Blogs for Spies

Retired intelligence analyst Herb Ely argues that it would be a good idea for analysts to have their own blogs, aggregated on InteLink, as a means around current stovepiping:

It would be much less expensive than our currently efforts at intelligence reform. Blogs are a means of confronting denial. They contain self-correcting mechanisms that tend to prevent “crying wolf” in order to attract attention.

My guess is that it will happen, with or without, the approval of Intelink managers. The Intelligence community will have about as much success resisting blogs as the institutional church had resisting the printing press.

Obviously, there would have to be strictures in place to prevent the release of classified information to the public. But the ruthless pecking order that the blogosphere has naturally created would push respected IntelBloggers to the top of the chart and force higher-ups to pay attention.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Intelligence, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Herb Ely says:

    Just to be clear – and fair – the idea was originally proposed by Kris Alexander . It was for classified blogs within Intelink. I liked it and pushed it forward with some comments of my own.

  2. Name Withheld By Request says:

    You misunderstand. Intelink is on an internal (closed) government network that is encrypted and has absolutely no connection to the internet. Therefore, there is NO problem with release of classified information to members of the public. There are, however, some classification issues that have to do with “need to know”. After all, we don’t allow everybody with a clearance to know everything about a particular topic.

    Having said all that, the original article on this subject, which I believe appeared in “Wired” magazine, has gotten attention within the intelligence community. There ARE a few blogs and blog-like entities out there on the intelligence community’s several networks but they need to be done as part of the process because, after all, the people maintaining them will be government employees on government time using government systems. There must be SOME rules. A senior intelligence analyst working terrorism issues and and acknowledged expert on the subject should not have to spend time refuting/debunking incorrect crap speculation and conspiracy theories put onto a blog by some hack who doesn’t know the topic, doesn’t work it, and has too much (government) time on his hands.

    Blogs and such do have a place in the intelligence community, but they need to be done right or they will result in confusion and the passing of incorrect information at a time when we need our intelligence to be correct.



  3. JoshC says:

    There are already blogs in use on Intelink-U otherwise known as OSIS – Open Source Information System. See Iraqi and Homeland Security Central.

    OSIS is a restricted yet unclassified intel net.