|[Punctuation errors in original message. See PDF for accurate copy:
Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2008 17:19:09 -0500 (CDT)
From: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Subject: CIA Director Michael Hayden Addresses the DNI Open Source
Remarks and Q&A by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Michael V. Hayden
DNI Open Source Conference 2008
September 12, 2008
MR. DOUG NAQUIN (Director, Open Source Center): Good morning, again.
To recall yesterday afternoon s community panel session, I noted that as
we developed our capabilities over the past few years, both in the Open Source
Center and in the community writ large, we needed to secure a voice at the
proverbial table or tables so we could begin to have those conversations
that would institutionalize open source as a recognized program as well as,
as a discipline.
One person who has been instrumental in getting open source a voice at those
tables is our next speaker: first, as Principal Deputy Director of
National Intelligence under our first DNI, John Negroponte; and now as Director
of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Michael V. Hayden has insured the Intelligence Community does not lose sight
of an environment that we ve seen over these two days is growing and morphing
continuously in terms of its potential to improve our knowledge of and insight
into the world in which we operate. As much as anyone, Director Hayden
has taken the community from acknowledging open source is good to actionable
As a former military attaché in J-2, he is deeply familiar with the
value of open source on the ground, and as a former Director of the National
Security Agency, he is certainly no stranger to the challenge of volume.
So without further ado, it is my distinct pleasure to introduce Mr. Michael
V. Hayden, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
DIRECTOR MICHAEL V. HAYDEN (Director, CIA): Well, thanks, Doug.
Good morning, everyone. It s a pleasure to be here. You get 39
years of being only to wear a blue tie, and you see what happens, huh?
As Doug suggested, I m no stranger to the open source discipline and actually
quite a fan of it. As you mentioned, I m a career intelligence officer,
so I d like to start today with maybe an observation that could surprise
some of you. Secret information isn t always the brass ring in our
profession. In fact, there s real satisfaction in solving a problem
or answering a tough question with information that someone was dumb enough
to leave out in the open. (Chuckles.)
Doug mentioned I was an attaché in Bulgaria a long time ago, about
20 years now. Part of that job is immersing yourself in that
society. Someone once gave me the description of a good attaché
is someone who has become so immersed in the society that when he wakes up
in the morning, he can sense that something is different today. So
in order to be able to do that, in order to immerse yourself, you read the
press even if it s the state-run press, you watch television even if it s
state-run news shows. You make all kinds of official contacts that
you can possibly make. Most of that stuff is a little dry, but in essence
it gave me a sense for norm; you know, it gave you a sense as to what the
center line was.
Now there was a lot of information there, always freely available, and I
collected it in open and sometimes not-so-open ways. But the key was
to actually know what to look for and then be in a position to absorb it.
One of the things I did as an attaché and I realize this is a little
bit different than maybe the narrowly defined definition of open source,
but I think it has powerful echoes, so I want to share it with you.
As an attaché, you are an overt collector. And this was a communist
country, a closed state in which attaches were fairly closely watched.
But again, you wanted to immerse yourself in that society to learn as much
about it as you possibly could.
So one of the things I took to doing is, rather than driving on collection
trips in the U.S. government Volvo that we had, I took to taking trains.
And so I would get up early in the morning, try to slip out of the house
without being observed. I d take the streetcar down to the train station,
buy the ticket that day, get on the train, and then travel across Bulgaria
from Sofia to the Black Sea, and then turn around and come back.
Now, that was an attractive route for me because one of the more important
things I had to observe was Bulgaria s armored brigades, of which there were
five. And many of you probably know tanks are heavy, and they like
to move them by rail. So guess where all five tank brigades were.
They were all along the main east-west rail lines.
So I would go into the car and immediately go to the dining car and figure
out some way that I could stay there beyond the 45-minute limit that was
posted at both ends of the car; not because the Bulgarian breakfast food
was particularly attractive (laughter) but because the dining car had windows
on both sides, and that I could observe both sides as we traveled out.
So we get to Varna or Burgas okay and my goal there was to be if I could
possibly be invisible, I would have been, but I can t, so I just try to keep
my mouth shut, speak as little Bulgarian as I could ordering things and so
on and, again, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible.
