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CIA Software Developer Goes Open Source, Instead

Aug 05, 2010, 12:06 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Noah Shachtman)

"For three years, Matthew Burton has been trying to get a simple, useful software tool into the hands of analysts at the Central Intelligence Agency. For three years, haggling over the code's intellectual property rights has kept the software from going anywhere near Langley. So now, Burton's releasing it — free to the public, and under an open source license.

"Burton, a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst and software developer, speaks today at the Military Open Source Software Working Group in Virginia. It's a gathering of 80 or so national security tech-types who've heard a thousand stories about good ideas and good code getting sunk, because of squabbles over who owns the software.

"Burton, for example, spent years on what should've been a straightforward project. Some CIA analysts work with a tool, "Analysis of Competing Hypotheses," to tease out what evidence supports (or, mostly, disproves) their theories. But the Java-based software is single-user — so there's no ability to share theories, or add in dissenting views."

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