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Open Source Intelligence -- Intelligence for a Better World and an Effective Freedom Movement

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Source: Phibetaiota

2017 Robert Steele: OSINT Done Right

by Robert David Steele, February 2016

Robert David Steele, the founder of the modern Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) movement who is also the foremost proponent for Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE) and the creation of a national Open Source (Technologies) Agency, is now available via direct hire or via multiple contract vehicles in the US (including GSA and INSCOM) to do NOCONTRACT Non-Publicity reviews of existing OSINT programs or help design new and expanded OSINT programs inclusive of shared access to the new non-profit multinational network, ZULU GRUB. Contractors desiring to protect their option years from cancellation can be assisted toward full competency across all aspects of both Passive and Active as well as Black OSINT.

Passive OSINT is operating at perhaps 30% of its potential, failing to leverage all of the sources and tools that are available if one knows how to find them.

Active OSINT has been completely trashed — even direct surveys of indigenous foreign personnel, when done, are corrupt and misleading. An opportunity now exists for both the US Government — and particularly all those including Special Operations Forces who see that they are either receiving nothing from secret intelligence or 4% "at best" of their needs & feeds from secret intelligence — to reinvent intelligence. OSINT Done Right can radically enhance strategy, policy, operations, and acquisition, while radically lowering the costs of enhanced mission accomplishment.

Black OSINT is simply incompetent. Neither the government nor the contractors have any idea how to execute untraceable cyber-operations. US Army "white" computers scream out their CONUS origins and every existing contractor has made at least three fundamental mistakes that easily reveal their true names and purpose.

As a sideline, organizations with strategic, operational, tactical, and technical requirements for all source intelligence can be taught how to quickly establish their own collection requirements and evaluations staff that documents the failure of the secret intelligence community to meet their needs from week to week. Within 90 days, this will lead to a Congressional awareness of the need to shift money from secret sources controlled by others to open sources controlled by the consumer.

The new conference planned for December 2017 has many of the speakers already confirmed, and an appreciation for all that is not being done can be gained by reviewing that website, Nominations for awards (some are doing brilliant work in isolation), exhibits, and speakers are still open. Contributions to the new OSINT Handbook and the new OSINT Tool-Kit (free integrated open source on a flashdrive, TOOZL 4.0) are invited. Individual speakers shown at the website — and many other top minds not now consulted by the intelligence producers and consumers (many of the latter not receiving any form of intelligence or decision-support) are individually available to assist those willing to learn, in advance of the event, via video-teleconference or through on site training and hands-on demonstrations.

Robert is based in Oakton VA. His primary web site,, includes a Contact page.

Below is the "new start" briefing funded by the government of Denmark; a Danish video interview and a Danish video of the entire briefing as delivered are linked at the end of the page. See also Reflections: Philosophy of Intelligence


The below briefing has been funded, approved and was deliveredin its present form, in April 2016, to the military, police, and national intelligence services of Denmark. Both were also presented in Norway, but less formally. As NATO and a number of countries "re-think" Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), this briefing and the related white paper linked below, should help focus on the essentials that have been neglected for the past quarter century.


2013 BGen James Cox, CA (Deputy NATO N-2 who oversaw creation of NATO OSINT from 2000):

The process, to my mind, simply stopped at "OSINFO" and never got to "OSINT."

Even today, I think this is still a problem in most 'modern' intelligence staffs. People think that simply collecting open source info – although now from a wider range of sources – is OSINT, when I say it is not. It's like collecting satellite pictures and calling them IMINT … the job isn't done until they are analyzed and an assessment made.

If I was king of the world, I would build an OSINT organization to rival existing national SIGINT organizations (CSEC in Canada, NSA in US) and HUMINT organizations (CSIS in Canada, CIA in US). This OSINT organization would be in a number of big buildings around the country, tapped into all the sources you have long written about (media, experts, academia … all tribes) AND they would produce magnificent 'single source' OSINT products that could be added to SIGINT, HUMINT, IMINT etc. products at the national level.

Given the power and range of today's global communications, I suspect OSINT products would be more complete and powerful than any other single source product.

I have prepared 40 slides to deliver in 40 minutes, leaving 20 minutes for questions now, and then we can discuss details in the working groups and if desired later via email or skype. You will not have time to read every word – I am delivering impressions from 25 years of work as the primary pioneer in this field, you can study the briefing in detail later, my planned words are in Notes format at the tiny url shown here – 2016-OSINT.

Plan for the Brief

This is the plan for the brief. I will be showing some complex graphics you can return to later on your own. For today the key points are these.


The Tribes of Intelligence

Alvin Toffler helped me create this slide. We were returning from a lunch with US defense intelligence leaders when he turned to me and said "they don't want to leave their little green box." I instantly visualized this.

Two points: OSINT is about harvesting ALL of this information outside the green box. And second, at the policy level, it is vital that we understand competing interests.

Data Big and Small, Secret and Not Secret

My first book was entitled ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World. My core concern today is that the US has corrupted NATO intelligence by over-emphasizing secret technical collection that is not processed, and neglecting everything else. There are major centralized and distributed repositories of OSINT that we should not ignore.

OSINT as a Buffer for Two-Way Sharing

LtCol Gary Beaver, USA gave me this concept, this is how he used OSINT in Bosnia, as a buffer zone to enable information sharing operations with external elements.

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