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29 Nov 2010


Monday Morning News Kick Off: WikiLeak’s Massive Data Dump; the President’s Daily Map; and the Perils of Information Sharing

Added by Category: Daily Intelligence Brief, General

Welcome to the post-Thanksgiving holiday Monday Morning News Kick Off post from got geoint? We hope everyone had a restful holiday break spent with family and loved ones. Although many of us were enjoying watching football and stuffing our faces with turkey leftovers, the news cycle was churning on in full force. What better way to end a holiday weekend on Sunday than by dumping thousands of classified State Department documents on the web? Well, that was Julian Assange’s (pictured) M.O. over the weekend and well, let’s just say, it has more than ruffled a few feathers. So, as we always say, fire up that second cup of coffee and read on.

Government Leaders Weigh in on WikiLeaks Document Dump
A day after the whistleblower site WikiLeaks began publishing details from a massive collection of confidential U.S. diplomatic documents, the chorus of criticism from government leaders grew louder Monday. Top U.S. officials were quick to denounce the publication of the leaked documents Sunday. And the U.K.’s foreign office followed suit Monday, saying it condemned any release of classified documents. “They can damage national security, are not in the national interest and, as the U.S. [has] said, may put lives at risk,” the office said in a statement. Red the full CNN article here.

With Better Sharing of Data Comes Danger
The release of a huge tranche of U.S. diplomatic cables has laid bare the primary risk associated with the U.S. government’s attempt to encourage better information-sharing: Someone is bound to leak. The U.S. intelligence community came under heavy criticism after Sept. 11, 2001, for having failed to share data that could have prevented the attacks that day. In response, officials from across the government sought to make it easier for various agencies to share sensitive information – effectively giving more analysts wider access to government secrets. But on Sunday, the Web site WikiLeaks, which had previously released sensitive U.S. documents about the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq, once again proved that there’s a downside to better information-sharing. Read the full Washington Post article here.

The President’s Daily Map (Huffington Post article by USGIF board member)
With the appointment of the new Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James R. Clapper, we have a unique opportunity to apply a new approach to conveying national security information to the Commander in Chief. DNI Clapper is often described as the father of Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT). In an earlier job, DNI Clapper coined the term Geospatial Intelligence, and even renamed and reorganized an intelligence agency around the concept. This was not to establish yet another intelligence “stovepipe”, but to provide an integrative framework for all intelligence and operational national security information. Under his watch, it became common to hear every speaker in the national security community say things like “All Actionable Intelligence Exists in Space and Time” — a truism that has become accepted wisdom by all national security professionals. The map became accepted as the common frame of reference for all national security knowledge. Read the full Huffington Post article by USGIF board member Chris Tucker here.

I just finished reading Obama’s Wars while traveling to and from GEOINT 2011 (31 Oct-4Nov) in the middle of which the mid-term Congressional elections dramatically shifted power in the House of Representatives from the Democrats to the Republicans and made getting 60 votes in the Senate a near mathematical if not political long shot. Since returning from New Orleans we have also had the close call “weekend printer cartridge” bomb plot and President Bush’s book Decision Points released. All have important things to say about the state of and future intelligence, but so did Tish Long in her GEOINT Keynote Address. Before discussing with you Tish Long’s watershed vision for the way the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) produces products so users can access them more effectively, let’s rumble through the other important events of the past couple of weeks. Read the full AFCEA MAZZ-Int blog post here.

Microsoft Gives Bing Maps photos to OpenStreetMap
Microsoft is to closely cooperate with the OpenStreetMap project, whose founder it has hired. The initiative, announced on Tuesday, is starting with Microsoft’s release of aerial Bing Maps imagery to the open-source mapping scheme’s contributors. Microsoft also announced its hiring of Steve Coast as principal architect for Bing Mobile, saying he would “help develop better mapping experiences for our customers and partners, and lead efforts to engage with OpenStreetMap and other open source and open data projects”. OpenStreetMap’s newfound access to the Bing Maps imagery is “a pretty big deal”, Coast wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. Read the full ZDNet post here.

Happy Monday!

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