So you think you have good observation skills? Measure them here.
Human nature is essentially to be credulous, and so, therefore intelligence analysts (who are mostly human) will be credulous and see patterns and links if they are told they are there.
Although at the time, and often since, the state naturally chose to portray the cell as terrorists, the plot is better understood as a coup attempt with an asymmetric element than as terrorism.
Earlier this month four small commercial “off the shelf” UAVs simultaneously overflew four French nuclear reactors, hundreds of miles apart. Three other UAVs were spotted at different times over other nuclear sites. And no-one knows who did it.
But between about 1794 and about 1846 there was extensive use of semaphore-like signalling that occurred on a national level and it is fascinating to look at the SIGINT techniques and opportunities that occurred.
The business of “tagging”, cataloging or indexing databases has a fascinating history and goes back hundreds of years. I’ve blogged before about some early database systems such as the one used by Linnaeus in the 1760s but there are some other early cataloguing systems that are pretty interesting (for such a dry subject).
But it’s this particular blogger’s penchant to look into history and derive parallels to modern experience. At the moment I’m looking at how the British Royal Navy undertook intelligence around the period of 1792 -1815, and how they relied upon OSINT.
“Too much Intelligence work consists of circulating information that isn’t relevant about subjects that don’t matter to people who aren’t interested.” Sir Humphrey Appleby (slightly amended). When I was a very junior soldier I became convinced that nobody ever read the intelligence reports that I produced. I discussed this somewhat demoralising conclusion with one of…
There’s a quote going around on LinkedIn at the moment, by the noted American management consultant, W. Edwards Deming: “Without data you’re just another person with an opinion” There’s another more recent variant on the theme, by Jim Barksdale, former CEO of Netscape: “If we have data, let’s look at the data. If all we…
There was a very interesting article in the New Scientist recently called “just following orders – why good people do bad things” which seeks to re-evaluate the notion the ‘banality of evil’ – the idea that evil acts are not necessarily perpetrated by evil people, but by ordinary people who blindly follow orders. There was…