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Information Evaluation by Philippe Capet, Thomas Delavallade

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Chapter 3

The Fundamentals of Intelligence

3.1. Introduction

Information evaluation has always been a concern for intelligence agencies – particularly those in the field of military defense. While the concept of intelligence is not a new one, it is one about which there is very little theory. The same is true of the activity of intelligence, which is often conflated with the activity of the special services.

The contemporary definition of the term “intelligence” has been influenced by the military phenomenon and contemporary conflicts. Hollywood, in its depictions of competitive intelligence, has only picked up on espionage, which is more easily conveyed through media than the background work and reflection that is the counterpart to espionage, hidden beneath the surface.

Historically, in the military domain, conducting and preparing for a war requires us to try and crack the secrets of an adversary who was sometimes several days’ travel away, who speaks a different language and looks like a foreigner. In addition, we need to steal information because usually, there is precious little information in circulation, and the task of gathering it – essentially a human task – is a very difficult one. “Human” espionage is commonplace, and can use any necessary ploy, including manipulation. This has earned the discipline a somewhat negative connotation – particularly in France, which we shall use as a case study throughout this chapter.

Very recently, in 2008, the topic of intelligence ...

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