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Foreign Broadcast Information Service

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Now part of the Open Source Center of the Director of National Intelligence, the Foreign Broadcast Information Service was the first open source intelligence agency of the U.S. government. It was originally part of the Federal Communications Commission at the onset of the Second World War, and had the assignment of listening to overt foreign broadcasts, translating them, and bringing significant information to the attention of operations and policy personnel. The listeners and translators are usually native speakers of the language, in foreign stations, supervised by U.S. personnel who speak the language but not necessarily at native fluency.

The organization went through various migrations, until spending many years as part of the Central Intelligence Agency's Directorate for Science and Technology. Given its translation resources, the military Joint Publications Research Service, focused on document translation, merged with it.

Most reports are unclassified and available to selected academic institutions, and through one "deep web" commercial information provider. In many cases, especially of changes in foreign governments, it has been the first U.S. intelligence organization to learn the information.