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Human Intelligence, according to the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), is said to be the Intelligence that can be possibly gathered from the human sources. This involves gathering of the Intelligence through interpersonal relations and contacts. Examples of such contacts include having a conversation with a person who has an access to information that may be confidential or even interrogation of such an individual through various means that have been developed. Intelligence gathering is not a straight forward/direct activity, as the name seems to suggest; it involves gathering of pieces of information, some of which may be irrelevant or unreliable. They include such sources as: gossips, military deployments, material movements, economic changes, and utterances from the leaders. The obtained information is then evaluated for reliability and classified or even stored for future use.
The information sources may be neutral, friendly or hostile to the state of investigations. The sources of information include: personnel from foreign internal defense, accredited diplomats reports, prisoners of war detainees, clandestine reporting and agents, nongovernmental organizations, and routine patrol by the military police, among others. In order to gather useful information, there is a need of proper planning and determination of what exactly is of interest. Otherwise, the data can be unsystematic, and, thus, it will be not of much use. The major use of the collected information is the formulation of policies and strengthening of the national security and the security of the citizens residing outside the United States as well as other issues pertinent to the US interests.
The major uses of the HUMINT data that have been collected include the strengthening of the national security in the US as well as the counterterrorism measures and strategies and implementation of the foreign policies. A major event that is vividly clear in the minds of many US citizens is the September, 2011 bombing of the world trade center. This call awaked the US Intelligence, and they realized that efforts needed to be put in place in order to be alert to any terror attack that might be launched against the US. The US Intelligence was unable to prevent the attack that lead to the death of almost 3000 people. George Tenet, the then CIA director, admitted that they were unable to unravel the content of the planning session meeting that took place at Kuala Lumpur, which was believed to be a planning session for the attack. They later discovered that the switching of the pilot for flight 77 for Hani Hanjour was requested by al Qaeda leaders.In the year 2001, prior to the attack, the US, according to Tenet, had Intelligence that indicated an imminent attack on the America. The magnitude and the expected casualties, as estimated, matched the actual happening. This highlights the critical role that is played by the Intelligence community in the fight against terrorism.
After that September 2001 attack, among the recommendations that George Tenet made was the expansion of the CIA network as well as the enhancement of the corporations between the Human Intelligence from various foreign states. This will allow the comparison and verification of the information that have been obtained by the various foreign Intelligence agencies. The importance of the Human Intelligence was emphasized by a former national security Advisor in his recommendation on the ways to improve the national security after the attack. He emphasized on the strengthening of the collection capacity of HUMINT and improvement of the collaboration between the intelligent community and other stake holders such as the military.
After that attack, many inquiries erupted as to whether the United States Intelligence agencies failed to collect the information on the plot of the attack, to analyze and timely disseminate it in order to protect the citizens of the US. In the response to these queries, the Congressional Intelligence Committee launched a Joint Inquiry with regards to the attacks and made recommendations for future application. The investigations were carried out from February 2002, and the results were made public in December the same year. One of the key features that were identified in the inquiry was lack of coordination between various agencies and institutions among others. There was an overall agreement that if the Intelligence Community had acted promptly and precisely, the attack could have possibly been prevented. The report concluded by emphasizing on collaboration between the law enforcing agencies and the Intelligence Community.
The Human Intelligence has played a vital role in the fight against terrorism. The information acquired this way has been used to apprehend various suspects and to prevent them from cmmitting crimes that can lead to mass loss of life. In 1994, long before the September 11 bombing attack, the Intelligence unraveled a conspiracy that intended to bomb a couple of US passengers’ aircrafts that operated in the far Middle East. Abdul Hakim Murad was found in his house with incriminating evidence of materials that were used to make bombs. Human Intelligence has been accredited for the arrest of the terrorists such as Ramzi Yousef, who was responsible for the World Trade building in the year 1993, amongst other accomplishes. His plans to bomb the US aircrafts were also revealed through the use of Human Intelligence.
Human Intelligence is also used to shape the foreign policy decisions. A classical example is the Russian imperial police (Okhrana) that was faced with various terrorism threats from revolutionaries who were staged in various locations outside the country. The Okhrana staged agents who joined the revolutions, infiltrating them and setting them up for the authorities. The agents used several techniques, such as acting as the provocateurs; an example is the plans to assassinate Tsar Alexander III that they laid alleged; the plans were plotted and the perpetrators were deployed. Then the authority was alerted and they were arrested (actually 26 of them were arrested). This adversely destroyed the political image of those revolutionaries and they were flashed out of their operating bases. As a result, the cooperation of Russia and France in terms of military and security issues was enhanced. In the year 1923, the Soviet Intelligence was in a mission to propagate revolutionary changes in Poland. They launched several terrorism attacks against the Polish organizations. A conspicuous event was the bombing of the Warsaw Citadel, where several hundreds of people were killed. In a similar event, the Soviet Intelligence made assassination attempt on the Bulgarian leader A. Tsankov in 1925. An explosive device was launched on an event that was attended by Tsankov.
Although none of the above attempts yielded the desired results, it opened up the use of Intelligence. An example is the World War II; a major campaign was carried out by the Soviet in various countries including Lithuania, Estonia, Byelorussia, and Ukraine. This was in an attempt to eliminate the operations of a movement by the name “bourgeois-nationalist underground.” They succeeded in the penetration, captured and killed the activists as well as destroyed the supply points and hideouts. They created a false propaganda, and they turned themselves in for the promise of freedom, which never existed.
