Open Source Intelligence

Few OSINT facts:

– OSINT is the source of first resort for the intelligence community, providing up to 95 percent of its information needs;
– OSINT is the source of first, last and only resort for every other government agency, NGO, think tank and private sector organization;
– OSINT is not specific to any particular security problem; it covers them all. Thus, intelligence has to be understood as something more than guns, girls and martinis;
– Information is doubling every 18 months; not all of it is man-made (e.g. RFIDs), but almost all of it has security relevance;
– As information becomes more immediate and more localized, its potential as a “tactical” resource will grow; we will want more information, more rapidly than ever before;

OSIS – Overview
The Open Source Information System was an unclassified network of computer systems that provides the intelligence community with open source intelligence. As of 2006, the OSIS name was retired and the network and content portions of the system were decoupled. The network portion of the system is now called DNI-U and the content portion is known as Intelink-U.

According to the Army Foreign Military Studies Office, “Intelink-U is a virtual private network — a government intranet. It provides a protected environment to exchange unclassified and FOUO/SBU US Government and other open source data among Intelligence Community and other selected organizations.

The Intelink-U firewalls safeguard government information resources and allow customers access to both the Intelink-U network and the public Internet. This gives Intelink-U users a single point of access to an unprecedented amount of unclassified open source information.”

Users or “customers” can remotely access OSIS with a commercial phone line via modem dial-up, much like any Internet service provider (ISP). In addition, users may now use any broadband connection.

Intelink-U provides access to an unprecedented number of US Government and commercial open source information resources. The following Web site addresses are accessible from Intelink-U only:

* World Basic Information Library

Current baseline information on more than 140 countries which has been selected and validated by reservists with area expertise.
* Foreign Broadcast Information Service
Timely translations of political, military, economic, and S&T reports from 2,350 publications, 331 radio stations, 153 television stations, 112 news agencies, and hundreds of databases and Web sites in 210 countries and 73 languages.
* Homeland Security Central
A resource for information and collaboration of homeland security issues. Provides a daily summary of open source articles relating to Homeland Secuirty and an annotaed resources directory.
* OSIS News Headlines

The OSIS Headline Server provides current information on world events to the OSIS community. It uses more than 40 Internet news feeds and places them into a single web page.
* CIRC (Central Information Reference and Control)
A database of over 10 million titles on scientific and technical topics, including patents, standards, military equipment and systems.
* DTED (Digital Terrain Elevation Data)
Map collection from The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), formerly the National Imagery and Mapping Association (NIMA) providing global coverage.
* TEL (Technical Equipment List)
Indexes over 100,000 brochures and manuals on telecommunications and related equipment.
* IC ROSE (Intelligence Community Rich Open Source Environment)
Adatabase service provides searchable text articles from hundreds of periodicals on a wide range of subjects.

In addition to these services, Intelink-U provides information from a number of specialized databases that provide extensive coverage of foreign political events, military activities, and economics. Examples include:

* Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center
* NASIC Trade Show Imagery & Brochures
* ChinaVitae (biographic data)
* BBC Monitoring
* Jane’s Electronic Library
* Oxford Analytica
* UNM Latin American Database
* Economist Intelligence Unit
* Marine Corps Intelligence Activity

According to, the “Community Open Source Program Office (COSPO) supports all aspects of open source information systems, spanning collection, processing, analysis, and dissemination, to include network and distributed computing resources. The National Air Intelligence Center (NAIC) is the Executive Agent for a major element of OSIS, the Open Source Service Agent (OSSA). Dr. Joseph Markowitz, Director of COSPO has noted that while Allen Dulles was fond of saying that open sources provided 80% of the input to the all-source intelligence production process, “the more common contribution of open sources to the average all-source product is on the order of 20 to 30 percent.”

Intelink-U is currently being operated by the DNI-CIO Intelligence Community Enterprise Solutions (ICES) office.

The web adress of the Open Source Information System is, a domain controlled by two nameservers on different IP networks. Incoming mail for is handled by three mailservers at themselves.

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