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Ellen McCarthy: State Dept’s Intelligence Bureau Embraces Open-Source Data

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Ellen McCarthy
Ellen McCarthy

Ellen McCarthy, assistant secretary for the State Department’s bureau of intelligence and research and a former Wash100 Award, said the bureau has adopted publicly available, open-source data to serve as the foundation for the department’s intelligence, Federal News Network reported Thursday.

She said she believes that publicly available information offers some of the best data and there is a need to go beyond the classified domain in order to derive insights from open-source data.

“That’s not to say that – we don’t still value compartmented sensitive information, but to the extent that we can focus our resources on areas where we have gaps in knowledge, and really take advantage of what we understand from the open source, I really think that’s going to be the bright side of all of this,” McCarthy said Wednesday at an Intelligence National Security Alliance-hosted webinar. “And I definitely get the sense that that’s what we’re going to go.”

McCarthy noted that the bureau continues to collect sensitive geopolitical data in support of the department’s diplomats amid the coronavirus pandemic.