U.S. Department of State

The New Craft of Open Source Intelligence: How the U.S. Department of State Should Lead

William Keppler, Chairman of the Secretary's Open Forum
Remarks to the Secretary's Open Forum
Washington, DC
March 24, 2004

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Mr. Steele, members of the diplomatic corps, other distinguished guests, my Foreign Service colleagues, ladies and gentlemen. Good afternoon and welcome to the U.S. Department of State and the Secretary's Open Forum. My name is Bill Keppler, and I am the Chairman. I am very pleased that joining us today for this program as a co-sponsor is the World Affairs Council of Washington, DC, and its president Ms. Donna Evans. And on behalf of both of us, we want to thank you for joining us and welcome you.

Before we begin today's program, I would like to remind everyone that in the finest traditions of participatory democracy, the Secretary's Open Forum provides experts, opinion leaders and decision makers from outside the State Department, a exceptional opportunity to present new and differing points of view, as well as policy proposals, ideas, and alternatives -- directly to our foreign policy formulators and decision-makers for their consideration. Consequently, any of the views, opinions and comments expressed at today's program, including those of my own, do not necessarily reflect those of the Secretary of State, the U.S. Department of State, or this Administration. And to facilitate a very candid discussion and dialogue, today's program will be off the record, and not for attribution.

For your information, this program will be rebroadcast throughout the State Department and made available to all our posts overseas, thanks to the courtesy of the State Department's B-NET Broadcast System.

The primary responsibility of any nation's government is to protect its institutions and its citizens from attack and harm from hostile forces and elements. For almost 200 years, the United States virtually was free from foreign attacks on our soil, a tribute to the diligence and the effectiveness of the U.S. Government's national security and defense planning and capabilities, as well as its intelligence and military prowess.

This national sense of security was brutally shattered on the morning of September 11, 2001, when a relatively small group of terrorists unconscionably engaged in an unprovoked, vicious attack, which claimed the lives of over 3,000 innocent victims, including not only citizens of the United States, but citizens of many other nations and of many other nationalities.

This barbaric attack sent a clear signal that the expanded nature, scope and source of threats -- not only to the United States, but to all civilized nations and societies -- had changed dramatically, requiring new skills sets, tools and weapons to effectively detect, deter and to successfully counter contemporary threats, particularly those arising from global terrorism. Front and foremost in fighting the war on terrorism, and addressing the wider range of 21st century threats, will be the need to reinvigorate, adapt and hone our national security intelligence apparatus and capabilities.

The United States Congress has constituted and tasked the 9/11 Commission to investigate and issue an official report on whether or why our national intelligence capabilities failed to foresee and respond to the 9/11 terrorist attack. In the media and other fora there is endless analysis, speculation and “Monday-morning quarterbacking” going on over what may have gone wrong, why and who may be responsible. We will leave it to those other bodies, other forums, to make those kinds of assessments and determinations.

In today's Open Forum, we want to take a positive, forward look into how we as a nation, and the U.S. Department of State in particular, can best meet the multiple national security challenges we face and will be facing. The focus of today's program is how the United States can supplement and enhance -- not replace -- our national security intelligence apparatus and capabilities.

I'm very pleased to have with us today as our distinguished guest speaker Mr. Robert David Steele, a gentleman who has devoted his career to the study, the practice and the reform of national security intelligence. Today Mr. Steele will address “ The New Craft of Open Source Intelligence: "How the U.S. Department of State Should Lead."

Robert David Steele is a former Marine and a former U.S. intelligence officer. He is the number one Amazon.com reviewer of books on national security and global issues. Mr. Steele is the author of "On Intelligence: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World," and "The New Craft of Intelligence: Personal, Public, and Political." He is also the editor and publisher of the book "Peacekeeping Intelligence: Emerging Concepts for the Future." For anyone interested in obtaining these books, they will be available for purchase after today's program right outside the door there at a very attractive price.

Mr. Steele is the founder and CEO of OSS.NET, Inc., a company dedicated to both teaching and performing legal ethical intelligence collection, processing and analysis. Mr. Steele holds graduate degrees in international relations as well as public administration, and certificates in intelligence policy from Harvard University and in defense studies from the Naval War College. He is an elected member of Pi Alpha Alpha, the honor society for public administration, and has received the Meritorious Honor Award from the U.S. Department of State. He has also been honored and recognized with Certificates of Exceptional and Special Achievement from the Central Intelligence Agency, and a Certificate of Achievement from the Department of Defense. He speaks fluent Spanish, having spent 12 of his 20 years overseas in Central and Latin America, but the remainder of that time across Asia and the Pacific.

For his complete biography, I would encourage you to visit his Web site at OSS.NET.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Mr. Robert David Steele. (Applause.)