US Intelligence Agencies Go Web 2.0

US intelligence agencies are preparing to launch their own social networking site, codenamed A-Space. Unfortunately for us non-spooks, we won’t get to see it because it’s going to be an internal tool.

However, members of the intelligence community are divided over the benefits of having such a social network (quoting the linked FT article):

A female employee who had arranged a high-school reunion on MySpace asked why the community had not created a similar tool. That prompted a response that she wasn’t thinking big enough. But Mr Wertheimer says two other people immediately jumped in with concerns about a “counter-intelligence nightmare” that could cost US lives.

“That is very typical within the intelligence community of the approach to social networking tools,” says Mr Wertheimer. “The positive value is…not easily quantified. The negative, the risk for people under cover… is drawn out so starkly, even though it is speculative, that they tend to carry the day.”

But he says the intelligence community needs to consider that not sharing information can also cost lives, a lesson learned from the 9/11 attacks.