A new international inter-agency Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) Handbook is being developed and will be distributed at the conference in hardcopy at the same time that it is offered for sale at Amazon in both Kindle and CreateSpace form.

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There is no adequate handbook today for Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), nor is there a proper handbook for operationalizing Open Source Everything Engineering (OSEE). If we have missed any handbook of significance, please point it out — generally we do not take web surfing guides to be substantive since less than 1% of tangible useful knowledge is online. The NATO and SOF Handbooks remain the best in terms of structure and mind-set but their links are severely out-dated, for fresh links use Ben Benavides’ 2016 references.  NOTE: At the strategic level OSINT is not about investigating individuals or organizations using anonymous and covert techniques. Our focus is on encyclopedia and warning intelligence as well as the broad needs of any expeditionary force for unclassified (shareable) military, civil, and geographic decision support.

OSINT Done Right is Active OSINT, meaning human-centric OSINT. The existing national manager for OSINT has never grasped the importance of overt HUMINT, which comprises 73% of HUMINT types (15 slices illustrated below) and 99% of HUMINT content.

OSINT is in fact — the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) made this determination in 1997 — a good or service legally and ethically available in the marketplace — it is therefore governed by the rules of open acquisition, not the rules of secret collection. The time has come for OSINT to be managed properly as a separate discipline with its own agency.

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Below are a few existing publications — the full list including 19 generic OSINT handbooks is at the end of this post. If you know of a useful OSINT guide not shown here, please point it out to robert.david.steele.vivas [AT] gmail [DOT] com so that we may add it here.


Ben Benavides: Desktop OSINT Handbook

Ben Benavides: Exploring Social Media Web Sites: A Guide for the Open Source Analyst

Ben Benavides OSINT 2ool Kit On The Go Bag (Bag O’Tradecraft)

Romanian OSINT Handbook

US Army Open Source Handbook (Passive OSINT). Available on request to Robert Steele.


Romanian OSINT Handbook

Robert Steele: Open Source Intelligence 101 (Intelligence Tradecraft in the Third Millennium)


Open Source Intelligence Techniques: Resources for Searching and Analyzing Online Information (CreateSpace, 2013)

Handbook Online for Internet Tools and Resources for Creating Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)


THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth & Trust.  (North Atlantic Books/Evolver Editions, 2012)


Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)” in Loch Johnson (ed.), Strategic Intelligence (Volume 2: Collection, Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2007), pp. 95-122

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)” in Loch Johnson (ed.), Handbook of Intelligence Studies (Oxford, UK: Routledge, 2007), pp. 129-147.


Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) Requirements Management: A U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Perspective

Open Source Intelligence Handbook (Special Operations Forces)


Open Source Intelligence Handbook (North Atlantic Treaty Organizatrion)


Open Source Intelligence: Executive Overview

Open Source Intelligence: Private Sector Capabiltiies to Support DoD Policy, Acquisition, and Operations


The Challenge of Global Coverage


Open Source Intelligence Handbook (Joint Military Intelligence Training Center)

See Also:

OSINT Literature Review, Name Association, Lessons Learned

All Handbooks Free Online at Phi Beta Iota Public Intelligence Blog