Intelligence (information gathering)

Intelligence (information gathering)

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Intelligence assessment is the development of forecasts of behaviour or recommended courses of action to the leadership of an organization, based on a wide range of available information
Information
Information in its most restricted technical sense is a message or collection of messages that consists of an ordered sequence of symbols, or it is the meaning that can be interpreted from such a message or collection of messages. Information can be recorded or transmitted. It can be recorded as...

 sources both overt and covert. Assessments are developed in response to requirements declared by the leadership in order to inform decision making. Assessment may be carried out on behalf of a state
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

, military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 or commercial organisation
Company
A company is a form of business organization. It is an association or collection of individual real persons and/or other companies, who each provide some form of capital. This group has a common purpose or focus and an aim of gaining profits. This collection, group or association of persons can be...

 with a range of available sources of information available to each.

An intelligence assessment reviews both available information and previous assessments for relevance and currency, where additional information is required some collection may be directed by the analyst
Analyst
Analyst generally is a term for an individual of whom or which the primary function is a deep examination of a specific, limited area and may mean:* Accounting analyst, an accounting analyst evaluates and interprets public company financial statements...

.

Process


Information collected can be difficult to obtain or altogether secret
Secrecy
Secrecy is the practice of hiding information from certain individuals or groups, perhaps while sharing it with other individuals...

 material gained through ("closed sources") See list of intelligence gathering disciplines, or it can be widely available but systematically researched through open source intelligence
Open source intelligence
Open-source intelligence is a form of intelligence collection management that involves finding, selecting, and acquiring information from publicly available sources and analyzing it to produce actionable intelligence...

 (OSINT). Traditionally, intelligence involves all-source collection, storage and indexing of data, usually in multiple languages, in the expectation that some small portion will later prove important. Intelligence gathering disciplines, or, more narrowly, and the sources and methods used to obtain them are often highly classified
Classified information
Classified information is sensitive information to which access is restricted by law or regulation to particular groups of persons. A formal security clearance is required to handle classified documents or access classified data. The clearance process requires a satisfactory background investigation...

 and sometimes compartmentalized, and intelligence officers need top level security clearance
Security clearance
A security clearance is a status granted to individuals allowing them access to classified information, i.e., state secrets, or to restricted areas after completion of a thorough background check. The term "security clearance" is also sometimes used in private organizations that have a formal...

.

Intelligence is conducted on three levels:
  • strategic (sometimes called national),
  • tactical, and
  • counterintelligence.

The broadest of these levels is strategic intelligence, which includes information about the capabilities and intentions of foreign countries. Tactical intelligence, sometimes called operational or combat intelligence, is information required by military field commanders. Because of the enormous destructive power of modern weaponry, the decision making of political leaders often must take into account information derived from tactical as well as strategic intelligence; major field commanders may often also need multiple levels of intelligence. Thus, the distinction between these two levels of intelligence may be vanishing.
  • Government
    Government
    Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

     intelligence is usually assigned to intelligence agencies
    Intelligence agency
    An intelligence agency is a governmental agency that is devoted to information gathering for purposes of national security and defence. Means of information gathering may include espionage, communication interception, cryptanalysis, cooperation with other institutions, and evaluation of public...

    , often with large, secret budgets. These use a variety of techniques to obtain information, ranging from secret agent
    Secret Agent
    Secret Agent is a British film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, loosely based on two stories in Ashenden: Or the British Agent by W. Somerset Maugham. The film starred John Gielgud, Peter Lorre, Madeleine Carroll, and Robert Young...

    s (HUMINT
    HUMINT
    HUMINT, a syllabic abbreviation of the words HUMan INTelligence, refers to intelligence gathering by means of interpersonal contact, as opposed to the more technical intelligence gathering disciplines such as SIGINT, IMINT and MASINT...

    ) to electronic intercepts (COMINT, IMINT
    IMINT
    Imagery Intelligence , is an intelligence gathering discipline which collects information via satellite and aerial photography. As a means of collecting intelligence, IMINT is a subset of intelligence collection management, which, in turn, is a subset of intelligence cycle management...

    , SIGINT, and ELINT) to specialized technical methods (MASINT).


Depending on the national policy, some intelligence agencies engage in clandestine and covert activities beyond espionage such as political subversion, sabotage
Sabotage
Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening another entity through subversion, obstruction, disruption, or destruction. In a workplace setting, sabotage is the conscious withdrawal of efficiency generally directed at causing some change in workplace conditions. One who engages in sabotage is...

 and assassination
Assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

. Other agencies strictly limit themselves to analysis, or collection and analysis; some governments have other organizations for covert action.
  • Military intelligence
    Military intelligence
    Military intelligence is a military discipline that exploits a number of information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to commanders in support of their decisions....

     is an element of warfare which covers all aspects of gathering, analyzing, and making use of information, including information about the natural environment (Shulsky and Schmitt, 2002), over enemy forces and the ground. It involves spying, look-outs, high-tech surveillance equipment, and also secret agents.

