This paper will highlight the development of human intelligence (HUMINT) and the importance of it in intelligence operations. HUMINT can provide information in areas that technical intelligence cannot and also drive the collection requirements of these disciplines when additional evidence is needed. HUMINT is critical in espionage efforts and has undergone the greatest changes from the start of the Cold War to the launch of the War on Terrorism.
Definition of HUMINT
Human Intelligence or HUMINT is intelligence that is collected through espionage commonly by sending clandestine officers to foreign countries in an attempt to recruit spies and gather valuable information. HUMINT can be collected through overt methods, openly known, or through covert measures, in secret. Intelligence officers have official covers that place them at diplomatic posts in foreign states allowing them to collect intelligence overtly. Covert collection efforts are done by those who do not have an official cover, who are typically portrayed as tourists, businessmen, or other various types of relevant covers. These covert HUMINT officers attempt to develop sources that have access to or could gain valuable information of interest to the U.S..
Brief History of HUMINT
HUINT was one of the first intelligence disciplines to be utilized. George Washington used spies during the Revolutionary War in which the operations directly contributed to the successful movement of troops around British forces to avoid conflict when able. The “mechanics” were an organized, patriot intelligence network that gathered intelligence on the British through the information of “spies”. Paul Revere’s famous “midnight ride” was part of a warning system based off of intelligence the “mechanics” had collected regarding upcoming British raids.
A hundred years later this system would be created into what we see in today’s HUMINT world. It would progress through ONI, and later the Army’s military information section, with the use of military and naval attaché’s worldwide providing intelligence on naval bases, shipyards, weaponry, and anything else that would be of use on the U.S. Navy’s possible adversaries. Attaché’s used secret agents to gather information that they couldn’t collect themselves and during the war when the demand for intelligence increased; the Army’s attaché system wouldn’t be established until the U.S. entered WWI. After WWII, President Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 which created the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); one of the three primary purposes to create a window into Stalin’s thoughts and ambitions particularly when it came to Western Europe. When it was reasoned that U.S. espionage should remain covert, CIA, under the provisions of the National Security Act of 1947, was directed to conduct HUMINT operations; operations grew enormously from 1948 to 1952.
Importance of HUMINT
The authors of the Dulles Report in 1948 indicated that...