Intelligence (information gathering)

Intelligence (information gathering)

Intelligence (abbreviated "int." or "intel.") is not information, but the product of evaluated information, valued for its currency and relevance rather than its detail or accuracy —in contrast with "data" which typically refers to "precise or particular" information, or "fact," which typically refers to "verified" information. Sometimes called "active data" or "active intelligence", these typically regard the current plans, decisions, and actions of people, as these may have urgency or may otherwise be considered "valuable" from the point of view of the intelligence-gathering organization. Active intelligence is treated as a constantly mutable component, or variable, within a larger equation of understanding the secret, covert, or otherwise private "intelligence" of an opponent, or competitor, to answer questions or obtain advance warning of events and movements deemed to be important or otherwise relevant.

As used by intelligence agencies and related services, "intelligence" refers integrally to both active data as well as the process and the result of gathering and analyzing such information, as these together form a cohesive network (cf. "hive mind"). In a sense, this usage of "intelligence" at the national level may be somewhat associated with the concept of social intelligence —albeit one which is tied to localized or nationalist tradition, politics, law, and the enforcement thereof.

This article deals with the general role and history of intelligence. For a more detailed look at the process, there is a hierarchy of articles, partially posted, beginning with intelligence cycle management.


Information collected can be difficult to obtain or altogether secret material gained through ("closed sources") See list of intelligence gathering disciplines, or it can be widely available but systematically researched through Open Source 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 and sometimes compartmentalized, and intelligence officers need top level security clearance.

* Government intelligence is usually assigned to intelligence agencies, often with large, secret budgets. These use a variety of techniques to obtain information, ranging from secret agents (HUMINT) to electronic intercepts (COMINT, IMINT, 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 and assassination. Other agencies strictly limit themselves to analysis, or collection and analysis; some governments have other organizations for covert action.

* Military intelligence is an element of warfare which covers all aspects of gathering, analyzing, and making use of information over enemy forces and the ground. It involves spying, look-outs, high-tech surveillance equipment, and also secret agents.
* Business intelligence denotes the public or secret information that an organization obtains about its competitors and markets. See also data warehousing.

"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. Intelligence is essential for government policy formation and operations; it is a policy matter for individual governments whether While usually associated with warfare, intelligence can also be used to preserve peace.

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. 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, such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the United States or the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, MI6) in the UK, its methods are also applicable in fields such as business intelligence or competitive intelligence.

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

Well-known national intelligence organizations

*Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO)
*Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS)

*Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)

*Ministry of State Security (MSS)

*Politiets Efterretningstjeneste (PET)
*Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste (FE)

*Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST) (Directorate of Territorial Surveillance)
*Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE) (General Directorate of External Security)

*Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND)
*Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz
*Militärischer Abschirmdienst (MAD)

*Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)
*Intelligence Bureau (IB)

*Badan Intelijen Negara (BIN)

* Ministry of Intelligence (Iran) (SAVAMA)

*Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks (Mossad)

Korea, Republic of
* National Intelligence Service (NIS)

* Intelligence Bureau (Pakistan)
* Inter-Services Intelligence
* Military Intelligence of Pakistan

*Foreign Intelligence Service - "Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki" (SVR) - successor to the Soviet foreign intelligence element known as KGB First Chief Directorate (FCD)
*Federal Security Service - "Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti" (FSB) - successor to the Soviet domestic intelligence element known as KGB Second Chief Directorate (SCD)
*Chief Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Federation Armed Forces General Staff - "Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravleniye" (GRU) - military intelligence organ
*Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information - "Federalnoye Agentstvo Pravitelstvennoy Svyazi i Informatsiyi" (FAPSI) - signals intelligence organ
*Federal Protective Service - "Federalnaya Sluzhba Okhrany" (FSO) - provides physical security for Russian officials

*National Intelligence Organization (MIT)