  • Criminal intelligence
    Criminal intelligence
    Criminal Intelligence is information compiled, analyzed, and/or disseminated in an effort to anticipate, prevent, or monitor criminal activity....

     is information compiled, analyzed, and/or disseminated in an effort to anticipate, prevent, or monitor criminal activity.

  • Business intelligence
    Business intelligence
    Business intelligence mainly refers to computer-based techniques used in identifying, extracting, and analyzing business data, such as sales revenue by products and/or departments, or by associated costs and incomes....

     is the spotting and analyzing of business data for the purposes of directing the business.


Intelligence as used here, when done properly, serves a function for organizations similar to that which intelligence (trait) serves for individual humans and animals. Intelligence collection is often controversial and seen as a threat to privacy
Privacy
Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves and thereby reveal themselves selectively...

. Intelligence is essential for government policy formation and operations; it is a policy matter for individual governments whether While usually associated with war
War
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

fare, intelligence can also be used to preserve peace
Peace
Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the...

.

The process of taking known information about situations and entities of strategic, operational, or tactical importance, characterizing the known, and, with appropriate statements of probability, the future actions in those situations and by those entities is called intelligence analysis
Intelligence analysis
Intelligence analysis is the process of taking known information about situations and entities of strategic, operational, or tactical importance, characterizing the known, and, with appropriate statements of probability, the future actions in those situations and by those entities...

. The descriptions are drawn from what may only be available in the form of deliberately deceptive information; the analyst must correlate the similarities among deceptions and extract a common truth. Although its practice is found in its purest form inside intelligence agencies
Intelligence agency
An intelligence agency is a governmental agency that is devoted to information gathering for purposes of national security and defence. Means of information gathering may include espionage, communication interception, cryptanalysis, cooperation with other institutions, and evaluation of public...

, such as the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 (CIA) in the United States or the Secret Intelligence Service
Secret Intelligence Service
The Secret Intelligence Service is responsible for supplying the British Government with foreign intelligence. Alongside the internal Security Service , the Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence Intelligence , it operates under the formal direction of the Joint Intelligence...

 (SIS, MI6) in the UK, its methods are also applicable in fields such as business intelligence
Business intelligence
Business intelligence mainly refers to computer-based techniques used in identifying, extracting, and analyzing business data, such as sales revenue by products and/or departments, or by associated costs and incomes....

 or competitive intelligence
Competitive intelligence
A broad definition of competitive intelligence is the action of defining, gathering, analyzing, and distributing intelligence about products, customers, competitors and any aspect of the environment needed to support executives and managers in making strategic decisions for an organization.Key...

.

Intelligence analysis is a way of reducing the ambiguity of highly ambiguous situations, with the ambiguity often very deliberately created by highly intelligent people with mindsets very different from the analyst's. Many analysts prefer the middle-of-the-road explanation, rejecting high or low probability explanations. Analysts may use their own standard of proportionality as to the risk acceptance of the opponent, rejecting that the opponent may take an extreme risk to achieve what the analyst regards as a minor gain. Above all, the analyst must avoid the special cognitive traps for intelligence analysis
Cognitive traps for intelligence analysis
Intelligence analysis is plagued by many of the cognitive traps also encountered in other disciplines. The first systematic study of the specific pitfalls lying between an intelligence analyst and clear thinking was carried out by Dick Heuer....

 projecting what she or he wants the opponent to think, and using available information to justify that conclusion.

See also

  • List of intelligence agencies
  • Compartmentalization (information security)
  • Counter-intelligence
    Counter-intelligence
    Counterintelligence or counter-intelligence refers to efforts made by intelligence organizations to prevent hostile or enemy intelligence organizations from successfully gathering and collecting intelligence against them. National intelligence programs, and, by extension, the overall defenses of...

  • Espionage
    Espionage
    Espionage or spying involves an individual obtaining information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, lest the legitimate holder of the information change plans or take other countermeasures once it...

  • Information security
    Information security
    Information security means protecting information and information systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, perusal, inspection, recording or destruction....

  • INDECT
    INDECT
    INDECT is a research project in the area of intelligent security systems performed by several European universities since 2009 and funded by the European Union...

  • Intelligence gathering network
    Intelligence gathering network
    In the broadest possible form, an intelligence gathering network is a system through which information about a particular entity is collected for the benefit of another through the use of more than one, inter-related source....

  • Intellipedia
    Intellipedia
    Intellipedia is an online system for collaborative data sharing used by the United States Intelligence Community . It was established as a pilot project in late 2005 and formally announced in April 2006 and consists of three wikis running on JWICS, SIPRNet, and Intelink-U...

  • Interpol
    Interpol
    Interpol, whose full name is the International Criminal Police Organization – INTERPOL, is an organization facilitating international police cooperation...

  • Joint Services School for Linguists
    Joint Services School for Linguists
    The Joint Services School for Linguists was founded in 1951 by the British armed services to provide language training, principally in Russian, and largely to selected conscripts undergoing National Service...

