Human Intelligence (HUMINT)


 


 

Human intelligence is intelligence gathered by means of interpersonal contact, as opposed to the more technical intelligence gathering disciplines such as signals intelligence (SIGINT), imagery intelligence (IMINT) and measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT). Typically, political or military intelligence determines the state of a nation-state through understanding both its history, enabling prediction of future actions, and its current status which includes evaluation of past performance.


 


 

Intelligence also has sub-disciplines that deal with specific intelligence collection methods used in combination, including human intelligence (HUMINT), electronic intelligence (ELINT), aerial reconnaissance Intelligence (PHOTINT), and many others.


Specifically, political or military intelligence determines the state of a nation-state through understanding both its history, enabling prediction of future actions, and its current status which includes evaluation of past performance. Intelligence also has sub-disciplines that deal with specific intelligence collection methods used in combination, including human intelligence (HUMINT), electronic intelligence (ELINT), aerial reconnaissance Intelligence (PHOTINT) and many others. .


 


 

Human Intelligence involves an agent recruiting informants while working under deep cover without direct access to information on sources, and it is also gathered from people with direct access to the information. Agents can either infiltrate organizations or be recruited in a more "front-office" collection role. They will often work closely with a case officer during an extended deployment; so knowledge of the target's behavior, motivations, and mindset are essential for successful HUMINT. While the term espionage is sometimes used by the media as a synonym for all intelligence activities, intelligence personnel consider espionage to specifically mean information gathering from within secret organizations (i.e., masquerading as a spy), which is only one aspect of HUMINT. In addition to information about the organization, HUMINT may also gather data on those individuals whom they are watching.


HUMINT has many sub-disciplines including: espionage (spies), human intelligence assets (agents), counterintelligence, and debriefings of diplomats and peace corps volunteers among others. These may be carried out by individual agents or large intelligence organizations (including the FBI, NSA, GCHQ and CIA). Counterintelligence is information gathered and activities conducted for the purpose of diminishing the effectiveness of an adversary's intelligence collection against oneself or one's organization. This includes defensive security, offensive counterintelligence operations to destroy opposition spy networks, and pro-active countermeasures in an effort to deter adversaries from initiating hostile collections which become active only when imminent threats are detected, and deception.


Some branches of government do not use the term HUMINT to describe intelligence gathering operations, preferring instead to use the terms intelligence collection or intelligence sourcing.



 


 

Self-initiated intelligence collection without direct government involvement (e.g., intelligence on organized crime ) is not considered HUMINT by intelligence agencies and military intelligence officers. Technical intelligence gathering — such as imagery intelligence satellite photography, signals intelligence electronic eavesdropping, and communications intelligence cryptanalysis — does not fall under this category of HUMINT, though individual sources in these disciplines may still be classed as HUMINT due to their access and debriefing by HUMINT specialists.


While secrecy exists concerning more technical intelligence gathering disciplines, all clandestine human intelligence sources are presumed to be compromised and their activities quickly become known due to strict operational security .


Human intelligence analysis is a critical component of any organization’s ability to conduct comprehensive risk assessments. In order to obtain the most accurate picture, it requires knowledge from many disciplines and skill sets which can be difficult for organizations with limited resources or those that have not been trained in this area. This makes human intelligence analysis a service we provide at our firm as an outsourced product, tailored specifically to your needs. We offer full life cycle support including strategy development, execution planning and implementation through data analytics and reporting capabilities. If you would like more information on how we can help please contact us today!


 

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