Intelligence concerns itself with gathering, evaluating, analyzing and disseminating factual, relevant information to decision-makers on time, in an unambiguous manner, and in an understandable format. Human-source intelligence collection focuses primarily on acquiring the information needed for analysis from human sources or through the employment of human assets.
Finding people with the necessary access to information you require is only the first step. For a source to be of use, he or she must be willing and able to access, obtain and provide the required information safely, securely, without unnecessary delay, and often on an ongoing basis. For that source to be of value, the information they provide needs to be relevant and reliable. Proper source management, starting with selection, is key. The source management process involves the following phases:
Source IdentificationAlso known as spotting or scouting, this involves the identification of potential sources based on their actual or potential access to target information, their proximity to people or places of interest or their usefulness for some other purpose.
Source InvestigationPotential sources must be thoroughly vetted. Their affiliations, relationships, loyalties, interests, involvements, sympathies and motivations, as well as their financial, social, legal and sexual situation must be closely examined.
Source DevelopmentBefore a potential source is overtly recruited, a relationship is established (either through an intermediary or covertly). This enables the relationship to be cultivated, and for the sources’s loyalties, access and reliability to be tested.
Source RecruitmentThis is the most risky phase, and one that requires great skill and planning. The recruitment approach should be carefully selected to tie in with the source’s motivations (MICE/RC), and could be direct, indirect, overt, covert or anything in between.
Source TrainingTraining is an ongoing activity. At the outset, though, it is important to provide the source with basic tradecraft skills, particularly those related to clandestine communications, communications security, meeting protocols and counter-surveillance.
Source EvaluationEvaluation is a fundamental intelligence activity that involves the ongoing assessment of the credibility of the source as well as the reliability of information provided by that source (for example, by comparing the sources information to known facts).
Intelligence operations are usually undertaken in support of the collection effort. An operation must be meticulously planned, coordinated and controlled as operational failures or setbacks could have far-reaching consequences for the entire effort. Intelligence operations are almost always covert in nature, and require appropriate operational security, countersurveillance and cover. Operations are utilized for a range of different purposes and can take various forms. The most common are briefly described below:
InfiltrationOperations designed to introduce an undercover agent into a group for the purpose of gathering information about the activities, capabilities, limitations and intentions of that group.
SurveillanceSurveillance operations are carried out covertly and can be static, mobile/kinetic or electronic/digital. The intention is to gather information about the activities, movements and interactions of a person or group.
Sting/TrapThe purpose of a sting or trap is to gather irrefutable evidence of a crime or other action/activity that can be used to control, leverage, prosecute or take other action against a person or group.
ElicitationOperations targeting individuals for the purpose of obtaining specific information from that person without them being aware of the significance of that information or the true purpose of the encounter.
FacilitationThese operations are a means to an end, and not the end itself, for example, introducing an undercover agent into a group, or spotting within a group for potential source recruits and collaborators.
InfluencingOperations targeting a person or group with the aim of influencing the decisions of that person or group, either through the use of psychological manipulation, disinformation or other “dirty tricks”.
InstigationOperations targeting a group with the intention of degrading the operational effectiveness, internal cohesion, preparedness, situational awareness, command/control, morale/motivation or commitment of that group.
Section 252(A)This refers to intelligence operations undertaken in cooperation with the South African Police, National Prosecuting Authority or other statutory law enforcement agency in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act – usually resulting in an arrest and prosecution.