Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
Your statement implies that the IC does not have the skills, people or agility to conduct effective analysis of open sources. I beg to differ. (although I would definitely state that neither DHS nor the Bureau have those resources - they are both still struggling to develop their emerging intel capabilities into something approaching minimally capable)

In sum, any properly trained and experienced intelligence professional is fully capable of effectively exploiting open source material. The fundamental tradecraft of the intelligence analyst remains the same whether the material is unclass or on the high side.

The primary struggle is with collection. Given the overwhelming amount of information available through a broad spectrum of media in a babble of languages, dialects and local jargon, collection structures have yet to meet the needs of analysts serving agencies with widely differing collection priorities. That problem is critical enough to justify contracting out certain specific types of collection.

However, although analytic products obtained from third party vendors are also valuable information sources (and the government has long used such vendors to conduct special studies), regular analytic production should not be outsourced - for what should be very obvious reasons.
The CRS study that you linked to points out some of the problems that exist within the IC as regards OSINT. Pages 8 and 9 list a few of the major obstacles, but the problems extend beyond this to a lack of confidence in the actual value of OSINT by some senior members of the effected agencies:

As far as why regular analytic production should not be outsourced - no, the reasons for that aren't obvious. In fact, the high percentage of outsourcing at the CIA has been the subject of a lot of debate. What do you think are the reasons for not outsourcing OSINT collection and analysis?