The Daily Prophet and Open Source Information

Gringotts Break in

In the world of espionage there are many ways to get important information. The spies in the Harry Potter series all seem to have their favorite way of information gathering. Hermione, for example, ALWAYS goes to the library when she wants to find answers:

“Harry — I think I’ve just understood something! I’ve got to go to the library!”
And she sprinted away, up the stairs.
What does she understand?” said Harry distractedly, still looking around, trying to tell where the voice had come from.
“Loads more than I do,” said Ron, shaking his head.
“But why’s she got to go to the library?”
“Because that’s what Hermione does,” said Ron, shrugging. “When in doubt, go to the library.”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

This means that Hermione is an expert at collecting open source information.

Open Source (n): a collection of information that is generally open to all, such as newspapers, articles, maps, or other publications or documents

Her talents, of course, were cultivated after her first year at Hogwarts when an article in the Daily Prophet, a Chocolate Frog, and a  history textbook gave Harry, Ron, and Hermione the clues to what was hidden beneath Fluffy. Thanks to the Daily Prophet, Harry discovers—and relays to Hermione and Ron—that there had been a robbery attempt on vault number 713 after Hagrid had withdrawn whatever he obtained on Dumbledore’s behalf (SS 141). Hagrid had already told Harry that he was on a mission for Professor Dumbledore and that it was top secret. Hagrid is definitely being a secret agent for Professor Dumbledore, though we wonder how secret an agent he is when he discloses so much of what he is doing to Harry (SS 63)!

By combining the information from the Daily Prophet with Hagrid’s loose lips, Dumbledore’s bio on the back of a Chocolate Frog card, and a chapter from the history textbook that Hermione checked out for “a bit of light reading,” the Trio makes use of all-source intelligence:

all-source intelligence (n): intelligence derived from every type of intelligence available, including covert or secret intelligence

Click here for an analysis of the role the Daily Prophet played in the Chamber of Secrets!

 

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