A DEFINITION OF INTELLIGENCE

Created: 9/1/1958

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STUDIES IN

INTELLIGENCE

A colkclion ol articles on tho historical, operational, doctrinal, and theoretical aspects ot inieB-gence,

i

All statements of fact, opinion or analysis expressed in Studies in Intelligence are those of

the authors. They do not necessarily reflect official positions or views of the Central Intelligence Agency or any other US Government entity, past or present. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying US Government endorsement of an amde's factual statements and interpretations.

A recent article inecond attempt to sortangled concept.

A DEFINITION OF INTELLIGENCE Martin T. Blmfort

rief definition of soerm asIs likeicroscopic portraitontinent, and the product of this effort is likely to have less value than the process of arriving at It, the reexamination of our ownas we seek to pinpoint the essentials of the concept. Yet misunderstandings within and without the intelligenceoften result from incompatible understandings of the meaning of the word infeUipence. Moreover, the assignment and coordination of functions, responsibilities, andamong the members of the community must rest upon an agreed interpretation of this word In the laws and directives which govern our work.

Definitions carefully formulated by intelligence expertsbut all seem deficient In one respect or another, theremains as sprawling and thornyriar patchtends to view the term through the spectacles ofMilitary Intelligence officers speak of enemiesof operation, defining operationilitary actioncarrying outilitary mission. The collectors ofare Inclined to regard Its further processing asofatter of arrangement and decoration.handlers tend to lose sight of the end In the wild woodmeans. The producers of finished intelligence,cloth far from the smell of sheep dip, are likely toboth the raw materials and the methods by winchobtained. Like the services within the Intelligencethese specialists within services need commonas bridges towarddefinition recently proposed by R. A. Random1 Is here com-

pared with three others. After discussing them we shall, with human temerity, propose yet another.

'Int*ni*raoetudies tn IntelUotntX, Vol J,. page ?t

A Definition of Intelligence

)

"Intelligence.alning or dispensing ofparticularly secret Information; also, theengaged In obtaining Information; secret service."

of United States Mtlitary Terms for Jointof

"Intelligencethe product resulting from the collection, evaluation, analysis, integration, and interpretation of all available information which concerns one or more aspects of foreign nations or of areas of operation and which ia immediately or potentially significant to planning.*'

Training Handbook

"Intelligence--The product resulting from the collection, evaluation, collation, interpretation, [and] analysis of all available information concerning the intentions,and objectives of other countries which are significantovernment's development and execution of plana, policies, decisions, and courses of action."

Random

'Intelligence is the official, secret collection andof Information on foreign countries to aid Inand Implementing foreign policy, and the conduct of covert activities abroad to facilitate theof foreign policy."

onsider Intelligenceroductecognize that intelligence isrocess, but they contain other inadequacies. All four omita deficiency which Is like that entailed Inan automobile in terms of Ita motor without reference to Its bumpers or brakes-Webster's definition Is clearly not exclusive enough for our purposes. There is much obtaining and dispensing ofeven secret Information, which has nothing to do with Intelligence as we use tbe term. The second and thirdlist whole series of overlapping concepts In an effort to include everything, yet exclude the essential concept of process. With Webster, they likewise Ignore not onlybut also political action and covert propaganda, although

A Definition of Intelligence

A Definition ol Intelligence

which Intelligence takes to protect its activities and products. Adding this element to our definition, we rest our caseriad (positive intelligence, political action,with threefold application (to process, to product, to agency).

Intelligence is the collecting and processing of thatabout foreign countries and their agents which is neededovernment for its foreign policy and for national security, the conduct of non-attributable activities abroad lo facilitate the Implementation of foreign policy, and the protection of both process and product, as well as persons and organizationswith these, against unauthorized disclosure.

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