Ordinary citizens help MİT gather intelligence

November 14, 2011, Monday/ 16:35:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Nearly a thousand people sent in tips and bits of public intelligence to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in October following a campaign MİT initiated to seek the assistance of ordinary citizens.

MİT has thus far received tips from 979 people aiming to help out the intelligence agency's officials. This new campaign is part of a larger policy by MİT to open up to the public. In October, MİT received 2,169 emails. Of these, 1,190 were requests for information under Turkey's right to information act and 979 contained information about incidents that had happened or were anticipated to happen, intended to alert intelligence officials.

The wheel of intelligence -- defined as the gathering of raw information, its processing, assessment, categorization and distribution -- now involves ordinary citizens. A tipster who emails MİT becomes a part of the wheel. Later, intelligence officers sort out similar pieces of information and check the reliability of their sources to try to verify the tip. They then assess what they have and the result is shared with the relevant agencies.

Tipsters can fill out a form on the MİT website titled “How you can help.” The form is completely anonymous. In addition to seeking help and information from citizens, MİT also responds to questions from citizens. The questions the organization receives monthly range from queries about the salaries of MİT personnel to people wondering if MİT has a file on them. Another common question is whether being a woman or being married is an obstacle to employment at MİT. There are also questions about how one can tell if their phone line has been tapped and under what conditions a MİT agent can reveal their identity. They also get questions from university students about internship opportunities with MİT.

MİT's official website,, received 1,041,379 unique visitors in 2010. In that same year, 15,236 people sent email messages to MİT -- 54 percent of which were queries and the remaining 46 percent were messages including tips or intelligence information. MİT officials responded to 3,675 of the inquiry forms that were sent in through its website. This year, a great increase is expected in the number of general visitors and tipsters.

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