  • List of intelligence gathering disciplines
  • Meteorological intelligence
    Meteorological intelligence
    Meteorological intelligence is information measured, gathered, compiled, exploited, analyzed and disseminated by meteorologists, climatologists and hydrologists to characterize the current state and/or predict the future state of the atmosphere at a given location and time...

  • Military intelligence
    Military intelligence
    Military intelligence is a military discipline that exploits a number of information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to commanders in support of their decisions....

  • National security
    National security
    National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic, diplomacy, power projection and political power. The concept developed mostly in the United States of America after World War II...

  • Peacekeeping intelligence
    Peacekeeping intelligence
    Peacekeeping intelligence develops and applies the proven process of intelligence to the decision-support needs of the Secretary General , the field commanders , and the tactical commanders and humanitarian assistance supervisors.Source: Robert David Steele, author's draft subsequently published...


Surveys

  • Andrew, Christopher. For the President's Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush (1996)
  • Black, Ian and Morris, Benny Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services
    Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services
    Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services is a 1991 book written by Ian Black and Benny Morris about the history of the Israeli intelligence services from the period of the Yishuv to the end of the 1980s...

    (1991)
  • Bungert, Heike et al. eds. Secret Intelligence in the Twentieth Century (2003) essays by scholars
  • Dulles, Allen W. The Craft of Intelligence: America's Legendary Spy Master on the Fundamentals of Intelligence Gathering for a Free World (2006)
  • Kahn, David The Codebreakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet (1996), 1200 pages
  • Lerner, K. Lee and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner, eds. Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence and Security (2003), 1100 pages. 850 articles, strongest on technology
  • Odom, Gen. William E. Fixing Intelligence: For a More Secure America, Second Edition (Yale Nota Bene) (2004)
  • O'Toole, George. Honorable Treachery: A History of U.S. Intelligence, Espionage, Covert Action from the American Revolution to the CIA (1991)
  • Owen, David. Hidden Secrets: A Complete History of Espionage and the Technology Used to Support It (2002), popular
  • Richelson, Jeffery T. A Century of Spies: Intelligence in the Twentieth Century (1997)
  • Richelson, Jeffery T. The U.S. Intelligence Community (4th ed. 1999)
  • Shulsky, Abram N. and Schmitt, Gary J. "Silent Warfare: Understanding the World of Intelligence" (3rd ed. 2002), 285 pages
  • West, Nigel. MI6: British Secret Intelligence Service Operations 1909–1945 (1983)
  • West, Nigel. Secret War: The Story of SOE, Britain's Wartime Sabotage Organization (1992)
  • Wohlstetter, Roberta. Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision (1962)

World War I

  • Beesly, Patrick. Room 40. (1982). Covers the breaking of German codes by RN intelligence, including the Turkish bribe, Zimmermann telegram, and failure at Jutland.
  • May, Ernest (ed.) Knowing One's Enemies: Intelligence Assessment before the Two World Wars (1984)
  • Tuchman, Barbara W. The Zimmermann Telegram (1966)
  • Yardley, Herbert O. American Black Chamber (2004)

World War II: 1931–1945

  • Babington Smith, Constance
    Constance Babington Smith
    Constance Babington Smith MBE Legion of Merit FRSL was a journalist and writer.Babington Smith was the daughter of the senior Civil Servant Henry Babington Smith. She was educated at home at Chinthurst, England and in France, before moving to London in adult life...

    . Air Spy: the Story of Photo Intelligence in World War II (1957) - originally published as Evidence in Camera in the UK
  • Beesly, Patrick. Very Special Intelligence: the Story of the Admiralty's Operational Intelligence Centre, 1939–1945 (1977)
  • Hinsley, F. H. British Intelligence in the Second World War (1996) (abridged version of multivolume official history)
  • Jones, R. V. Most Secret War: British Scientific Intelligence 1939–1945 (2009)
  • Kahn, David. Hitler's Spies: German Military Intelligence in World War II (1978)
  • Kahn, David. Seizing the Enigma: the Race to Break the German U-Boat Codes, 1939–1943 (1991)
  • Kitson, Simon. The Hunt for Nazi Spies: Fighting Espionage in Vichy France, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, (2008). ISBN 978-0-226-43893-1
  • Lewin, Ronald. The American Magic: Codes, Ciphers and the Defeat of Japan (1982)
  • May, Ernest (ed.) Knowing One's Enemies: Intelligence Assessment before the Two World Wars (1984)
  • Smith, Richard Harris. OSS: the Secret History of America's First Central Intelligence Agency (2005)
  • Stanley, Roy M. World War II Photo Intelligence (1981)
  • Stevenson, William. A Man Called Intrepid: The Incredible WWII Narrative of the Hero Whose Spy Network and Secret Diplomacy Changed the Course of History (2009)
  • Wark, Wesley K. The Ultimate Enemy: British Intelligence and Nazi Germany, 1933–1939 (1985)
  • Wark, Wesley K. "Cryptographic Innocence: the Origins of Signals Intelligence in Canada in the Second World War", in: Journal of Contemporary History 22 (1987)

Cold War Era: 1945–1991


External links