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The intelligence process is
|“||[a]n organized process by which information is gathered, assessed, and distributed in order to fulfill the goals of the intelligence function. It is a method of performing analytic activities and placing the analysis in a useable form.||”|
The intelligence process is
|“||[t]he process by which information is converted into intelligence and made available to users. The process consists of six interrelated intelligence operations: planning and direction, collection, processing and exploitation, analysis and production, dissemination and integration, and evaluation and feedback.||”|
The first step, planning and direction, involves identifying the need for data. Investigators must engage in a process of deciding what they want to know (or what they need to collect) before they collect it, or they may end up with indiscriminate, unfocused information.
Collection is the gathering of the raw data needed to produce intelligence products. Data may be collected from many sources, including but not limited to public records, the Internet, confidential sources, incident reports, and periodicals.
The next step, processing and collation, involves evaluating the information’s validity and reliability. Collation entails sorting, combining, categorizing, and arranging the data collected so relationships can be determined.
Analysis is the portion of the intelligence process that transforms the raw data into products that are useful. This is also the function that separates “information” from “intelligence.” It is this vital function that makes the collection effort beneficial. Without this portion of the process, we are left with disjointed pieces of information to which no meaning has been attached. The goal is to develop a report where the information has been connected in a logical and valid manner to produce an intelligence report that contains valid judgments based on information analyzed.
Dissemination is also a vital step in the process. Without disseminating the intelligence developed, it is pointless to collect it. The intelligence disseminated must be timely and credible to be useful. Dissemination must also be evaluated based on a “right to know” and the “need to know.”
The final step of the intelligence process involves obtaining feedback on the process performed and the products produced by the intelligence function. This step allows evaluation of the performance or effectiveness of an intelligence function.
The proper completion of these steps ensures that the data used are managed appropriately and within the legal constraints regarding the privacy and rights of all citizens; however, the steps are often interconnected, and frequently, the boundaries blur. Each step of the process needs to be understood to produce accurate, timely intelligence reports.
- ↑ Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Compliance Verification for the Intelligence Enterprise, App. B, at 41.
- ↑ U.S. Department of Defense, Joint Pub. 1–02: DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (Nov. 8, 2010, as amended through May 15, 2011) (full-text).
- Overview section: National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan, at 7.