Our weekly hack for those in the field doing the work & digging up critical intel.
The ability to uncover information on the internet is the primary skill of an online investigator. There are hundreds of thousands of surface, deep, and dark websites, but which are most pertinent to your unique case? Do you know how to utilize Google to its full potential? With new social media platforms coming online at a rapid pace, capturing leads and evidence in social media networks is more complex than ever. Do you know the latest tools of the trade?
Hg’s OSINT Tips of the week provides you with the latest intel how to be most effective in our tradecraft. We are always looking for new tools, so don’t hesitate to let us know if you have one you’d like reviewed in a future post!
This week, our Timely Tips overview three resources for searching out political information. These platforms can be valuable for investigative activity—uncovering all kinds of valuable intel. Come on, it’s time to dig in.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is the “independent regulatory agency charged with administering and enforcing the federal campaign finance law. The FEC has jurisdiction over the financing of campaigns for the U.S. House, Senate, Presidency and the Vice Presidency.” Need to locate names within a company? Download the Federal Election Commission’s Disclosure Database and sort by company name. If members of your target organization donate $1,000 or more to the Federal Election Campaign, their names and home addresses will be there.
Social media can often make or break a campaign for a politician. It is not only important for politicians to be cautious about what they post during their campaign, but also what they have posted on social media in the past. Maybe it was a differing opinion than what they are currently campaigning or something inappropriate. Investigators and journalists alike dive deep into a political candidate’s social media accounts looking for these discrepancies…but what if the posts they are hoping to find have been deleted? Politiwoops tracks deleted tweets of public officials. It includes current people in office as well as candidates running for office. The tool is a product of ProPublica, originally published by The Sunlight Foundation. According to their Website, content is updated regularly.
Historically, the “nonpartisan, nonprofit” National Institute on Money in Politics (NIMP) promoted an “accountable democracy by compiling comprehensive campaign-donor, lobbyist, and other information from government disclosure agencies nationwide and making it freely available at FollowTheMoney.org.” Recently announced, NIMP and the Center for Responsive Politics (CPR) are joining forces to become OpenSecrets.
Follow the Money has been an archival website of political-campaign donations. The website provides data on to whom money was donated and from whom the money came. Under the website’s “Ask Anything” title, you can search on Contributions From or Contributions To—using a variety of parameters (contributor name, industry, location, etc.) Or, build your own specific query.
Have an OSINT tip for us? Contact us, and we will consider reviewing it in future posts!
Like what you’re reading? Check out Hg’s monthly webinars!
Throughout the year, Hetherington Group offers monthly live webinars on current investigative tactics involving social networks, search engines, due diligence, the dark web, and other related topics. Participants should have some basic experience of the topic, as all programs are offered at an intermediate level, unless otherwise noted.