But on the return trip, I change the M.O. On the return trip, I d done
all my observation. On the return trip, I wanted to back to that verb
I used earlier absorb, but this time I was going to absorb not visually,
but socially, and so I would walk the length of the car multiple cars looking
for that couchette that had the empty seat with seemingly interesting people
in all of the other seats.
I can recall one instance where I was walking by a couchette with six seats
five full, one empty. The five individuals in the seats were Bulgarian
air force academy cadets (laughter) and I just looked at the seat and said
(in Bulgarian) is it free? Da. Got away with that without too
much of an accent, sat down, pulled my hat down over my eyes, closed my eyes
and just sat there.
They were practicing their aviation English. Now the international
language of aviation is English, and so if you want to be an aviator, you
ve got to you know, you ve got to have some working knowledge of English.
And so they would be saying some things in Bulgarian and coming back in English
or saying some things in English and coming back in Bulgarian. And
one of the phrases one of the phrases they put out was runway. And
there was a long pause because whoever they were asking this of didn t know
the answer. So from the beneath the brim of my hat, this voice mine
simply said, pista (ph) (chuckles) which is the Bulgarian word for runway
or racetrack and so on.
And it was one of those Rod Serling kind of moments for those poor cadets.
(Laughter.) I identified who I was, so as not to make them vulnerable
or at least not to do something they weren t prepared to well, only volunteered
to do, talk to an American. One of them vaporized in an instant.
He was gone from the car and I never saw him again. (Laughter.)
But the other four stayed there and we spent the rest of the time going into
Sofia just talking about life and death and military service and how s the
academy and what s your curriculum and what do you intend to fly and how
long how many flight hours do you get? (Laughter.) What s the
saddle depth of an SS-21? (Laughter.)
I was doing, back in the mid 1980s, socially, absorbing information that
wasn t, in any real sense, protected, information that was available, would
we but get ourselves up against it and be able to, again, use that verb,
absorb it. In today s world, that information that would have been
available 20, 22 years ago, only by this social discourse, is now available
in what we call open source, out there in the electronic media in which our
species has decided to put almost all known knowledge. And so that
experience as an attaché has given me an appreciation of that which
we can learn, information readily available, unguarded, not classified, if
we would but get ourselves in a position to access it.
I should also add too that those five armor brigades that I wanted to look
at from Kniajevo and Sliven and Yambol and Kazalak, okay, they were actually
pretty big. They were actually pretty easy to see. Today, the
job we have in the Intelligence Community is a lot harder and bit
different. The things we want to discover are not out there as the
size of an armor brigade. Collection, analysis, dissemination of
information is as important as it has ever been. And so your conference
here, covering such a broad array of topics including and I m happy to see
virtually every stakeholder in the open source enterprise here makes abundantly
clear that the rich potential, far reach, and real impact of open source
intelligence has finally been embraced.
Now, it s something I appreciated even before that tour in Bulgaria and I
ve tried to carry it forth ever since. A little over three years ago,
as Doug suggested, a small group of us sat down to figure out what the new
Intelligence Community might look at under the newly created Director of
National Intelligence John Negroponte. John was at the DNI and I was
his deputy. We set up a shop just a few blocks from here in the Old
Executive Office Building and literally taped blank sheets of butcher paper
all along the wall of the temporary office we had been given. And I
mean you know, we used the pages, blank as a metaphor. This was not
a metaphor (chuckles) okay? The pages were blank. And how did
we want to structure this community?
