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No More Secrets: Open Source Information and the Reshaping of U.S. Intelligence (Praeger Security International)

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0313391552
ISBN-10: 0313391556
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Editorial Reviews

Review

No More Secrets is an academic work, not an expose. But it is an exceptionally stimulating one that brings the theoretical principles of organization management and communications theory to bear on intelligence policy in original and insightful ways. - Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News

Review

"An assiduous and incisive account of the U.S. Intelligence Community’s flirtation with ‘open source intelligence." - Gordon R. Mitchell, Associate Professor of Communication, University of Pittsburgh

"This study proves clearly the vital importance of critical analyses of communication for placing national security in an ethical balance with a robust democratic culture." - Ross B. Singer, Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

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Product Details

  • Series: Praeger Security International
  • Hardcover: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger (May 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0313391556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313391552
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,621,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a pioneering work that not only explains the true worth of open source intelligence, but also illuminates the institutional bias against it and the pathologies of a culture of secrecy. The use of primary data from interviews makes this an original work in every possible sense of the word. I strongly recommend the book to both professionals and to faculty seeking a provocative book for students.

The book opens with a Foreword from Senator Gary Hart, who cites Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's point that secrecy is used against the US public more often than it is used to withhold information from the alleged enemy. He also makes the observation that the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the web occurred almost simultaneously (1990-1991). See Senator Hart's three most recent books, The Thunder and the Sunshine: Four Seasons in a Burnished Life; The Shield and the Cloak: The Security of the Commons, and my favorite The Minuteman: Returning to an Army of the People. The concept of an "intelligence minuteman" is at the foundation of the Open Source Intelligence movement, and highly relevant to this book by Dr. Hamilton Bean.

In his Preface Dr. Bean makes the point that his book is about institutional change and resistance, and the open source intelligence story is simply a vehicle for examining both the utility of his methods with respect to the study of communications and discourse, and the ebbs and flows of institutional change.
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Format: Hardcover
Ever had someone try to undercut your position by alluding to "secret" information whose details, alas, cannot be shared, but still allegedly trumps your arguments? How much worse when it is the government who is seen to bully its own citizenry in this way?

The hallmark of our free society is the First Amendment, which stipulates that "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press..." Had it occurred to the framers that the Executive Branch would acquire equivalent law-making powers--Executive Orders with the "force of law"--they likely would have constrained that branch of government similarly ...and perhaps an activist judiciary, as well.

In the legitimate pursuit of national security, the government intelligence apparatus collects vast amounts of information in order to inform those who make and execute national security policy. Much of that information is "classified" for two legitimate reasons: (1) the information we require is purposely hidden from us by potential adversaries and, thus, is collected and analyzed using sensitive sources and methods which, if revealed would lead to the denial of this information; and further, (2) knowledge by an adversary that a piece of information is in our hands could lead to changes that would negate its value.

Over and over, it has been demonstrated that much, if not most, of the information we require to fully inform national security policy and operations can be gleaned from open sources of information, thus nullifying the issue of sources and methods.
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Format: Hardcover
"No More Secrets" is a most welcome addition to the depressingly minuscule number of intelligence studies authors specialising in open source exploitation. Not only does this book bring an academic rigour to bear upon that notoriously difficult field of political science - intelligence; but, it also presents a long overdue examination of that field both from the author's external perspective as a non-'intelligence-community' practitioner, and the prism of an external framework - discourse theory. Although the author's analysis is focused on open source exploitation - its turbulent, politicised, and, as yet, unfinished institutionalisation - it also reflects the 'usual offenders' with regard to the conduct of intelligence more generally: the dominating culture of secrecy; an inability to validate its effectiveness; and, the 'loaded' struggle even to agree its definition. Most significantly, the author recognises the contextual nexus of: a post-Cold War ideological vacuum; the digital, mobile information and communication technology transformation; and, the emergence of a private intelligence and security sector. This nexus remains as difficult for the intelligence community to navigate now as it was surprised by their origins some two decades ago. Students of intelligence studies would do well to read this book.

Steve Gibson
Author: "The Last Mission" and "Live and Let Spy"
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