chapter  V
32 Pages

The Open Source Revolution

Imagine a world in which the technologies and the concepts of the internet were applied to the transmission of intelligence from the ‘producer’ (i.e., the analyst, or an analytic team) to the user, whether that user is a policy-maker in the capital or a military commander in the field. Intel­ ligence agencies would create electronic databases into which their products (often text, but sometimes graphics, images, and even videos) would be entered. Users would search these databases for intelligence relevant to their concerns, and then download this intelligence on to the users’ own computer, where it could be combined as desired with other intelligence products drawn from other databases on the same network. Printed intelligence reports would become increasingly rare, for compared to electronic databases they would be seen as slow to produce, slow to transmit, difficult and expensive to update, and less likely to find their way into the hands of the person who really needed the information. Face-to-face intelligence briefings would continue for sufficiently senior users, but increasingly the briefer would draw upon the resources of an entire intelligence community rather than the resources of his own organization.