The blog, finally here

So, this is it – the blog. My name is Veli-Pekka Kivimäki, and I study, research and teach intelligence, particularly use of open sources of information like social media. This blog is a personal project, and not affiliated with my day job in the government. I have also done research and investigations with Bellingcat, and have previously posted there. The focus of this blog will be slightly different from that.

The trigger for setting up this personal blog was the research I’ve been doing into CIA’s declassified documents archive. In January 2017, CIA made accessible online all the documents in the archive that were previously only accessible through the CIA Records Search Tool (CREST) at NARA in College Park, Maryland. At the time, that meant nearly 930,000 documents. Some new documents have been added since.

Given that the nature of the intelligence business is not generally towards openness, I felt that the CIA archive release was important both for research as well as educational purposes. The archive contains materials reaching back to CIA’s predecessor Office of Strategic Service (OSS) from the early 1940s, so the archive also has historic value.

The major problem with the big document release in terms of usability for research was that the 1) documents were not properly indexed, and 2) not all the documents contain proper metadata. So, since January 2017 I have been digging into the data in different ways, in an attempt to find interesting and useful documents.

I have been posting various finds on my Twitter timeline and one bigger project through the Bellingcat website (index of Military Thought/Voennaya Mysl translations), but it’s gotten to a point where a better way to retain the information is needed, to make it accessible to other researchers. So, this blog will initially serve that purpose, and I will organize the earlier finds and data sets for easier access through this blog.

Going forward, I expect to use this blog for jotting down thoughts on intelligence-related subjects overall, likely with a bias towards the use of open sources due to my research.

So, with that – welcome!