Report of the House Armed Services Committee
on the 2009 National Defense Authorization Act

House Report 110-652

May 16, 2008


Non-attribution of open source intelligence research

The budget request contained funds in PE 31310F for the National Air Intelligence Center, but contained no funds to support expanded open source research to complement traditional intelligence analytical products.

The committee recognizes that open source intelligence provides a critical complementary capability to traditional intelligence gathering and analysis. The committee is encouraged by the growing recognition within the military and intelligence communities of the value of open source intelligence which is punctuated by the establishment of the Open Source Center and the development of an Army field manual (pdf) on open source intelligence.

Efforts in this area will require collectors to operate in benign cyberspace domains, such as media websites and academic databases, as well as more hostile areas, such as foreign language blogging websites and even websites maintained by terrorist or state-actors groups. The committee is concerned about the ability of our adversaries to be able to track and attribute collection activities to U.S. and allied forces. Technology exists to provide non-attribution services to protect identities, especially source country of origin.

The committee urges the Secretary of Defense to ensure, through the use of all reasonable means, protection of government investigators involved in gathering open source intelligence. These means should include proven non-attribution services, as well as development of appropriate tactics, techniques and procedures that are incorporated into manuals and training programs.

The committee also recommends an increase of $3.0 million, in PE 31310F to support the development of training packages for new analysts that address how to integrate open source into analytic products, as well as techniques for maintaining anonymity online when conducting research. This funding may also be used to support development of new tools to promote open source research, and associated experimentation and evaluation that may be needed to validate both the tools and training.