Intelligence collection is the targeted sourcing and acquisition of information that will be used to produce intelligence. The objective is to gather relevant, accurate, complete information from all available, reliable sources and then to forward that information on for processing and intelligence production.
HUMINT - Human-source Intelligence
The timely gathering of credible, relevant and usable information from reliable human sources is what human-source intelligence (HUMINT) collection is all about. HUMINT operations are undertaken to do just that – gain access to key information that can be collected, evaluated, processed and produced into actionable intelligence.
OSINT - Open-source Intelligence
Open-source intelligence gathering comprises the collection of intelligence information from publicly available sources, including public records, commercial databases and subscription services. In today’s information-centric world, most intelligence collection tasks can be completed using open-source intelligence gathering alone.
IMINT - Imagery Intelligence
Imagery intelligence gathering deals with the collection of photographic, videographic or other visual representations of the facts. Imagery can be collected by, amongst other things, UAV’s (drones), surveillance operatives, hidden cameras, webcams and CCTV systems.
COMINT - Communications Intelligence
Communications intelligence deals with the collection and analysis of communications. As the interception and monitoring of communications is tightly regulated in most countries, the employment of this type of service requires careful consideration of the facts and consultation with legal experts. Communication intelligence gathering may involve placement of hidden listening devices, deployment of spy software to cellphones or computers, the monitoring of network traffic, or the use of directional and parabolic mics or laser-based devices for the purpose of eavesdropping on conversations taking place.