Intelligence Cycle Essay

Analysis of the Elements of the Intelligence Cycle Essay

2246 Words9 Pages

Minor Assignment

• Analyse the elements of the ‘Intelligence Cycle’. What are its core strengths and weaknesses?

Before I begin to analyse the elements of the Intelligence Cycle, I must begin with the definition of ‘Intelligence’.

Throughout my research, it became apparent that the acceptance for an accurate definition of ‘Intelligence’ is still an issue to date. One reason could be because experts tend to view ‘intelligence’ through their own specialty, and would be fair to say that this could possibly be because officers within the intelligence community do not have strong bridges connecting them to each other or to policy makers, which would therefore enhance communication and sharing practices of raw findings and improve…show more content…

The phases of the intelligence process include identifying the requirement or direction, collecting information through its various disciplines, processing and exploitation, analysis and production, dissemination and feedback.

Throughout my findings more weaknesses and flaws of the intelligence cycle elements were much more apparent than strengths. In theory, the cycle indicates that the elements flow in a cyclical order, but this is indeed inaccurate, as the cycle does not always flow in one direction or in a cycle as it indicates it does. For example, it can move back and forth between collection and analysis before moving on for the processing and exploitation stage where the most resources and time is used. It is also possible that information collected could end up going back to the requirement stage for policy makers to present a new direction requirement and or more information.

The intelligence cycle is, nevertheless, of significant value to intelligence and learning about it in theory assists those entering the intelligence business, because it provides insight into the processes, as well as being able to recognise it’s weaknesses in order to focus on building on strengths for the future of effective and efficient intelligence.

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Intelligence Process: Dissemination

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One of the most important steps in the intelligence cycle is deciding who or whom will receive the analyst’s work. This process is called dissemination. Once completed, the intelligence product has to be able to be passed on to those personnel that meet the requirements of dissemination; Right to know, Need to know, Authority to release.
     The first requirement of the right to know determines what individuals should have the information to make intelligence decisions. Access to the final products is mainly focus towards law enforcement agencies, both federal and state. These agencies are, however, not the exclusive heir to information. In some cases the Department of Family Services may need to have information on civilians in order to locate offenders or deal with juvenile delinquents. The right to know may also be extended to licensing groups, in order to stifle organized crime. Some examples of non-authorized industries are banks, credit bureaus, and employment agencies.
     The need to know is the second requirement of the dissemination process. Whether part of the law enforcement agency or working outside of the agency, before intelligence information is disclosed, there must be a need to know based on the case that law official may be working on. This requirement keeps just anyone from casually browsing through all the classified information that may not pertain to what they have the right to know. The information-seeking agency will need to have proof of needing to know the information, found generally by the case number. Another form of need to know is observed when a background investigation is being conducted on an individual.
     Once the first two requirements have been satisfied and the right to know and need to know has been established, it is now necessary to determine whether the right to release information to the agency is possible. Many times the information or intelligence may not be possible to release, due to the originating agencies need to have the information keep a secret from the everyone, for example, an undercover agents identity was disclosed. Historically, information is classified at a higher level than necessary, so personnel in this type of circumstance are not compromised. If this is the case, than a date should be disclosed as to when this information may be declassified or downgraded to the consumers level.
     There are two general methods of dissemination. The first type is a distribution list.

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"Intelligence Process: Dissemination." 10 Mar 2018

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This type of dissemination is used when it is well known that outside agencies has the right and need to know. The releasing agency has the authority to release the information based on a pending or on-going investigation. The second type of dissemination is based on an inquiry for the intelligence information and of course will have the right and need to know.
     Within an agency there are two uses of disseminated information: Tactical and Strategic Intelligence. Tactical intelligence is used primarily for short-term investigations and the information is only temporarily used. Strategic intelligence is more of a long-term investigation, and information will be needed for longer periods of time in order to build an entire scenario.
     Spot reports are often used and can be either written or oral. These types of reports are short in nature, but will always cover four main categories: Purpose, Factual analysis, Conclusion, and Action statement. The purpose of the report is the basic reason of why it is needed and who needs it. The factual analysis is the actual analytical summary of the information collected. The conclusion will give a general summary based on what the information-seeking agency requested. The action statement is at least one recommendation based upon what was discovered or analyzed.
     When disseminating information outside of the intelligence-gathering agency, there are more controlled rules. The outside agency sometimes has to agree not to give out classified information based up the possibility of compromising another agencies position or investigation. The only exception would occur if there were a necessity to disclose the classified report to protect against loss of life, physical injury, or loss of property. Rewriting or summarizing the information without source identification can compromise the information.
     One of the most important factors that statewide agencies sometimes fail to realize is that the intelligence that is collected, no matter how small a discovery it may be, could be utilized by federal agencies to build a broader picture in an investigation. With statewide agencies compiling information and making it accessible to federal authorities, the intelligence could be drawn into one large criminal investigation; for example, a crime ring that spans across multiple State lines.
     A record of dissemination should also be kept to keep control of the information or to have a contact list of agencies in a case of mis-information that may need to be corrected. This will also give the producing agency a chance to be able to contact the outside agencies to find out the usefulness of the product consumed.
     The dissemination process is not a very complicated step if it is utilized properly. It allows for mistakes and a way to correct them. The most important piece of the dissemination step in my opinion is finding out who has the need to know the information and then ensuring that they have the right to know what is being given to them by the releasing authority. Without some kind of control, like the dissemination rules, information on investigations and covert operations could be viewed by any personnel within the agency, and could compromise or endanger lives.

Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2000.

CT: Praeger Publishers, 1998. (Chap III)

ELEMENTS. Sacramento, CA: LEIU, 2000. (Chap 8)

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