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Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Explanation by Biswajeet Ray

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Human Intelligence (HUMINT), is a type of intelligence obtained from data gathered and supplied by human resources. HUMINT play major role for neutralising enemies, on ground risk assessment, locating adversaries, and gathering information about internal and external threats.

HUMINT is one of the most important part of intelligence field. But for better HUMINT a human resources with proper knowledge of Geo-Spatial Intelligence (GEOINT), Imagery Intelligence (IMINT), Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT) and Open Source Intelligence (OSINT). Played a major role intelligence specially in war time.

The main difference is Human Intelligence is different from the other intelligence. Because it is based on interpersonal contact or connection. Opposed to SIGINT or IMINT, which are based on technology. This is why a HUMINT resource needs knowledge about philosophical and psychological aspects of human behaviour. He needs to be able to motivate and persuade people, and to handle various types of communications. The HUMINT collector has to verify the source. To check about his/her attitude, behaviour ,honesty or if he/she is compromised. At last presence of mind is important.

In technical field TECHINT, OSINT and SIGINT are very important. For ground level or other work. HUMINT is still the cheapest and most efficient solution, even though it requires more time.

Human Intelligence Methods

As described in “Human Intelligence Collector Operators” (US Department of the Army), the collection process comprise in five stages:

  • Planning and preparation
  • Approach
  • Questioning
  • Termination
  • Reporting

HUMINT can be collected through a diplomatic report, locals, ordinary patrol, prisoners of war, refugees, espionage, and non-governmental organisations.

HUMINT is provided by interrogations with people who have access to a certain type of information. These might be covert agents and spies. It involves agents and spies with official or non-official covers, to gather information in the inside and outside of the country.  In India HUMINT resources is known as Mukhbir, Jasoos and many other name according to regions.

The tasks of a HUMINT collector:

  • Participating in Intelligence operations
  • Analyzing of threats and reports.
  • Interrogating HUMINT sources.
  • Exploiting material and documents.
  • Eliciting information from a specific source.
  • Reviewing of on ground conditions.

The HUMINT source, part of either civilian or military personnels, is the persons who provides information to there collector’s. This information could be first or second-hand knowledge and it is normally obtained through hearing or sight.

HUMINT stages

The process to find a HUMINT source can be divided into four different stages:

  • Spot – locate/select people on there locality, talents, accessibility, and motives. Sources might simply have access to a specific type of information.
  • Assess – identify the loopholes of the source and determine if he/she is authentic or not.
  • Develop – manipulation these loopholes to convince the source to agree with the collector’s rules.
  • Recruitment – the last stage that secures the cooperation and authenticity of the sources.

Why HUMINT matters?

HUMINT plays a pivotal role in intelligence gathering.

Advancement in the field of science and technology shows a decrease in reliance on HUMINT and a gradual increase in reliance on intelligence gathering through TECHINT.

The most advanced technologies cannot detect or generalise the innovative and simple methods adopted by faceless HUMINT outfits, who are driven more by ideology and determination than high technology to conduct a war.

In present generation the enemy is everywhere. Today’s insurgents are merciless, resourceful, and proficient at weaving themselves into the nerves of their societies, making themselves virtually undetectable until they strike.

The focus on the role of HUMINT has increased numerous since they are able to penetrate mortal structures revealing long-term planning and vigilance.

Combining a mixture of the right technology [IMINT, SIGINT, COMINT (Commercial Intelligence), TECHINT, OSINT (Open Source Intelligence), etc. It is possible to recognize about 80-90 % of information required in intelligence operations. However, the balance, which is really vital and kept secure by nations, can essentially be gathered through HUMINT efforts only, especially shapeless factors like perceptions, covert activities, plans, decisions and, most importantly, intentions. The current intelligence structure is, therefore a gap between ever-increasing intelligence requirements and limited intelligence gathering resources, especially HUMINT.


HUMINT is an absorbing field of human endeavour; it needs imagination, practical common sense, accurate understanding, curiosity and persistence to ferret out the truth.

The best technology and weapons could not prevent the worst terror attacks. That’s why Every country intelligence needs HUMINT.

Source Link :- Entrepreneur Ethics
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