Foreign Broadcast Information Service


Foreign Broadcast Information Service

Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) is an open source intelligence component of the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology that monitors, translates, and disseminates within the US Government openly available news and information from non-US media sources. Its headquarters is in Reston, Virginia, and it maintains 19 overseas monitoring station worldwide. In November 2005, it was announced that FBIS would become part of the newly-formed Open Source Center, tasked with the collection and analysing of freely-available intelligence.ref|FBIStoOSC_WashingtonPost

History

In February 1941, President Roosevelt directed that $150,000 be allocated for creation of the Foreign Broadcast Monitoring Service (FBMS), under the authority of the Federal Communications Commission. The mandate of the FBMS was to record, translate, transcribe and analyze shortwave propaganda radio programs that were being beamed at the United States by the Axis Powers. Its first monitoring station was established October 1941 in Portland, Oregon.

With the end of World War II, the FBMS was transferred to the Department of the Army. Like many other wartime organizations, the FBMS was threatened with disbandment. The possibility of its disbandment was roundly criticized in many different quarters, which helped ensure its survival.

In the 1947 the National Security Act [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Act_of_1947] was created and the FBMS was renamed the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) as a part of the CIA. Its original mission was centered on radio and press agency monitoring. But with the Cold War, FBIS' mission was expanded in 1967 to include foreign mass media whether it was transmitted by radio or TV, and print.

ervices

At present FBIS has 19 stations that are located around the world. These stations operate as an adjacent of an U.S. embassy/consulate or military command. These stations are not covert and operate with the consent of the host government. The personnel in these stations are both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals who are responsible for the collection, translation and dissemination of foreign open source material. Depending on location, and the availability of print media, these personnel may be responsible for translation of more than one language. It should also be noted that because of the large number print/radio/TV/satellite sources worldwide FBIS does not collect all open source material, but only those sources that meet the requirements of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Besides the translations done overseas a large volume of less-time sensitive material is sent to FBIS headquarters in Reston where a more detailed translation can take place.

Not only are translations provided by in-house FBIS personnel, but approximately 700 independent contractors are also employed.

Customers

Material provided by FBIS is disseminated to over 700 recipients in not only in the U.S. Intelligence Community, but also a large number of government, diplomatic and military organizations. FBIS, being part of the newly formed Open Source Center, can mislead some persons into believing the information they collect, translate, compile, and make available to be freely available. This information remains at some classification level and requires users to be a U.S. Federal, State, or Local Government Employee or Contractor with a security clearance appropriate to the level necessary to access the relatively low-sensitivity information provided by the service. Exceptions to security clearance requisites sometimes occur with BBC Monitoring Employees and Foreign Liaisons with U.S. Government, who are sometimes foreign nationals, and therefore ineligible for a U.S. security clearance.

In the news

aving FBIS from budget cuts

The Federation of American Scientists launched a successful campaign in 1997 to save FBIS from planned budget cuts.

The Larry Chin spy incident

Larry Wu-Tai Chin worked for FBIS from 1952 to 1981 and sold classified documents to China.

Night Flight from Moscow

The FBIS was described in the 1973 film starring Yul Brenner, Night Flight from Moscow. In the film, the spy character played by Brenner was caught as a double agent as a result of open source information.

imilar outfits around the world

Australia: Office of National Assessments

Office of National Assessments.

Open Source Unit, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Britain: BBC Monitoring

China: Xinhua News Agency

Xinhua News Agency circulates for mid- and high-level internal consumption such publications as Reference Information ("Cankao Ziliao"), Internal Reference ("Neibu Cankao"), and "Redhead" Reference ("Hongtou Cankao").

Norway

outh Africa

Further reading

* ISBN 0-8069-8238-1 "The Wizards of Langley" by Jeffrey T. Richelson about the CIA Directorate of Science and Technology
* ISBN 1-57488-345-3 "Silent Warfare" by Abram N. Shulsky and Gary James Schmitt about basic concepts and issues involved in government intelligence
* "The CIA and the US Intelligence System" by Scott D. Breckinridge about the structure of the US intelligence community
* "Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy" by Mark M. Lowenthal about the role of intelligence in policymaking
* [https://www.odci.gov/csi/studies/vol48no3/article05.html "Sailing the Sea of OSINT (Open-Source Intelligence) in the Information Age"] by Stephen C. Mercado. Studies in Intelligence, vol. 48, no. 3, 2004
* [https://www.odci.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/Vol49no2/reexamining_the_distinction_3.htm "Reexamining the Distinction Between Open Information and Secrets"] by Stephen C. Mercado. Studies in Intelligence, vol. 49, no. 2, 2005

ee also

* CIA: Central Intelligence Agency
* OSINT: Open source intelligence

References

* [http://www.govexec.com/features/0304/0304managetech.htm Fighting a War of Words]
* [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/spy/spies/four.html PBS Frontline on four Chinese espionage investigations]
* [http://www.ona.gov.au/index.shtml Australian Office of National Assessments]
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/reports/2004/australia_intell-inquiry_7-2_ona.htm Australian Government Inquiry into Australian Intelligence Agencies]
* [http://www.fas.org/irp/fbis/riddel.html Remarks by J. Niles Riddel D/Director FBIS at the 1st Int'l Symposium "National Security & National Competitiveness: Open Source Solutions" 2 Dec 92 ]

pecified references

# cite news|first=Susan B.|last=Glasser|pages=A35|title=Probing Galaxies of Data for Nuggets: FBIS Is Overhauled and Rolled Out to Mine the Web's Open-Source Information Lode|date=2005-11-25|publisher=The Washington Post |url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/24/AR2005112400848.html?referrer=email&referrer=email

External links

* [https://www.opensource.gov/ FBIS homepage]
* [http://wnc.dialog.com/ World News Connection]
* [http://www.readex.com/readex/product.cfm?product=246 Readex online edition of FBIS Daily Report]
* [http://www.fas.org/irp/fbis/ Federation of American Scientists webpage on FBIS]
* [http://www.fas.org/irp/fbis/riddel.html DD/FBIS Speech at 1992 Open Source Solutions Symposium]
* [http://jesse.openflows.org/OSI.html An essay on Open Source Intelligence]


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