There s a lot to think through. But it didn t take us long to identify
the way ahead for open source. In fact, we saw the establishment of
this center, the Open Source Center, as one of the three most important
objectives for the ODNI in its first year. The other two? The
National Clandestine Service at CIA, second, the National Security Branch
at FBI, and, third, a more autonomous Open Source Center for the Intelligence
Community. We considered a couple of options for creating this
center. But at the end of the day, we decided that voting on the expertise
and the capacities of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service and placing
the center in CIA made the most sense. FBIS represented the strongest
foundation on which we could build, with capabilities that were already out
there, ranging from media and Internet collection to research and analysis
to advanced I.T., database acquisition and training. And keeping it
in CIA allowed the Open Source Center to focus on mission while CIA handled
most of the housekeeping chores that would come about from any such
So the aim from the start has been to build and strengthen those capabilities
that already existed and then extend their reach. And as I said, we
made the Director of CIA the executive agent for open source. I d be
responsible for the center s success, not just in such traditional roles
as collector and analyzer and disseminator, but in a new, broader role of
community leader working to expand the open source discipline. Let
me make sure we understand that distinction. The Open Source Center
was designed to be a production line in terms of the creation of knowledge
of use to American policy-makers. But it was also designed to be an
advocate, a spokesman, a facilitator for the open source enterprise for the
open source discipline beyond the fence line, beyond the confines of the
Open Source Center itself.
I don t offer this bit of history as some sort of a lesson in the IC wiring
diagram. I want you simply to recognize that open source intelligence
is widely seen as both an essential capability and a formal asset in our
national security infrastructure. As the DNI s strategic plan puts
it, and I m quoting here now, No aspect of collection requires greater
consideration or holds more promise than open source. Here s why.
Those working in this discipline are at the nexus, right now, of two intensely
powerful dynamic forces: the media and information technology.
And while the Internet has revolutionized human interaction, there is still
an awful lot for us to learn about it and the opportunity that it now
represents. Finally, the questions our customers ask, whether it s
a policy-maker or military commander or law-enforcement official demand answers,
many of which are only available through open source research.
So when I became Director of CIA, one of the first things I did was to make
Doug a direct report to me. So Doug, in the org chart, is up there
with the DI and the head of the National Clandestine Service, the Director
of Support, and the Director of Science and Technology. And early in
my tenure I think Steve Kappes and I Steve is the Deputy had gone a bit public
with the number of installations, the number of partners we visited.
Steve and I have been to more than 50 liaison partners in about a two-year
In addition to that, we made a special effort to visit the outposts in the
open source enterprise as well, and I think I ve got four of those already
in terms of notches on my belt. One stop that meant a great deal to
me was designed to be a courtesy call. I was in Key West, not on
business. (Chuckles.) And there is an open source facility there
that looks at that island about 90 miles just off the southern marker buoy
It was going to be a 20-minute courtesy call. I was there for three
hours because, talk about time on target, the people in this little cinderblock
shack on the extreme southern reaches of Key West knew so much about what
was happening in Cuba. And for me as the Director of CIA to sit with
them and watch Cuban soap operas and have them tell me what they were extracting
from watching these soap operas was quite remarkable.
They gave me a videotape, DVD, of a program that they had captured from the
Internet. And it had a Cuban soap-opera star starring in it, and there
are only two other players. And his name is Nicanor (sp) and he s making
a fine brew of coffee and there s a knock at his door. And it s two
individuals from the security service to install the microphones.
We re here to install the microphones. He says, what do you mean,
microphones? And it goes for about 17 minutes of some of the most subtle
satiric commentary on a totalitarian state I have ever seen. He mentions
that they have to decide where to put the microphones and they can t put
them in the kitchen because it s too noisy and the bedroom air conditioner
interferes with it. So, finally, they say, we have to put the microphones
in the bathroom. (Laughter.)
So he says, when I criticize the government, I must go into the bathroom?
(Laughter.) And he said, why don t we put another microphone over
here? And then they begin to criticize him. What kind of person
are you? There are only a limited number of microphones in Cuba!
(Laughter.) There s a family down the street that criticizes the government
day and night. They have 11 kids and they re only allotted one
It gave me a new appreciation for life and thought and the situation on the
island. And, again, back to riding trains to Kazanlak, it s out there;
it s available, but you have to access. And you access that truth in
a way that s different from running agents against a foreign government.
Now, given that importance to this discipline, Doug sits at my staff meetings
each time they occur, and that s three days a week. Open source has
a seat at the table, a seat at the table with every other core discipline
that comprises the Central Intelligence Agency. We think it s a key
component of our own strategic blueprint, which we call our strategic intent;
that s how important we think this is.