United Kingdom
*Secret Intelligence Service (colloquially MI6 in popular culture)
* Security Service (colloquially MI5 in popular culture)
*Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
*Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS)

United States
*Air Force, Air Intelligence Agency (AIA)
*Army, Intelligence
*Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
*Coast Guard, Intelligence
*Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
*Department of Energy, Office of Intelligence
*Department of Homeland Security, Office of Intelligence and Analysis
*Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR)
*Department of the Treasury, Office of Intelligence and Analysis
*Director of National Intelligence
*Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of National Security Intelligence
*Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
*Marine Corps, Intelligence
*National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
*National Security Agency (NSA)
*National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)
*Navy, Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)

Major publicly accessible intelligence sources

* [ Open Sources Center] , select "Intelligence" section.
* [ Jane's Information Group] ; Defence, Law Enforcement, Political and General Intelligence
*CIA World Fact Book
*credit rating agencies
*Dow Jones
*Internet search engines such as Google
*newspapers of record, such as the New York Times
*private investigators
*public libraries



* Andrew, Christopher. "For the President's Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush" (1996)
* Black, Ian. "Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services" (1992)
* [ Bungert, Heike et al eds. "Secret Intelligence in the Twentieth Century" (2003)] essays by scholars
* 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
* 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)
* 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)

World War II: 1931–1945

* Babington-Smith, Constance. "Air Spy: The Story of Photo Intelligence in World War II" (1957)
* 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. "The Wizard War: British Scientific Intelligence 1939–1945" (1978)
* 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)
* Wark, Wesley. "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", "Journal of Contemporary History" 22 (1987)

Cold War Era: 1945–1991

* Aldrich, Richard J. "The Hidden Hand: Britain, America and Cold War Secret Intelligence" (2002).
* Ambrose, Stephen E. "Ike's Spies: Eisenhower and the Intelligence Establishment" (1981).
* [ Andrew, Christopher and Vasili Mitrokhin. "The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB" (1999)]
* Andrew, Christopher, and Oleg Gordievsky. "KGB: The Inside Story of Its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev" (1990).
* Bogle, Lori, ed. "Cold War Espionage and Spying" (2001), essays by scholars
* Dorril, Stephen. "MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service" (2000).
* Dziak, John J. "Chekisty: A History of the KGB" (1988)
* [ Koehler, John O. "Stasi: The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police" (1999)]
* Ostrovsky, Viktor "By Way of Deception" (1990)
* Persico, Joseph. "Casey: The Lives and Secrets of William J. Casey-From the OSS to the CIA" (1991)
* Prados, John. "Presidents' Secret Wars: CIA and Pentagon Covert Operations Since World War II" (1996)
* [ Rositzke, Harry. "The CIA's Secret Operations: Espionage, Counterespionage, and Covert Action" (1988)]
* [ Trahair, Richard C. S. "Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies and Secret Operations" (2004)] , by an Australian scholar; contains excellent historiographical introduction
* Weinstein, Allen, and Alexander Vassiliev. "The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America—The Stalin Era" (1999).

See also

* List of intelligence gathering disciplines
* Compartmentalization
* Counter-intelligence
* Open Source Intelligence
* Public intelligence
* Espionage
* Intellipedia, a classified wiki that runs the secret network that links the U.S. intelligence community.

External links

* "ISRIA", HTML, [ The Relations between the CIA and the Executive Power since 2001] , February 5, 2006.
* "ISRIA", PDF, [ The Role of Open Sources in Intelligence] , December 31, 2005.
* [ Read Congressonal Research Service (CRS) Reports regarding Intelligence issues]
* [ The Literature of Intelligence: A Bibliography of Materials, with Essays, Reviews, and Comments by J. Ransom Clark, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, Muskingum College]
* [ Proposal for a Privacy Protection Guideline on Secret Personal Data Gathering and Transborder Flows of Such Data in the Fight against Terrorism and Serious Crime]

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