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On Monday February 27th, 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files, over five million e-mails from the Texas headquartered "global intelligence" company Stratfor. The e-mails date between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal's Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defence Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor's web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods.

Re: A thought on open source practice

Released on 2012-02-27 15:00 GMT

Email-ID 5091635
Date 2009-03-31 05:50:37
Well put.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


From: Brian Genchur
Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2009 22:44:22 -0500
To: Analyst List
Subject: Re: A thought on open source practice

I'd add another example to George's point. The reason media come to us
for information and analysis is because we are, by definition, not open
source. If we named all of our sources the same way the NYT does, then
they would likely go to the 'primary source' of the information (where we
collected it) rather than us. The NYT wouldn't analyze it as well, but
that's another point.

STRATFOR analysts BECOME sources for news outlets by using intelligence
and analytical methods as opposed to purely news gathering techniques.
Journalists collect information and write down what others say. You guys
use your brains to analyze the information after collection, and then you
say what that all means in context - something I think is far more
valuable and interesting. You then use history, analysis, whatever other
magic you guys do... to forecast. By doing so, you add so much value to
the information (open source or otherwise) that you become the NOT open
source that you are - or more precisely - that STRATFOR is not.

A journalist is taught to be a "public watchdog". The 4th Estate. Expose
the information and let the public decide what it means (though with
commentators, entertainers and columnists these days, the line is
blurring). I'm pretty sure that "public watchdog" wouldn't be the first
way you'd describe yourself when it comes to what you do. Though, I may
be wrong. A "public watchdog"'s role is to MAKE information open source.

George Friedman wrote:

And that is the weakness of the government vision and why I never use the term open source in relation to us. When you talk to me1 or jen talks to china or the ct team spins up a source it is a degree of secret material. It is stone secret. The idea that clandestine collection is a government specialty has never worked with shell oil. The government confuses the dissemination of information with the collection of information. We are not at all like the nyt because their reporters always identify themselves as such. We may or may not as it suits us. This is the fundamental difference between journalism and intelligence. The source may never know he was a source, which is the definition of clandestine. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T -----Original Message----- From: Reva Bhalla Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2009 21:52:42 To: ; Analyst List Subject: Re: A thought on open source practice that's true, the way the govt defines open sources is: Any and all information that can be derived from overt collection: all types of media, government reports, scientific research, Internet, commercial vendors of info, etc. The main qualifies to open source information are that it does not require any type of clandestine collection techniques to obtain it. for the USG, it doesn't require clandestine collection to obtain what Strat writes. But STrat product does require some level of secret sourcing. So by this definition, Stratfor isn't any definition than a NYT reporter with a source. On Mar 30, 2009, at 9:47 PM, George Friedman wrote:

I agree except that I don't regard us as open source. We publish much of what we know but our souring includes what will be a growing amount of non open source material. So I'm rejecting the government definition of open source. We publush our findings but our sources are far from open. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T -----Original Message----- From: Reva Bhalla Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2009 21:41:34 To: ; Analyst List Subject: Re: A thought on open source practice agree, and those all good points, but the industry is also slowly transforming to greater appreciate open source intelligence, like Stratfor. With technological advancements, information is everywhere. Some of it highly misleading written on blogs by the crazy Kazakhs and Ukrainians who write to us. Others, like Strat and other valuable databases of information, are accessed regularly by top policymakers, creating a crisis for many within the covert source realm. in reality, both can't survive without each other. there is a strong case for both open source and covert sources, but there will always be that so- called elitism in the classified world. regardless, as an open source institution, there is a good niche for us in this market and we should all take pride in the different ways we build up our reputation, whether through the open source material we collect and disseminate, through the intel we collect through our own sources, through the analysis we piece together, through the PR efforts to get our name out there, etc. On Mar 30, 2009, at 9:32 PM, George Friedman wrote:

In order for this to be understood we must distinguish the proper use of open source from the governments use. For usg, open source is anything not classified. The most secret source used by stratfor is still open source in their mind. Open source should be defined as published and publicly accessible sources. Covert sources are unpublished sources. What needs to be added to this mix is common gossip. This is a form of intelligence that sometimes contains value but too frequently is simply idle chatter. Too much of what is called intelligence is idle chatter by people who don't really know anything. This is the trap. So nyes point on published material is valid. Most of what is true is widely known and published. But his definition of covert intelligence is insufficient. The assumption that classified information is superior to covert intelligence gathered by others is the conceit of the intelligence community and leads them into constant error. Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T -----Original Message----- From: Reva Bhalla Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2009 21:17:18 To: Analyst List Subject: A thought on open source practice Joseph Nye, during his tenure at the NIC, said: "open source intelligence is the outer pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, without which one can neither begin nor complete the puzzle" if you think about our daily work, we rely heavily on open source to fill out the frame of our analysis, and fill in the real picture with critical pieces of intel. After much time and labor, we can finally complete the picture, and that should be the ultimate satisfaction of the analyst and the collector. just a thought..

-- {\rtf1\ansi\ansicpg1252\cocoartf949\cocoasubrtf430 {\fonttbl\f0\fswiss\fcharset0 Helvetica;} {\colortbl;\red255\green255\blue255;} \margl1440\margr1440\vieww9000\viewh8400\viewkind0 \pard\tx720\tx1440\tx2160\tx2880\tx3600\tx4320\tx5040\tx5760\tx6480\tx7200\tx7920\tx8640\ql\qnatural\pardirnatural \f0\fs24 \cf0 Brian Genchur\ Public Relations Manager\ STRATFOR\\ 512 744 4309}