that matters have progressed well beyond the roles of the past. For a report on and some reaction to Naquin's speech, see Thomas Claburn, "CIA Monitors YouTube For Intelligence," InformationWeek, 6 Feb. 2008.

Best, Richard A., Jr., and Alfred Cumming. Open Source Intelligence (OSINT): Issues for Congress. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 5 Dec. 2007. Available at:

"A consensus now exists that OSINT must be systematically collected and should constitute an essential component of analytical products.... [T]he Intelligence Community [IC] has established the position of Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Open Source and created the National Open Source Center.... [T]he Center is up and running, and providing support ... to OSINT professionals throughout the [IC]. Administrative mechanisms are in place to ensure that there is a comprehensive community-wide open source effort. It appears, however, to some observers that not all agencies have as yet made comprehensive commitments to acquiring and using open source information, nor that the ODNI has taken sufficient steps to ensure that open sources are appropriately exploited."

Eisler, Peter. "Today's Spies Find Secrets in Plain Sight." USA Today, 31 Mar. 2008. []

According to intelligence officials, "[t]he explosion of information available via the Internet and other public sources has pushed the collection and analysis of that material to the top of the official priority list in the spy world.... It's a challenging task, given the mountains of material to sift through.... The CIA has set up an Open Source Center ... where officers pore over everything from al-Qaeda-backed websites to papers distributed at science and technology symposiums, says Douglas Naquin, the center's director."

Robert David Steele, "founder of OSS.Net, a commercial intelligence provider for private companies and the government," says that "[a]gencies still aren't investing enough in training and technology to use open sources,... so analysts lack language and computer skills, and many use outdated hardware and software that make searches slow or cumbersome."

[McConnell, John "Mike" [VADM/USN (Ret.)]. "Remarks by the Director of National Intelligence." Naval Intelligence Professionals Quarterly 24, no. 3 (Jun. 2008): 38-39.

"Extract" from speech given 17 May 2008 at graduation ceremony at George Washington University - Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.

O'Harrow, Robert, Jr. "Even Spies Go to Trade Conferences." Washington Post, 13 Sep. 2008, D1. []

The reporter visits the "trade show and conference" organized by the O/DNI "to promote using open sources of information such as the Internet and television broadcasts as part of the intelligence process.... The heavy presence of contractors, both in the exhibition halls and seminar rooms, also shows the growing reliance on the private sector."

Velgersdyk, Corey. "The Future of Open Source Intelligence." International Affairs Review, 24 Jan. 2011. []

On 15 December 2010, LexisNexis hosted a "round table discussion in its series on open source intelligence (OSINT) at the National Press Club.... The keynote address was given by Doug Naquin, the director of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's (DNI) Open Source Center (OSC)." The OSC operates out of the CIA, "although it falls under the offices of the DNI. Many of the other intelligence agencies also operate open source offices to meet their specific requirements."

Bean, Hamilton. No More Secrets: Open Source Information and the Reshaping of U.S. Intelligence. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Praeger Secrurity International, 2011.

Aftergood, Secrecy News, 24 Aug. 2011, says this "is an exceptionally stimulating" academic work "that brings the theoretical principles of organization management and communications theory to bear on intelligence policy in original and insightful ways."

For Steele,, 24 Jul. 2011, this "pioneering work ... 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." He "strongly recommend[s] the book to both professionals and to faculty seeking a provocative book for students." Steele, IJI&C 25.3 (Fall 2012), adds that "this book and its author have integrity."

To Olcott, Studies 56.1 (Mar. 2012), this book does not "deliver[] on what is promised" in its title. The author "neither examines what 'open source information' might mean in relationship to intelligence, nor does he explain what he means by 'No More Secrets.' ... In the end, this reviewer is left puzzled, though definitely intrigued. Are Bean's long paragraphs and jargon-filled prose simply a product of academic turgidity, or has he contrived to conceal a sly but ultimately quite damning argument about the place of OSINT in the IC?"

Dozier, Kimberly. "CIA Following Twitter, Facebook." Associated Press, 4 Nov. 2011. []

At the CIA's "Open Source Center, a team known affectionately as the 'vengeful librarians' ... pores over [tweets,] Facebook, newspapers, TV news channels, local radio stations, Internet chat rooms -- anything overseas that anyone can access and contribute to openly."

Aftergood, Steven. "CIA Halts Public Access to Open Source Service." Secrecy News, 8 Oct. 2013. []

According to an announcement from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), the "Open Source Center (OSC) ... will cease to provide its information feed to the publicly accessible World News Connection [WNC] as of December 31, 2013.... The WNC public feed from the Open Source Center is a highly attenuated version of what is available to official government users.  Within government, copyright considerations are ignored, but for public distribution they must be respected, and so (with some exceptions) only information products whose creators have signed a royalty agreement with NTIS are publicly released."

Bean, Hamilton. "The Paradox of Open Source: An Interview with Douglas Naquin." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 27, no. 1 (Spring 2014): 42–57.

The author's "paradox" is that created "when speakers attempt to fuse the concepts of secrecy and openness." In this article, Bean wraps his discussion of open source around comments made by the now-retired first director of the OSC. The result is as much Bean as Naquin, despite the article's title. See Robert D. Steele, "Observations on the Bean-Naquin Interview," International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 27, no. 3 (Fall 2014): 644-646.

Return to OSC Table of Contents