Personal and academic blog. Explores the borderlands between rhetoric, politics and intelligence.



If you have a secret, don't put it on the internet. That seems to be a very reasonable advice, but of course it is never heeded by anyone, as secrets are only worth something if they can be spread in a controlled manner. A recent leak of the Osama Bin Laden video illustrates the strengths and perils of the internet. But lets look at OPSEC first.

OPerational SECurity is the concept of keeping your secrets in a controlled manner. OPSEC is about protecting your own operations secret so that others can't harvest useful intelligence from them. Basically, it is eliminating your own "emission" so there is less for others to interpret on. In intelligence, OPSEC is for example not to reveal yourself when doing surveillance.

This concept is very relevant on the internet as well. Every month I can go to Google Analytics and have a report on who has visited my site, what they looked for and where they came from. This forms the basis of my own "intelligence" where I can get a crude overview of who are interested in what, what military, government and private companies look for what and so on.

Now for the case: The internet private intel service SITE that monitors jihadists on the Internet and usually has an edge in getting the newest before everyone else, recently obtained the Osama Bin Laden video through an Al Qaeda "Intranet", a web of sites on the internet that is used for internal AQ communication. They shared this with the US government and told them to keep it a secret until it was released through the actual websites. This didn't happen and suddenly a lot of medias had the video before AQ thought they had released it. This of course meant that the AQ intranet closed down, shutting SITE and others out of the loop. A parallel would be if the Germans had found out that the Allied knew their Enigma codes in WWII. Read about the case here.

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