Clandestine HUMINT

Clandestine HUMINT (HUMan INTelligence) includes a wide range of espionage sources. This includes the classic spy (called, by professionals, asset or agent) who collects intelligence, but also couriers and other personnel, who handle their secure communications. Other support personnel include access agents who may arrange the contact between the potential spy, and the case officer who recruits them. In some cases, the recruiter and the continuing supervision of the agent may be different people. Large espionage networks may be composed of multiple levels of spies, support personnel, and supervisors. Espionage networks are usually organized on a cell system, where each clandestine operator knows the people in his own cell, perhaps the external case officer, and an emergency method, not necessarily a person, to contact higher levels if the case officer or cell leader is captured, but has no knowledge of people in other cells.

Espionage involves a human being obtaining (i.e., using human intelligence (HUMINT) methods) information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, and the legitimate holder of the information may change plans or take other countermeasures once it is known that the information is in unauthorized hands. See the articles such Clandestine HUMINT operational techniques and Clandestine HUMINT asset recruiting for discussions of the "tradecraft" used to collect this information.

HUMINT is in a constant battle with counterintelligence, and the relationship can become very blurry, as one side tries to "turn" agents of the other into reporting to the other side. Recruiters can run false flag operations, where a citizen of country A believes they are providing intelligence to country B, when they are actually providing it to country C.

Unlike other forms of intelligence collection disciplines, espionage usually involves accessing the place where the desired information is stored, or accessing the people who know the information and will divulge it through some kind of subterfuge. There are exceptions to physical meetings, such as the Oslo Report, or the insistence of Robert Hanssen in never meeting the people to whom he was selling information.

This article does not cover military units that penetrate deep between enemy lines, but generally in uniform, to conduct special reconnaissance. Such military units can be on the border of the line, in international law, which defines them as spies, if they conduct information in civilian clothes. In some circumstances, the uniformed personnel may act in support to the actual agents, providing communications, transportation, financial, and other support. Yet another discipline is covert operations, where personnel, uniformed or not, may conduct raids, sabotage, assassinations, propaganda (i.e., psychological operations), etc.

Read more about Clandestine HUMINTLegal Aspects, Major HUMINT Organizations, Penetrations of Foreign Targets By People Loyal To Their Own Country, Human Sources Who Changed Allegiance

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Clandestine HUMINT Operational Techniques
... The Clandestine HUMINT page deals with the functions of that discipline, including espionage and active counterintelligence ... This page deals with Clandestine HUMINT operational techniques, also called "tradecraft" ... It applies to clandestine operations for espionage, and for a clandestine phase prior to direct action (DA) or unconventional warfare (UW) ...

Famous quotes containing the word clandestine:

    There is all the difference in the world between the criminal’s avoiding the public eye and the civil disobedient’s taking the law into his own hands in open defiance. This distinction between an open violation of the law, performed in public, and a clandestine one is so glaringly obvious that it can be neglected only by prejudice or ill will.
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