Defense News

Friday, December 7, 2007

Spies Relying on Public Websites

Governments have long prized intelligence gleaned by spies, satellites and wiretaps. But senior intelligence officials said key findings in a new intelligence report on Iran's nuclear weapons hinged on intelligence that was hidden in plain sight _ on the Web, in newspapers and in non-governmental reports.

The National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear weapons program released Monday relied in important ways on pictures of Iranian nuclear sites snapped by reporters during government tours of the facilities. The first was in March 2005. At the time, a U.S. State Department spokesman derided the visit as a "staged media tour." Two years later, Iran opened a different facility to the more.

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