Intelligence collection

There are six overarching categories that describe the various ways that intelligence is collected: SIGINT, HUMINT, MASINT, GEOINT, OSINT and IMINT. Of these, SIGINT and HUMINT are considered instrumental in the “war on terror”.

SIGINT and security procedures are closely coordinated under what is called the UKUSA Community, or FVEY (five eyes): Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Signals intelligence (SIGINT) is the process of intercepting signals between people (COMINT) or from electronic signals not directly used in communication (ELINT), or communications transmitted electronically such as through radars, radios, and weapon systems. One of the main tools that SIGINT employs is the use of cryptanalysis, which is the process of breaking codes in order to read encrypted information.

The National Security Agency (NSA), Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) are the organisations in the FVEY that are responsible for SIGINT.

Communications intelligence (COMINT), part of SIGINT, deals with voice communications commonly over radios. This is used to gather information such as location and identity. It covers all electronic communications in the US and the world “to ensure national security”. The NSA at Ft Meade, Maryland has had the most advanced computers in the world since the 60s. Technology is developed and implemented in secret.

Electronic Intelligence (ELINT), part of SIGINT, is further divided into Technical ELINT (TechELINT) and Operational ELINT (OpELINT). Technical ELINT obtains signal structure, emission characteristics, modes of operation, emitter functions, and weapons systems associations of such emitters as radars, beacons, jammers, and navigational signals for determining its capabilities and role in a larger system as part of electronic warfare; Operational ELINT focuses on locating specific ELINT targets and determining operational patterns of the systems named Electronic Order of Battle (EOB) for supporting military operational planners and tactical military commanders on the battlefield. And ofcourse there are “counter” programs, existing and under development such as Electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM) in the US and electronic protective measures (EPM) in Europe, Wild Weasel (alias Iron Hand or SEAD), Smart Dust and Wolfpack.

This is the gathering of information from human sources. Interrogation and elicitation would be classified under this heading.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) and New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) are the organisations in the FVEY that are responsible for HUMINT.

TELINT (Telemetry Intelligence), later named FISINT (Foreign Instrumentation Signals Intelligence) used for intercepting, processing, and analysis of foreign telemetry is closely related to TechELINT and conducted by the DoD.