The W.M.D. analyst I spoke to regularly reads the blog of Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor known for omnivorous linking to, and acerbic analysis of, news from the Middle East. "He’s not someone spies would normally pay attention to, but now he’s out there — and he’s a subject-matter expert, right?"
Via Nourishing Obscurity’s latest blogfocus, I discovered Dizzy’s link to a very long but intriguing NY Times magazine article on the way blogs and wikis are changing the art of data-gathering in America’s post-9/11 intelligence agencies. The old days of hermetically sealed departments, each intent on keeping its information to itself, appear to be numbered:
Blogs and wikis, in contrast, work democratically. Pieces of intel would receive attention merely because other analysts found them interesting. This grass-roots process, Andrus argued, suited the modern intelligence challenge of sifting through thousands of disparate clues: if a fact or observation struck a chord with enough analysts, it would snowball into popularity, no matter what their supervisors thought.