Intelligence Collection and Analysis

Intelligence Collection and Analysis

When dealing with issues of intelligence with regards to terror attacks, the United States has to invest proper resources. The resources include people and infrastructure as well as finances. The resources in this case involve training the personnel to collect the data on the ground. It is crucial for the security and intelligence bodies of the United States to ensure that they apply both convergent and divergent thinking methods. The convergent thinking is where a large amount of information is collected and the key point is reached by eliminating the pieces of information that are less useful. Divergent thinking on the other hand is where one piece of information leads to the understanding of another piece of information up until the whole concept is made complete. This can be applied in infiltrating the terror group by starting with earning the trust of the junior members who then introduce the informant to the senior members all the way to the top officials of the group.

The data collection programs that would be applicable in this case is the Intelligence Collection. There is the Human Intelligence (HUMINT) method of collection of intelligence and data. The human intelligence as a source of data that is collected from people. (Mayer, 2016) This type of data is usually in the form of eye witness accounts or knowledge of events. The agencies that require and collect intelligence are usually fashioned like normal people. They do not stand out when they need to collect data that is likely to be kept secret once they ask for it. In dealing with Al Qaeda this would be a good but tedious exercise given the rigorous process they have to go through before they join the sect. Infiltration is a process that requires patience and keenness. This is because when collecting intelligence in cases such as this, the intelligence officers have to fit in for them to access the information required. The best intelligence program required in dealing with Al Qaeda is therefore, Human Intelligence.

This type of intelligence collection requires people who can easily fit in. additionally, the people with skills need to have the intelligence required to get people on the ground so that they get information. When trying to get information on the attacks planned for the United States, the intelligence should be collected by people who can easily act the part of being terrorists. This means that people need to ensure that the members of Al Qaeda can trust them and they have to participate in some attacks so that they look and fit in their roles. It is important for a specialized force like Homeland Security Department to ensure that their agents on the ground are able to gather information in a way that the members of Al Qaeda will not be suspicious. (Collier, 2010) People who are assigned the duty of collecting intelligence are supposed to have the skills to get the most out of every opportunity. Observation skills have to be very well developed. 

The most effective strategy of analyzing intelligence would be, the Rational Choice Theory. This form of analysis gives the analysis committee information on how to manipulate the information and make meaning of it by studying human behavior. Studying the human behavior is applicable in this instance because the perpetrators of attacks in the United States are people. The terrorists often have training to enable them to fit into a normal society so that thy execute attacks that are of large magnitudes. The ability to camouflage into the normal society is a skill that needs training and passion for the job. This means that when collecting intelligence, the people assigned to this task are thoroughly trained. (Pious, 2004)The Goals and objectives are the most important points when starting such kind of an analysis. This type of analysis has to have objectives so that the analysts know what to look for in the data they have. Working with people is a tough job because people can easily pretend and fake personalities. When looking at the goals and objectives of collecting intelligence, he informants always have to give information that is as accurate as possible. The Rational Choice theory is mainly used for the purposes of defense. In this case it would be applicable for the United States to use the rational choice theory to create a defense system that will prevent and reduce the impact of terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda. 

The Red Team analysis is a system that requires the analyst to think like a terrorist. This entails thinking of the most appropriate places to launch attacks. An analyst in the United States should be able to use the information supplied by the informants to create security checks where appropriate. The informants and the analysts have to create a working relationship so that no details are lost during communication. (Johnston, 2005)This is because the communication is usually conducted very discreetly. The United Sates has to ensure that they have plans for protecting their informants against harm by the terrorist group. It is important for the analysts using the Red Cell method to have enough field experience. This will enable them to identify the places that would be more prone to terrorist attacks and design methods of securing them. This is especially important for the United States to secure the safety of her citizens against terror. At the same time, this form of analysis is likely to point the intelligence officers to the places where Al Qaeda converges to plan attacks. Getting access to the base of the group would be easy for an informant who fits the description of the group members. This would mean that they can easily be destabilized and there would be no attacks against the United States when the groups is not united.

There is no single best method in dealing with trained and equipped terror groups like Al Qaeda. This is because the terror groups like Al Qaeda create their organizations in a way that will be difficult for the intelligence teams to detect an impending attack. The intelligence forces take into consideration the fact that the terrorists can possibly be more developed and advanced in technology because they adapt anything that works for them regardless of the cost. (Johnston, 2005)The Human Intelligence method of collecting data and information is important for the purposes of creating strong defense systems for the country. The Human Intelligence method is most applicable for getting information from groups like Al Qaeda. This is specially so because the group is made of people and their ideologies. There are many ways for the terror groups to ensure that they can easily fit into a society and launch a planned attack. This is made possible in areas where they know that the intelligence bodies are not hands on and suspicious of attacks in such areas. This means that the intelligence collection personnel have to anticipate that the terrorists may want to direct their attacks in this areas. An intelligence collection body cannot afford to deny their short comings because such a move would be lethal.

The Human Intelligence method of collecting information goes hand in hand with the Red Cell analysis method combined with aspects of the Rational Choice Theory. These three strategies combined are likely to prevent the Al Qaeda militia group from launching an attack on the United States. This is because their plans will always be leaked to the United States Government. (Mayer, 2016) This can be done by the informants supplying the government with information about the plans and the goals of the group. For instance; the group may still be planning to launch an attack to revenge the death of their leader, Osama. This would mean that many government buildings and property may be targeted for the attacks. Further, the terrorists are likely to attack the places where the government has protected using expansive resources. They are likely to launch an attack that will show the government that their power is limited. Following this train of thought the intelligence collection agencies will have starting points. They will then use people to collect information and intelligence which will then be used in creating defense for the United States against the United States.

The analysis methods have to be merged in a way that leaves no loopholes for the terror group to get past. It is important that in this case, the terrorists do not come to the realization that they are being watched and spied on. The knowledge may cause them to act more discreetly and make it more difficult for the intelligence units to prevent attacks. (Johnston, 2005)The terror groups should also never find out who their informants are. This is because being discovered is often a direct ticket to death for the informant and most likely a new plan for the attacks. When the attacks are not stopped as close to the end of the corporation as possible, they have a chance of regrouping and changing their ideas. For the safety of the United States, the intelligence units have to be vigilant and always ready to act fast to protect the people of the United States. For units like the Department of Homeland Security, they have to ensure that all borders are secure so that no attacks come from the outside of the United States. The FBI and CIA overlap in their roles of protecting the United States form both external and internal attacks. This means that the three units working together can prevent serious terror attacks by the AL Qaeda. 

To conclude, it is important for the intelligence units to operate in the fashion that Al Qaeda would operate. This entails using the Red Cell method to understand the ideology of the terrorists and their reasoning. Going this far in infiltrating the terror group means that the informants have to be experts. They have to ensure they are not discovered for the benefit of the people of the United States. The expertise has to extend further to their accuracy and precision in collecting and transmitting the data. Accuracy in disrupting the terrorists’ plans is all that matters for the success of the units. The success of these operations have always depended on the ability of the people undertaking them. 


Collier, M. (2010). Intelligence Analysis: A 9/11 Case Study. In Praeger Security International. Santa Barbara, CA: Homeland Security and Intelligence.

Johnston, R. (2005). Analytic culture in the U.S. intelligence community: An ethnographic study. Retrieved from Central Intelligence Agency:

Mayer, M. (2016, June). Ehanced Human Intelligence is Key to Defeating Terrorists. Retrieved from American Enterprise Institute:

Pious, R. M. (2004). What’s wrong with rational choice? Retrieved from

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