Intelligence Collection Process


The process of collecting intelligence information is sensitive since it requires excellence. It does not create room for unnecessary mistakes. Therefore, it is vital to define an intelligence question precisely (Dunleigh 1994, 81). This helps to ensure that the collector of intelligence information does not engage in asking foolish questions. Additionally, it is vital to ensure that the collector does not dwell on unnecessary details, since such details make the process of analyzing the information complex (Dunleigh 1994, 85). If an intelligence question is poorly defined, it is likely to make a respondent suspicious.

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This is very dangerous since it can make a respondent falsify the information he/she is giving (Dunleigh 1994). This causes the collector of intelligence information to fail to achieve the core objective of information gathering.

The collection of intelligence information follows a predetermined process, which operates in a cycle of stages. Therefore, it is vital to define an intelligence question appropriately, since it allows the process to run smoothly. Failure to define an intelligence question precisely results in unnecessary confusion in the process, which deters a fruitful relationship between the collector and the analyst of the information (Dunleigh 1994, 90).

Poorly articulated intelligence questions lead to the choking of the intelligence stream with irrelevant materials, yet the stream targets well refined and articulated information (Dunleigh 1994, 85). A well-defined intelligence question eliminates any chance of collecting exaggerated and untrue information since the question targets specific elements of information that do not capture attention or raise interest (Dunleigh 1994, 88).

Collection Strategy Development and Denial and Deception

Denial and deception are not new in the history of military war. This art has been practiced for ages, to deny an adversary important information relating to war and attacks (Rowe 2005). While denial refers to a failure to release the truth, deception refers to the release of falsified information (Jessee 2006, 369). The techniques of denial and deception have increased over time, making military war a complex issue of the 21st century.

Denial and deception aim to conceal useful information or to lead an adversary astray (Jessee 2006, 372). These tactics are very vital for any party seeking to overcome its enemy in a war. However, there are various ways through which a party can tell whether its intelligence collection is targeted for disinformation and deception. Perceived double standards signal can serve as a major way of telling that a party’s intelligence system is targeted for deception (Rowe 2005). When a source of intelligence information consistently provides conflicting information, it indicates an intention to mislead the other party. Additionally, when an adversary sends signals to indicate that it is very weak or too mighty, it is attempting to misrepresent the truth (Jessee 2006, 380).

Various tactics can be applied to overcome denial and deception. Proper training of military officials on denial and deception tactics is a useful way of overcoming deception. Additionally, exposing military officials to the methods of countering deception enhances their ability to overcome the threats posed by denial and deception (Rowe 2005). Secondly, denial and deception can be overcome by training media reporters on tactics of reporting war events.

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This helps to ensure that they do not fall prey to deception actions, which can eventually mislead military officials (Jessee 2006, 385). Additionally, denial and deception tactics can be overcome by avoiding the overreliance on some sources of intelligence information. When a party to any war depends on certain sources of intelligence information while ignoring others, it is prone to conceiving misleading information (Rowe 2005). Thus, it is vital to explore all channels through which intelligence information can be gathered.

Signals intelligence (SIGINT) is a method of collecting intelligence information that entails the interception of digital signals. SIGINT involves the interception of communication, electronic, radar and laser signals (Richelson 1989). SIGINT is a very useful tool for the US intelligence community since it provides the intelligence department an opportunity to track any communication or signal meant to advance an adversary attack against the US (Richelson 1989). It is a comprehensive system of intercepting signals that provide the intelligence community with different types of information which include diplomatic, economic, and political intelligence. The sources of intelligence information under the SIGINT system include:

Communications intelligence (COMINT)

This refers to the interception of communication signals of foreign governments or groups (Richelson 1989). Such information is processed and analyzed to give any relevant information that threatens the security of the US or its allies. For example, in 1985, the USA intercepted communication between Libya and its diplomacy in East Berlin. This signal entailed a planned bombing of a nightclub in West Berlin (Richelson 1989).

Electronic intelligence (ELINT)

This is a method of intelligence gathering that entails the interception of electronic signals from the hardware used by military officials or civilians (Richelson 1989). Such signals are stored in computerized files for further analysis.

Radar intelligence (RADINT)

This is an intelligence-gathering method that entails the use of non-imaging radar to generate signals that are analyzed for intelligence purposes. Radar intelligence offers information concerning object movement or flight paths in space (Richelson 1989).

In conclusion, intelligence information is vital for enhancing the security of a country. Signals intelligence (SIGINT) is one such method applied by the US to gather intelligence information. It is a very effective and vital source of information since it generates information from different sources.

Reference List

Dunleigh, Lowel. 1994. Spy at your service, Sir. Central Intelligence Agency.

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Jessee, Devin. 2006. Tactical means, strategic ends: Al Qaeda’s use of denial and deception. Terrorism and Political Violence 18:367-388.

Richelson, Jeffrey. (1989). The U.S. Intelligence Community. New York: Ballinger. Web.

Rowe, Neil. 2005. Detecting online deception and responding to it. U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. Web.

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