Now, as I indicated a few minutes ago, my job as executive agent for the
Open Source Center is to help it achieve those two primary goals: one, a
highly effective collector and producer in its own right, the production
line; and, second, to be a catalyst for the larger community, for the open
source enterprise about which you heard Doug talk about yesterday.
So how are we doing? Well, one irony of working the open source side
of the intelligence business, not unlike every other part of the intelligence
business, is that the better we do, the less we can talk about it.
We are often addressing requirements or questions that are sensitive by
nature. The information is unclassified, our interest in it is not.
Open source, by the way, is now routinely packaged with the other ints in
making our products out of our DI. And I can assure you that on a recurring
basis, you see open source material cited as open source in items in the
President s Daily Brief. It s also true that, from time to time, there
are items in the President s Daily Brief that are exclusively derived from
open source and carry the logo not of DIA or NSA or CIA, but carry the logo
to the President of the Open Source Center.
It contributes open source intelligence to national security in unique and
valuable ways. Take recent events take this jump-ball, Russia-Georgia
and now think about how open source could contribute to that. How about
what s going on in Pakistan? Think how open source can contribute to
that and I think you have a pretty good idea of the kinds of things that
open source can offer all of us. It s invaluable. We couldn t
claim to do all-source analysis.
How can you be all-source, which is what we claim to be, if Doug and his
folks are not part of our team? And that s a baseline that helps us
to find, by the way, what s truly secret, what is not accessible in these
ways, and allows us better to focus our espionage energy on those things.
Open source also helps us understand how others view the world. Without
that understanding, we d fail in our obligation to provide insight, not just
information, but insight. Last spring, I was out at the Kansas State
University as part of their Landon Lecture Series. And one of the points
I wanted the students to take away from my time with them was how crucial
it was for us as a nation to understand others, to understand others viewpoints,
friends and adversaries. We can t be myopic, see things only through
an American lens. It s arrogant, but it s worse than arrogant; it s
dangerous. The lecture out at Kansas State focused on the growing
complexity of the world and the fact that international relations in this
century will be shaped by a greater number and more diverse set of actors
than they were in the last century. And the overriding challenges presented
to those of us responsible for national security is that we now must do a
far better job understanding cultures, histories, religions, and traditions
that are not our own, or at least are not as represented even in our immigrant
nation as much as our traditional cultures have been.
Open source officers have an important role in giving us that window.
They expose us to perspectives we might not otherwise see. They broaden
our understanding of the world. That s fundamental to our mission.
Now, let me talk for a minute about goal number two, you know, the advocate,
the sponsor, the facilitator, the responsibility to lead the community in
unleashing the full potential of open source.
We can be proud. We ve made progress here as well. Some examples
Open Source Center now provides the White House Situation Room with 340 real-time
feeds from televisions broadcasts around the world. It provides data
that highlights to our commands like EUCOM through a customized Internet
portal. It s formed new collaborative relationships with foreign partners.
Remember the comment I mentioned where Hayden and Kappes went out there and
visited 50 liaison partners? In several of those instances, the takeaway,
the thing we brought home, was a new relationship between their open source
enterprise and our open source enterprise as well. We re taking advantage
of expertise across the spectrum from NGA headquarters in Bethesda to the
Foreign Military Studies office at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to the Asian
studies detachment at Camp Zama, Japan.
Open Source Center is expanding its training from officers across the
community. Half of the Open Source Academy students this year work
for organizations other than the Central Intelligence Agency. Perhaps
most importantly, the center is making more intelligence-related content
available to more people in government than ever before.
Fifteen thousand people, state and local, Congress, policy-makers regularly
use opensource.gov. Now, we want to build on that momentum, and that
s what drove the action plan that I know Doug s already talked to you
about. It s strategic in nature, but he and I have talked. This
isn t about moon-shots or dreams; it s about practical, near-term, incremental
objectives. I think we ve set the path and now it s simply time to
Now, one of the things we re going to do to help Doug execute is to change
governance a bit for the open source enterprise, not the center, but the
open source enterprise. So today I d like to tell you a bit about the
creation of a new community-wide governance board that will guide us as we
move forward. The Open Source Board of Governors will consist primarily
of open source producers and stakeholders throughout the Intelligence
Community. And what we want to be able to do is to lead an integrated
approach to exploiting openly available information. The board of governors
will set strategies and priorities for the open source enterprise based on
the input from all who want to ensure its success.
