Monday, July 30, 2007


"Unclassified // For Official Use Only" is the key phrase nowadays of the intelligence services, because the sources for their intelligence is, to a very large extent, based upon Open Source information such as blogs and newspapers. Historically, the source of intelligence was from our intelligence agencies. Now, all they are is information agencies - repositories, if you will. The information they once held is now online, and all they have left is their operational intelligence. This has left them feeling very disempowered, and whining. An intelligence analyst is now just another knowledge worker, just like me, which is just a fancy way of saying that we add value to information.

The average Joe Sixpack now has access to more information than ever before. What we don't have, and don't need to have access to is the ops intel that comprises the majority of classified intel today. e.g. On 9/11/01, when President Bush was airborne, the press speculated about the location of Vice President Cheney. Many in the press speculated that he was being hidden away in the bunkers beneath the White House. While they may have been correct, Cheney's actual location was classified. The press could speculate all they wanted, the Secret Service would not reveval anything other than he was safe. Had any SS agent come out and confirmed his location, that would have been disseminating classified information.


Peter in Korea said...

I agree with your explanation of VP Cheney's location being classified (probably confidential, possibly secret due to the circumstances), I disagree with your explanation of U//FOUO.
A lot of OCINT (open source intelligence) may be derived from unclassified, internet/newspapers means, but it is usually combined with analytical tools/tainted knowledge that is not U//FOUO, so is at least classified Secret in many situations.
U//FOUO is usually used for the internal workings of government bureaucracy, such as: lists of all employees social security numbers or phone numbers; training documents; and internal memos.

Peter in Korea said...

a perfect explanation that far exceeds my own

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