Another example where the Intelligence information has shaped the foreign policies is the changed relationship between the US and Afghanistan. After the September 2001 attacks, the US Intelligence were able to link the attack with the al Qaeda group that was operated in Afghanistan. This information was used to make a decision that would see the US raid Afghanistan in an attempt to destabilize the terrorism operations of al Qaeda and Taliban.
The Human Intelligence is accredited for the capture of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, who was one of the closest aeries of Osama Bin Laden. The US had to change the relationship with the anti-Taliban in Afghanistan and the Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence in order to gather Intelligence that would be useful in disrupting the al Qaeda.
The Human Intelligence plays a crucial role in the formulation of foreign policies and decision making. International affairs depending on their nature call for decisions, and the source of the information that shapes such decisions is the Human Intelligence. The Intelligence may involve direct spying of the target country or can be derived from the analysis of the moves that a country takes concerning a particular issue. The problem with this kind of analysis is that it may be manipulated to produce a specified output. Military Intelligence can as well be gathered in this manner. The targeted country is monitored in terms of its activities, such as the collection of the military offensive weapons as anticipation or the preparation to launch an assault. Although it is hard to give a precise conclusion based on this Intelligence, one can closely monitor the development of the events and point out an indication of any eventuality that is likely to happen.
The United States started using the Human Intelligence long time ago. As from the year 1953-1956, the US in collaboration with the British agents was able to tap into the Soviet wires that were used by the then military through tunneling in the border. The network linked all the communication systems in the soviet region, including the air force and the rest of the cities. However, the efforts were rendered useless by the one man, George Blake, who was a spy for the Soviet. After the betrayal, the channel was closed down only after five years of operations when the Soviet discovered its existencee. He was later captured and pleaded guilty of the offences, and he revealed that he gave important documents to his soviet counterparts. Despite the infiltration of the security agencies of the US and Britain, the HUMINT activities continued, and the collected Intelligence was analyzed and passed to the policy makers. President F. Kennedy used the analysis in the decision making. The Intelligence Community then came together in the analysis of the gathered information and produced reports that were used by the policy makers.
The application of the Human Intelligence is not limited to military use alone; it is also applied in the management of crises. The Intelligence is used by the President to evaluate the available options in the cases of crises. The Intelligence also provides the base through which the implementation of the agreed decision is followed. Moreover, it provides a platform that will be used to evaluate the failure or the success of a mission. This will give the government a sign as to whether it should continue or abort the decision. This was well illustrated in the early 60s in the rule of F. Kennedy in the Berlin operation.This was also replicated after the September 2001 attack. The President launched the manhunt of Osama and the al Qaeda terrorist group basing the attacks on the Intelligence that was obtained from the Intelligence Communities.
Human Intelligence has lead to many other breakthroughs due to the collection and analysis of information on the various aspects that concern the US. A classical example is the 2005 Intelligence assessment that revealed that the Iran was determined to establish a nuclear plant. Later, a laptop containing planning details for the construction was discovered, though the credibility of information could not be ascertained. The US sought an alternative in handling the issue. In the year 2007, the National Intelligence Estimates announced that there was credible evidence that Iran had already completed its nuclear development mission. The government announced that Tehran had not initialized its nuclear mission, and there was no Intelligence to tell whether plans were underway. The confidence in which the estimates were given pointed to a Human Intelligence source.
Another Human Intelligence breakthrough was the Syrian nuclear weapon on September 2007. This led to the attack of the facility where it was produced by the Israel, with the information based on the same Intelligence.
The United States is not the only nation that relies on the Human Intelligence for the protection of its country’s interests. In December 2008, few Iranians who were the employees in a nuclear research facility were arrested for allegation of working for the Israel’s Mossad Intelligence Agency, according to the Far News Agency. Another person, Ali Ashtari, was identified as the person who supplied the communication as well as the security infrastructures to the agencies of the government. He had been arrested in February 2007 for an attempt to link Israel and Iran. The media quoted a man saying that he was an Israel spy who passed on the information to the Israel, including the sensitive ones, such as the plan for the development of the nuclear weapon.
Another indication of the use of Human Intelligence was the capture of Mohammad Hoseyn / Hossein Mousavian; he was the second from the top in the security team in Iran. He also headed the nuclear negotiation units. He was arrested for alleged conspiracy, but after several weeks, he was set free. He was later charged with several crimes, including distributing of classified information and keeping documents that were meant to be confidential. He was held for two years and was banned from holding a public office for five years.
Another example of Intelligence breakthrough is the Ali Reza Asgari. He defected from Iran to Iraq equipped with vast amount of information that was confidential in February 2007. He was a senior member of the security administration. In the same year, two more other senior militants were reported missing. Ali Reza Asgari was accused of supplying information to Israel. The man provided the US with Intelligence on the nuclear power project of Iran. And offered some detailed explanation on the Syria’s and North Korea’s projects as well.
The above description depicts the importance of the US Intelligence in the various agencies within the government. The Human Intelligence has led to several breakthroughs and warnings, which have prevented attacks and/or arrests after the attacks. It is, therefore, clear that the Human Intelligence plays a pivotal role in the policy making and in the security matters, and, thus, it is indispensable. Efforts are, therefore, put in place to maintain its capacity and capability owing to its great importance in the above matters.