Since 1941, an organization dedicated to the collection and exploitation of open sources has helped policymakers understand our adversaries and the world around us. The Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) originally monitored foreign shortwave radio as part of the Federal Communications Commission and contributed valuable information gleaned from the airwaves to customers in the Office of Strategic Services and the US Departments of State, War, and Navy during World War II.
In 1946, FBIS became a founding element of the new Central Intelligence Group. Later, the National Security Council tasked the Director of Central Intelligence to operate FBIS as a service of common concern, specifically “to conduct all Federal monitoring of foreign propaganda and press broadcasts required for the collection of intelligence information to meet the needs of all Departments and Agencies in connection with National Security.”
In 2005, FBIS was the seed from which the Director of National Intelligence established today’s Open Source Center to be the premier provider of open-source intelligence for the US Government.
Shown here is a Mongolian typewriter used on the Central Eurasia Program of FBIS during the 1950s.