April 27, 2004



Hell, if the spooks will give me their e-address, I'll cc all my brilliant comments to them and they won't even have to wade through all the dumb stuff to find them.


"Or crazyguyinthebasement.com?"

I *love* that guy!


And so they should.

The privacy issue is a non starter here. Bloggs by their very nature are public and available to anyone, including foreign and domestic intelligence agencies.

Intelligence gathering uses all manner of "sensors" go gain information. From spies, satellites in orbit, mobile phone communications, email, the internet and right down to the old spy favorite - chalk marks on a tree. Since blogging is part of the internet it has always been a "source" or "sensor".

Money is a big issue in intelligence gathering. Intelligence agency budgets while huge are not nearly big enough to do the job. There are only so many "sensors" you can afford. Likewise, media organizations, whether television or press, have limited budgets. They can only afford so many reporters and cameramen. By contrast the Internet, including blogs, is a huge sensor largely paid for by the public. No matter where in the world, if something important happens and there is a blogger nearby, you can bet it will be on the net soon. As a result of budgetary constraints intelligence agencies use all available sensors to them; their own as well as others.

Validity and accuracy are other big issues facing the intelligence community. Can you trust the "source" and how accurate is the information. These are the same bogey men that have plagued the intelligence community since spying began. Disinformation has played a vital part in all wars and today is no different. One thing that is certain is that intelligence agencies does not "rely on" a single source for primary reporting. Many techniques are brought to bear on a particular problem.

Speed is also a very important factor for the intelligence community. Getting the information, analyzing it and getting it into the proper hands so the proper decisions can be made is vital. Pearl Harbor and 911 are prime examples. The internet is on 24/7 around the entire world and is cheaply available, sometimes free. This "chatter" we hear so much about used in terrorist warnings, some of that is undoubtedly from blogs.

Money, validity, accuracy and speed - the intelligence juggling act


I agree with Glenmore. Perhaps an agency in the intelligence community will read me, like me, send me to graduate school and give me a job. Haha, wishful thinking.


Athena, do not wait for them to come to you, go to them.

NSA is hiring big time! The CIA is as well and I'm sure the FBI and Homeland department are looking.

I highly recommend NSA.



No, we don't depend on them, and yes, some of us (very few at the agency I work at) do read blogs for news/opinions/analysis. I keep recommending them to various coworkers, and most people think I'm insane. And seeing as I certainly don't conduct any surveillance....

I gave up on mainstream media quite some time ago. Oh, I check it, and it can occasionally be useful, but most of it is just a starting point - this happened, now go look for something less biased that might have a bit of truth in it. Blogs don't get everything, though, and not all mass media outlets are entirely evil.

BTW, Marc, I'd highly recommend *not* going to NSA (disclaimer: not where I work). But to each their own and all. And I heard today that they do need linguists.

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