An invaluable help for companies
Intelligence – an indispensable tool today
Leliana Valentina Parvulescu, Psychologist,
Joc Responsabil program within Joc Responsabil Association
Intelligence is that branch of strategic science that studies the intentions of the enemy, the adversary, the competitors, those with whom an organization interacts or confronts. The term is Anglo-Saxon, but its origin is Latin and derives from the words “intus legere”, meaning the ability to understand what is hidden “between the lines”, to predict the meanings of reality and situations still not obvious. There are many ways to obtain information about the adversary, and if in ancient times the sources could only be human, today there are very powerful technological aids such as satellites (SIGINT and IMINT), interceptions of radio frequencies and radioactive emissions (MASINT), open sources such as magazines and publications (OSINT), which are just a few of them. However, the current evolutions of the global crisis and conflict scenarios, their multipolarity, their asymmetry and the strong cultural and religious connotation have re-proposed the topicality of the human component of intelligence, HUMINT, on a top position. For every strategist, military man, politician or company director, the starting point of his reflections is to try to understand the opponent’s intentions, to think like him and to anticipate him in his movements and decisions. And to try to think that he needs to know him. To do this, they do not have to rummage in the office drawers, install drones on top of the company, check their safe or correspondence. Direct, visual and conversational contact with him from a trained HUMINT operator is required. For the HUMINT operator, it is enough to reach out to him, to ask him general or specific questions, to observe him and to come up with a psychological profile of this interaction that indicates his way of thinking, his personality, how he could react and what to decide in case of conflict or in critical situations, how to manage your business, etc. Human intelligence is therefore that part of intelligence that bases its analysis and interpretation on information obtained through its own human resources in interaction with the human resources of the enemy or adversary. Therefore, it is a technique that does not use technology, but only relational skills to make the other person talk about topics of interest and to extrapolate useful information from these meanings and interpretations. Therefore, the human resources entrusted with the task of obtaining information through interpersonal relations may be operative agents, obviously in undercover action, or infiltrated into organizations and areas of strategic or operational interest. In order to be able to perform this task, it is necessary for the operative agents to possess a set of basic skills that require the ability to relate, interact naturally with others and stimulate them to express themselves on relevant topics, guiding the conversation appropriately and using techniques learned in specialization trainings. One of the best courses on the Romanian market, at the moment, is the one offered by ZIVAC ACADEMY, courses, which are supported by professional intelligence experts. The role of these courses is extremely useful, because they require more skills than usual, which can allow the operative agents to fully integrate and immerse themselves in the mentality of the opponent. They must therefore acquire ways, languages and mentalities similar to those of the opponent and sustain the emotional weight of the “game” without being psychologically exhausted and also be able to withstand marked levels of stress. Undercover operatives must move freely within the territory of the adversary and approach persons who can assume the role of sources, ie recruited informants, persons who, properly rewarded, regularly provide the necessary information. A recruited source is a person from the opposing camp who may or may not be aware of the role they are playing.
HUMINT objectives – the purpose of contact or interaction with the opponent’s human sources is to gain information about both what they know and their psychological profile. The possible psychological profile that emerges from the interaction will then be evaluated by analysts, who will then indicate how the person of interest will be treated and what can be expected from the interaction with him. Therefore, the operative agent is also required to have psychological skills such as observation, listening, knowledge of nonverbal language, to extrapolate from facial expressions, gestures, posture and answers and more information about the reliability of what he says. It is not easy to create a network of contacts capable of ensuring a constant flow of information, it requires not only psychological skills but also patience, perseverance, perseverance and the additional ability to manage possible conflicts with the source and to be able to influence it without doing obvious conditioning.
Areas of application – HUMINT’s areas of interest can be all those areas where the acquisition of information is essential for security and for effective decision-making in strategic and operational actions. And this is true in the military as well as in the economic, scientific, political, corporate and social spheres. HUMINT is practiced both in the field of institutional intelligence (ie the activities of the Internal and External Security and Intelligence Agencies) and in the economic (such as business intelligence), corporate (such as competitive intelligence), social (such as intelligence) investigation) and scientific (such as medical intelligence).
Methods – methods used by HUMINT staff to achieve their purpose can range from soft ones like a seemingly trivial conversation with a person in the opposite field, about topics that represent the informative goal, to the most difficult ones such as the use of psychological techniques. of suggestion and persuasion. As I said, training plays a very important role. It is not enough for the operating agent to know what to do, to know how to do it and to know how to play the right role. They need to know, for example, how to conduct an asymmetrical interrelationship, select the most effective ways to behave in possible scenarios, and develop the potential for creativity and improvisation. During the training, the skills are tested, new ones are learned and personal aspects that influence the relational dynamics are identified. Knowledge is produced by direct experience and remains in the memory. For the training of HUMINT staff, the training developed by ZIVAC ACADEMY (www.zivac.ro) includes an initial training objective represented by the acquisition of knowledge about the psychology of communication, especially of NLP techniques, ie Neuro Linguistic Programming, to pass then to the main training objective, the one that prepares the agent to know what and how to do.