Patrolling the Ether: US-UK Open Source Intelligence Cooperation and the BBC's Emergence as an Intelligence Agency, 1939-1948

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Abstract

The British Broadcasting Corporation began recording, translating and publishing selected open radio broadcasts by foreign stations at the beginning of World War II. This open source intelligence, or 'Osint', was provided to the United States starting in 1941, and America's own monitoring agencies reciprocated, albeit with certain key restrictions. By mid-1943 the BBC monitored 1.25 million broadcast words daily. At the war's end, questions arose in Whitehall about maintaining the BBC Osint operation, but an interagency coalition prevailed over the cost-conscious Treasury. US-UK Osint exchanges broadened after the war as part of a larger set of bilateral intelligence-sharing agreements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalIntelligence and National Security
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2011

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