Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

US government shuts down key news source

Posted by Charles II on December 4, 2013

Elizabeth Murray, The Consortium:

This New Year’s Eve, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will quietly deliver a devastating blow to the American public’s access to accurate, unbiased information that is unparalleled in quality and comprehensiveness by shutting off access to the World News Connection.

WNC is a valuable trove of U.S. government-sponsored media translations and analyses that has informed the work of American scholars, journalists, writers and historians for the past six decades. It is one of the few offices in the U.S. intelligence community that regularly shares information with the people, rather than simply extracting metadata about them.

Exclusive: The U.S. intelligence community vacuums up vast amounts of data, but it has one agency, World News Connection, that gives back information to the public – except that the service is getting shut down at year’s end, notes ex-intelligence analyst Elizabeth Murray.

By Elizabeth Murray

This New Year’s Eve, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will quietly deliver a devastating blow to the American public’s access to accurate, unbiased information that is unparalleled in quality and comprehensiveness by shutting off access to the World News Connection.

WNC is a valuable trove of U.S. government-sponsored media translations and analyses that has informed the work of American scholars, journalists, writers and historians for the past six decades. It is one of the few offices in the U.S. intelligence community that regularly shares information with the people, rather than simply extracting metadata about them.

James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence.
Since 1941, the Open Source Center (OSC) – which was known by its earlier moniker, the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) until 2005 – has produced timely, mainly unclassified products based on foreign media that provide valuable strategic insights to the U.S. intelligence community, including military and diplomatic developments. Previously administered by the CIA, it now comes under the purview of the ODNI.

The Open Source Center has long made a substantial amount of this material available to public subscribers, such as university libraries, think tanks and other institutions – as the “World News Connection” via the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), a government information clearinghouse.

There is no shortage of support or demand for the Open Source Center’s high-quality products, both inside and outside the intelligence community. In 1997, when post-Cold War budget cuts threatened to curtail or eliminate OSC products altogether, the Open Source Center was deluged with letters of support attesting to its invaluable role in the academic, research, and intelligence fields. The campaign, championed by Steve Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, succeeded in saving the OSC from draconian budget cuts.

Open source news/intel, like open source computer code, is far less susceptible to manipulation and corruption. Guess that’s why the Open Source Center has to be done away with.

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