From Danny Panton at At-Risk International:
The term “fake news” has lately gotten significant traction in the business world, the political realm, and among the public. Alongside, the reliability of sources has been a hot topic for discussion. While people are entitled to believe what they want (regardless of how true the information is), untrustworthy sources have presented countless security risks. In days leading up to the U.S. presidential election, an individual from North Carolina targeted Comet Ping-Pong, a pizza joint, after he read an article which stated that Hillary Clinton and her administration were part of a child-abuse operation based in the back of the restaurant. The individual ultimately traveled to Comet Ping-Pong and fired three shots, luckily without causing any injuries.
Though nothing suspicious was found at Comet Ping-Pong, it created a massive threat when the perpetrator internalized the information and took matters into his own hands. This instance reminds us that, as intelligence analysts and protection specialists in the security industry, it is essential that we evaluate the credibility of our sources to better serve our clientele. The same process can also be used throughout the corporate security world in evaluating vendors and partners, as well as for internal purposes.
Evaluating Source Reliability
Although conducting analysis is—surprise—the bread and butter of analysts, we always determine the credentials and validity of sources before going any further. While this is not an exhaustive list, here are a few of the issues that we confront and question when considering a source.
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