We see this board of governors as a forum where consensus can be reached
on how best to use our collective resources today and in the future.
It will consider things like IT strategy and IT policy. How do we wire
up together? The centralization of services, services of common concern
like training or content-acquisition, things like standardization,
standardization of tradecraft. The idea is to set direction and priorities
in a way that allow each of the players, each of the elements of the open
source enterprise to develop and make the most of their capabilities.
We ve had this for the past year for one of the other functions at CIA.
In addition to being the executive agent for the Open Source Center, I am
the national HUMINT manager. In that hat, we have a national HUMINT
board of governors in which anyone who s collecting information from our
species has a seat at the table. And we have been able, through consensus,
to develop a set of priorities and standards that we will be able to use
across the board in human intelligence collection and reporting.
Well, why can t we do that in open source as well? The open source
board will meet quarterly. The first session will take place before
the end of the year and at that meeting, we ll set a work plan for the coming
calendar year with key milestones and decision points.
Now, yesterday, as I know all of you know, we marked a solemn anniversary,
seven years since the attack on our homeland. That one terrible day
prompted action across our community on many levels. And I think the
IC, the Intelligence Community, can be proud of the work that it s done in
the last seven years. Together with partners across our country and
across the world, we have kept the United States safe.
But we owe it to our people, the American people, never to be fully satisfied
with the job we re doing. We owe it to them to constantly ask the question,
how can we better do this? How can we better achieve our mission?
There is abundant evidence that we re asking that question and challenging
ourselves now more than ever in the open source arena.
So I m delighted to be here today. I m even more delighted to see you
here today representing the organizations of which you are a part, but maybe
more fundamentally representing the enthusiasm that is now out there for
this incredibly important discipline.
Thank you then for your energy and your dedication. It inspires us
as we continue to serve our fellow citizens to the best of our ability.
And with that, I d be happy to take any comments or questions you might have
in the time remaining to us. Thank you.
MS. SABRA HORNE (ODNI Senior Advisor for Open Source/Outreach): Thank
you so much, General Hayden. We have four questions for you that we
ve taken from the audience. I ll start with the first one. This
conference sponsored an open source analytic contest, an unclassified mini
National Intelligence Estimate, if you will. Why doesn t the IC publish
unclassified NIEs that could be subject to the peer review of the open source
DIRECTOR HAYDEN: Okay, what do the other three look like?
(Laughter.) I don t know if all of you know this, but even the classified
NIEs are subject to peer review. There are outside readers for even
the most highly classified National Intelligence Estimates. So that
s very important. So in terms of the discipline, even at the highest
levels of classification, we do get outsiders to come in and give us a
view. So I think that s very important.
I guess the second observation I d make is that the NIEs are kind of the
capstone documents. In fact, in some cases, they re criticize them,
looking at Mark here, too capstone, too ethereal. But when they hit
the sweet spot, when they bring in all of the threads of information in a
digestible body for a policy-maker to actually think and decide on something
that s quite important. So I guess what I d underscore to you there
it s all source. It brings them all in so that the policy-maker can
have all of the data that we have available to him in one place.
Now, that is not to undersell the independent analysis that s done in the
unclassified world in which we, frankly, shamelessly, try to leverage and
exploit in our own classified work.
MS. HORNE: With respect to the phrase Open source is good, do you believe
open source is a double-edged sword? We need to always understand how
adversaries can use our open source information against us. And what
is being done about this problem?
