Friday, September 12, 2008

DNI Open Source Conference Day 2


CIA Director Michael Hayden was the keynote speaker on the second and last day of the DNI Open Source Conference in Washington, DC.

He emphasized the CIA's commitment to open source information and said the Open Source Center (OSC) was one of the original top 3 objectives of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Placing the OSC under the CIA made the most sense, he said. The OSC focus is on the "mission" while the CIA is focused on housekeeping chores associated with it. The OSC director is included at all Hayden's staff meetings, which are held 3 times a week.

"The information is unclassified. Our interest in it is not," he said. Open source items have been included in the President's Daily Brief. Open source helps define what is truly secret and helps us understand the viewpoints of others around the world, both friends and adversaries, he said. We need to do a better job of understanding other cultures.

An open source board of governors will meet quarterly and discuss IT strategy, centralization of services and set the direction and priorities that make the most of our capabilities, Hayden said.

While Hayden defended the decision to place the OSC within the CIA organization, another speaker at another session offered a different view.

Rob Simmons, ex-CIA and former congressman, felt it was a big mistake to place the OSC within the CIA. Simmons said the OSC should be removed from the CIA because that intelligence agency is viewed as a "black mark" by a lot of people in the academic and private realms. Some of those people will never work for OSC as long as it is associated with the CIA, thereby making it questionable whether the OSC will have the best resources at its disposal.

Simmons instead recommended a free-standing National Open Source Center not affiliated with the CIA or any other intelligence agency.

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