In 2004 in my post on the reorganization of the intelligence services, Decentral Intelligence Agency, I wrote:

The implicit model of the 9/11 Commission is command and control –
move all the information from the roots of the tree to the top of tree
and then one all-encompassing-mind will evaluate it and make the right
decision. Does that model sound familiar? Sure it does, that’s the
model of economic planning that is currently lying on the ash-heap of
history. It’s the model that Mises and Hayek subjected to withering criticism in the socialist calculation debate of the 1930s…

An intelligence-Czar faces exactly the same problems. So what can be
done? The intelligence agencies need tools that can spread information
rapidly and widely and that are open to anyone with information whether
they are at the bottom or the top of the hierarchy…Sound familiar?
Yes, blogs and wikis are the right idea. And no I am not being flip.

Today, I am delighted to learn of the creation of Intellipedia.

The CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies have created a new computer
system that uses software from a popular Internet encyclopedia site to gather
input on sensitive topics from analysts across the spy community, part of an
effort to fix problems that plagued prewar estimates on Iraq.

The new system, called "Intellipedia" because it is built on open-source
software from the Wikipedia Web site, was launched earlier this year. It is
already being used to assemble intelligence reports on Nigeria and other
subjects, according to U.S. intelligence officials who discussed the initiative
in detail for the first time Tuesday….

The system allows analysts from all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies to weigh
in on debates on North Korea’s nuclear program and other sensitive topics,
creating internal Web sites that are constantly updated with new information
and analysis, officials said.

…[Officials] stressed that disseminating material to the widest possible
audience of analysts is key to avoiding mistakes like those that contributed to
erroneous assessments that Iraq possessed stockpiles of banned weapons and was
pursuing a nuclear arsenal.

Thanks to Carl Close for the pointer.


Comments for this post are closed