DIRECTOR HAYDEN: Yeah. Every intelligence discipline has the
challenge you just described. Vince Fragamini (sp) was my deputy when
I became a brigadier and I was the EUCOM J-2. And Vince was a career
Navy Intelligence Officer. He had run their intel school down at Dam
Neck before he came out to Stuttgart to be the J-2. Vince had a great
phrase: live by SIGINT, die by SIGINT. (Laughter.) And it wasn
t designed to be critical of SIGINT, it s just that SIGINT has the tendency
to be out there on your breaking-edge news so you get the SIGINT report and
Vince had another phrase: when in doubt, put it out, okay?
(Laughter.) But then he would always remind me: live by SIGINT, die
And I guess what I m trying to describe for you is the problem of deception
is present in every intelligence discipline, whether you re listening to
someone, whether you re observing someone or something, or whether you re
meeting with someone personally. And it doesn t have to be deception
in terms of being intentional. This guy may be giving his impression
of a meeting. How many of you had that guy talk to you, okay?
The guy gave you an impression of the meeting which is at total variance
with everyone else who was in the room?
Well, when we intercept that conversation, that becomes intelligence and
we report on it in the same way in which we would be looking at that individual
s remarks were he giving them at a press conference following the aforementioned
meeting. So this problem of sorting through is present in all of our
disciplines so I think what I d suggest to you is, open source, just like
every other stream of intelligence available to us, has to be vetted and
has to be bumped up one against the other in order to find out the best version
MS. HORNE: We ve spoken of the importance and key role of open
source. Within the CIA, the unclassified resources, infrastructure,
and support has lagged behind the classified. How will the CIA put
the unclassified and open source infrastructure on equal footing?
DIRECTOR HAYDEN: It s challenge, you know, truth in lending among friends,
these are not easy budget decisions, but we have made the commitment to
strengthen this discipline. And I should add, too, this discipline
s budget is set off for special scrutiny, set off from the rest of CIA s
budget so that it is visible and observed not just by me, but by people north
of me in the organization chart.
Now, we recognize that this does require investment. Somewhat like
the SIGINT enterprise, which I was familiar with in my time at NSA, you really
need an awful lot of computational power and IT and storage to handle the
kinds of volume we now get in American SIGINT and which Doug now has to deal
with in American open source reporting. So it requires investment.
We re committed to that, but it s a balancing act; a little more over here
means a little less over there. We just have to do the best we can.
I should add, too, we do recognize we re digging out of a deficit here.
This is probably one discipline in which we have underinvested and we have
to play some catch-up.
MS. HORNE: And, finally, How do we encourage more experiences like
your Bulgarian open source experience?
DIRECTOR HAYDEN: One of the things we re doing and we re very serious
about this we re trying to shove our analysts out the door, off of Langley,
and push them forward. So a significant fraction of our analytic workforce
now does its work I mean, it does what it would be doing at CIA Headquarters,
but it s not doing it at CIA Headquarters; it s doing it at forward
Now, a lot of those would be in Iraq or Afghanistan in direct support of
what s going on there. But there s also an awful lot who are not there,
that are in other locations and the idea there is, well, to step back and
put this into a second context. Half of our analysts have been hired
in the last six years. So I go to Michael Morell or John Kringen and
before him and say, we need more experience in our analytic workforce.
And I m accustomed, as a former GI, you know, I know how long it takes America
s Army to build a battalion commander; it takes 18 to 19 years, then someone
is a lieutenant colonel and he s ready to command a battalion. So I
go to Michael or to John and say, how long would it take to build us an analyst
with 20 years experience? (Laughter.)
And the answer they come back with is frankly unacceptable.
(Laughter.) We have found, pushing analysts forward into the area in
which they report, the things they think about, accelerates this experiential
curve. And why does it accelerate the experiential curve? Because
the first newspaper they read in the morning is a local newspaper in the
local language; the last thing they look at, at night before they go to bed
is the local news in the local language. They know whether things are
comfortable or uncomfortable, the population is tight or relaxed because
they re on the metro with them, I mean, all of those things that an attaché
can absorb, we re trying to do that for our analysts as well.
So I think, in its own way, perhaps indirectly, it s doing that kind of
acculturation that I underwent when I was serving in Sofia back in the 1980s.
Thanks very much.
MS. HORNE: Thank you, General Hayden, for your comments. And
we especially appreciate your appreciation and advocacy for open source.