The intelligence process starts when consumers
-- generally, policymakers or military commanders -- express a need
for intelligence information to help them accomplish their missions.
These needs are expressed as requirements levied on the intelligence
agencies serving particular customers, or on joint organizations
established at various levels to serve the customers' needs.
The intelligence agencies use the customers' needs
in giving planning and direction to guide collection strategies
and the production of appropriate intelligence products.
There are five basic intelligence information sources,
or collection disciplines.
- Signals intelligence (SlGINT) includes information derived
from intercepted communications, radar, and telemetry.
- Imagery (IMINT) includes both overhead and ground imagery.
- Measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) is technically
derived intelligence data other than imagery and SIGINT. It employs
a broad group of disciplines including nuclear, optical, radiofrequency,
acoustics, seismic, and materials sciences. Examples of MASINT
might he the distinctive radar signatures of specific types of
aircraft or the composition of air and water samples.
- Human-source intelligence (HUMINT) involves clandestine
and overt collection techniques to obtain information Some of
the principal types of collection associated with HUMINT are:
Open-source information is publicly available information
appearing in print or electronic form. It may be transmitted by
radio, television, and newspapers, or it may be distributed through
commercial databases, graphics, drawings, magazines, or books.
- Clandestine source acquisition of information (including
photography, documents, and other material) of intelligence
- Overt data collection by civilian and military personnel
assigned to U.S. diplomatic and consular posts.
- Debriefing of foreign nationals and U.S. citizens who
have traveled abroad or have access to foreign information.
During military operations, this would also include the interrogation
or debriefing of prisoners of war or detainees.
- Official contacts with foreign governments, including
liaison with their intelligence and security services.
It is important to understand that information
from collection sources is information, not intelligence.
Raw information is often incomplete or -- taken out of context or
without understanding its origin and purpose -- possibly misleading.
It can be subject to misinterpretation, or just plain wrong. Information
becomes intelligence through processing, exploitation, and analysis.
Processing and Exploitation
A substantial portion of U.S. intelligence resources
is devoted to processing and exploitation -- the synthesis of raw
data into a form usable by the intelligence analyst -- and to the
secure telecommunications networks to carry these data. Interpreting
imagery; decoding messages; translating foreign-language broadcasts;
reducing telemetry to meaningful measures; preparing information
for computer processing, storage and retrieval; placing human-source
reports in a form and context to make them more comprehensible --
these are all processing and exploitation.
Analysis and Production
Intelligence analysts are generally assigned to a
particular geographic or functional specialty. Analysts obtain information
from all sources pertinent to their area of responsibility through
the collection, processing and forwarding systems. Analysts may
tap into these systems to obtain answers to specific questions or
generate information they need.
Analysts absorb incoming information, evaluate it,
test it against other information and their knowledge and expertise,
produce an assessment of the current state of affairs within an
assigned field or substantive area, and then forecast future trends
or outcomes. The analyst also develops requirements for collection
of new information.
Analysts almost never work alone, but instead operate
within a system of peer review and oversight by more senior analysts.
During periods of international crisis or on occasions
when intelligence support is critical to high-level negotiations,
an interagency task force is often created under the auspices of
the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) to address critical intelligence
needs. The DCI will direct a particular agency to serve as executive
agent for task force support and other agencies will contribute
in line with their capabilities.
When an international crisis involves the US military, the Director
of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) establishes an Intelligence
Task Force (ITF) dedicated to round-the-clock intelligence support
of the operational and combatant commands involved. The intelligence
components of the military services and the other interested intelligence
agencies will contribute analysts and other experts to the ITF.
The 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War Intelligence Documents
The intelligence documents provided here consist of
both raw information reports and finished intelligence products.
It is the nature of raw information that it is sometimes contradictory
or proved incorrect by later information or events. The same may
hold true of finished intelligence, although the all-source composition
of finished intelligence and the analytical process it has undergone
make this less likely.
Wartime intelligence collection occurs in an environment
in which the target on the other side is just as intelligent as
we are and is generally doing his best to conceal information, confuse
us, divert our intelligence resources, and damage or destroy our
collection assets. This all serves to increase the possibility that
a particular unevaluated report may contain less that the whole
Wartime intelligence production is directed at answering
specific questions of the policymaker and combatant commander in
a rapid and timely manner. This production may be only partly germane
when applied to later questions or areas of inquiry.
The intelligence documents provided here were declassified
to the extent possible in keeping with current national security
considerations while providing the maximum possible health-related
information. Classified information not related to health issues
was generally not declassified in order to continue the protection
of intelligence sources and methods, possible future U.S. military
operations, intelligence-sharing agreements with allies, U.S. intelligence
and technical advantages, and U.S. foreign relations. A significant
percentage of such material is concerned with events outside the
Persian Gulf region. As explained elsewhere, users may request further
review and possible additional declassification of particular documents
by submitting a request under the Freedom of Information Act.