Can intelligence-gathering techniques honed by the Central Intelligence Agency be useful in the business world? Herbert E. Meyer, a former CIA official during the Reagan Administration, is trying to find out. He has set up Lookout Point, a new on-line information service that supplies intelligence to businesses in the form of electronic bulletins on industry trends and geopolitics.
For $20 per hour of connect time, computer owners can tap into knowledge compiled by experts in many fields. Lookout Point Inc., the Cleveland company running the service, employs a network of specialists who feed their findings into special information-correlation software that the CIA has used. Bulletins, such as one on how the new Mideast peace agreement will affect companies, are electronically cross-referenced. This way, subscribers can pose plain English questions to a vast data base of text.