Radio Berkman: This Wiki Post Will Self-Destruct in 5…4…3…

April 14th, 2009

The CIA’s Intellipedia project has brought the Wikipedia concept into the the highly secretive intelligence sector. How does it work? Will using a technology that encourages openness and collaboration affect the culture of the agency? Do you think they have an entry for Area 51?

Two principals from the Intellipedia project, Don Burke and Sean Dennehy, chatted with David Weinberger this week about some of the challenges and advantages that the technology could have on our nation’s most secretive agency.

or download

The Reference Section:
Don and Sean gave a presentation on Intellipedia at last year’s Enterprise 2.0
David Weinberger’s blog post on Intellipedia
A recent TIME article on Intellipedia
Wikipedia’s article on Intellipedia (how meta!)
If you liked this episode you may like these recent episodes:
On the documentary “Secrecy”
An interview with Andrew Lih

CC-licensed music this week:

General Fuzz: “Starry”
Neurowax: “Pop Circus”

Subscribe to Radio Berkman

See a partial transcript after the jump.

Radio Berkman 117: 2009-04-14_cia

What do you get when cross the CIA and Wikipedia? The answers to this question and more on this week’s Radio Berkman.


If you made a list of the words mentioned on this show in order of frequency of use over time, it would probably go: The, And, Berkman, followed by Transparency. Yes, we love talking about zero percent opacity on this show. Add a little bit of crowdsourcing, and hey we’re ready to party! The idea that knowledge can be shared and managed publicly just really gets us excited.

Of course transparency and crowdsourcing work great for projects like wikipedia, and they made Obama’s town hall a couple weeks ago, interesting to say the least.

But what if it came to entrusting national secrets? Secrets that our national security depends on? If you wanted to build a fluid, user-friendly database of classified information the idea of crowdsourcing the task would seem almost ludicrous.

But that’s just what the Central Intelligence Agency is trying to to do with Intellipedia, a three year old wiki project to improve information-sharing across the agency. Don Burke and Sean Dennehy of the CIA stopped by the Berkman Center to talk with David Weinberger about what goes on behind the scenes at Intellipedia.


Don Burke and Sean Dennehy are with the Central Intelligence Agency. You can find a link in the show notes to a presentation they gave on Intellipedia at last year’s Enterprise 2.0 conference. Unfortunately we can’t give you a link to the actual Intellipedia. But if you feel you can make an interesting case for how your access to Intellipedia would aid national security visit and contact the Director of National Intelligence. Let us know how that goes.

This episode of Radio Berkman was produced by me, Daniel Dennis Jones, at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.


Intellipedia presentation…
Reference back to “secrecy” episode
David’s Blog post on intellipedia:…
Back to Andrew Lih……

“Starry” – General Fuzz
“Pop Circus” – Neurowax…)

Be Sociable, Share!

Entry Filed under: audio,radioberkman

Leave a Comment


Required, hidden

Some HTML allowed:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed



Creative Commons License

Unless otherwise noted this site and its contents are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.