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Useful Skills for Your First Corporate Job

Jul 31, 20082 mins

Dr. Tim Thomas, a CIA agent specializing in “open source” data mining, will begin a two-year stint as an officer-in-residence at the University of Washington’s Institute for National Security Education and Research (INSER), which is financed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The office is an umbrella organization for groups such as the U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the CIA.  The University will benefit from the program by means of a $2.5 million in grant money over the next five years.INSER focuses on so-called “open source” intelligence – gathering information from publicly available documents, newspapers, TV shows, online communities, chat rooms, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and blogs in other countries. Under Thomas’s tutelage, students will learn the fine art of data mining and intelligence gathering, and discuss U.S. foreign policy and the strategic differences between the cold war and the war on terror in as much as could be gathered for existing open sources.While INSER focuses more on information retrieval and intelligence gathering than espionage, the University has kept the program fairly quiet. INSER has been around since January 2007, but faculty members – including University of Washington spokesman Norm Arkans – were unable to provide many details about the program since data on it is masked in the curriculum database and to view the online offering you must understand steganography.