Connecting the Terrorism Dots

The Intelligence Cycle is the process of develop -ing raw information into finished intelligence for policymakers to use in decision-making and action. The goal of the intelligence cycle is to produce timely, usable intelligence. The production cycle is in essence the intelligence cycle, with five constituent parts of directing, collecting, processing and exploiting, analyzing, and finally producing, disseminating, and using the intelligence. The production cycle spans months or minutes, depending on the nature of the subject matter.

Planning and direction involves management of the entire intelligence effort, from identifying the need for data to delivering an intelligence product to a consumer. It is both the beginning and the end of the cycle. It is the beginning because it involves formulating specific collection, processing, analysis, and dissemination requirements. It is the end because finished intelligence, which must support decisionmaking and action, frequently generates new information requirements.

The intelligence process is consumer-driven. That is, the entire process depends on guidance from the consumer -- the end-user -- of the intelligence. Consumers from all levels of government -- federal, state, and local -- may initiate requests for intelligence. In addition, policymakers, executives, investigators, and patrol officers usually have different information needs. Thus, the effective planning and direction of the intelligence effort requires an understanding of the needs of a variety of consumers.

... is the gathering of the raw information needed to produce finished intelligence. There are many sources of information, including open sources such as foreign broadcasts, newspapers, periodicals, and books. Open source reporting is integral to any analysis. Collection is the gathering and reporting of the raw information that is needed to produce finished intelligence. To be effective, collection should be planned, focused, and directed. There are many sources of raw information, including open sources such as governmental public records, media reports, the Internet, periodicals, and books. Although often underestimated, open source collection is important to an intelligence unit's analytical capabilities. There are also confidential sources of information. Law enforcement officers collect such information from various sources, including citizens who report crime, investigations that are conducted, and speaking with persons who participate in criminal activity. To gather this information, law enforcement officers use a variety of collection methods such as interviews, undercover work, and physical or electronic surveillance.


Processing and collation involves conversion of raw information into a form usable by analysts. This is accomplished through information management. Information management is the indexing, sorting, and organizing of raw data into files so that the information can be rapidly retrieved. For example, the processing step includes entry of data into a computer, reduction of data, collation of paper files, and other forms of information management. Effective processing and collation requires an understanding of the consumers' needs, the types of information that are being processed, the collection plan, and the analytic strategy.

... is the conversion of basic information into finished intelligence. It includes integrating, evaluating, and analyzing all available data—which is often fragmented and even contradictory—and preparing intelligence products. Analysis and production is the conversion of basic information from all sources into finished intelligence. It includes integrating, evaluating, and analyzing all available data--which is often fragmentary and even contradictory--and preparing intelligence products. In short, analysis gives additional meaning to the raw information. Analysts, who are subject-matter specialists, consider the information's reliability, validity, timeliness, and relevance. They integrate data into a coherent whole, put the evaluated information in context, and produce finished intelligence that includes assessments of events and judgments about the implications of the information for consumers. Intelligence and analysis units may devote their resources to producing strategic intelligence for policymakers and executives, providing operational intelligence to continuing investigations, or making available tactical intelligence for an immediate law enforcement need. These important functions are performed by monitoring current crime and non-crime events, warning decision makers about actual and potential threats to public safety and order, and forecasting developments in the area of criminal activity.

The last step, which logically feeds into the first, is the distribution of the finished intelligence to the consumers -- the same consumers whose needs initiated the intelligence requirements. These recipients of finished intelligence then make decisions or take action based on the intelligence that has been provided. This step should also include an opportunity for feedback, to assess the value of the intelligence that has been provided. The decisions, actions, and feedback may lead to the levying of more information requirements, thus triggering the intelligence cycle once again.

George F. Kennan said in 1997 “that the need by our government for secret intelligence has been vastly overrated. I would say that something upwards of 95% of what we need to know about foreign countries could very well be obtained by the careful and competent study of sources of information open and available to us in the rich library & archival holdings of this country.”


The al-Qaeda Jihad Training Manual

The one gathering public information should be a regular person (trained college graduate) who examines primary sources of information published by the enemy (newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, etc.)

The one gathering information with this public method is not exposed to any danger whatsoever. Any brother can gather information from those aforementioned sources. We cannot label that brother a 'Moslem Spy' because he does not make any effort to obtain unpublished and covert information.

Secret Sources: It is possible, through these secret and dangerous methods, to obtain the 20% of information that is considered secret.

The most important of these sources are:

A. Individuals who are recruited as either volunteers or because of other motives
B. Recording and monitoring
C. Photography
D. Interrogation
E. Documents: By burglary or recruitment of personnel
F. Drugging
G. Surveillance, spying, and observation.


The Intelligence Cycle must start with the collection of information, operational leads, etc. from all sources including local law enforcement, local government, local community and the private business sector. The community must have a 24 hr/7 day a week hot line that it can report suspicious activities on and an Operational Center that can handle the reports and start the Intelligence Cycle.

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