The CIAs investment arm recently bought a stake in a company developing software that monitors social media conversations. What else has the U.S. Intelligence Community done to harness social media and the Web?

Visible Technologies, a self-described leading provider of social media analysis and engagement solutions, recently announced its partnership with In-Q-Tel, a nonprofit venture capital firm based in Arlington, Va., that works to keep the CIA and U.S. Intelligence Community equipped with the latest technology.

The investment in Visible is part of the CIAs effort to better harness open source intelligence intelligence thats publicly available through television or the Web, but that is easily buried by each days deluge of information.

In early 2008, Doug Naquin, director of the Director of National Intelligence Open Source Center, admitted that U.S. spies were using social media outlets like YouTube to stay current. Were looking at chat rooms and things that didn't exist five years ago, and trying to stay ahead. In this context, one can see the recent move toward a service like that provided by Visible, which simplifies the process of monitoring the Webs disparate and ever-changing social media sites, as a more concerted effort to stay ahead of the curve (or at least to stay on its heels).

For more information, visit http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/Americas/2009/October/Harnessing-Open-Source-Intelligence--Social-Media-and-the-CIA.html