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Discussion Covert Action And Intelligence

Read/review the following resources for this activity:

While gathering intelligence is key in the process, the analysis of the data is what provides the players with the answers as to how to use the material. 

Initial Post
Using a current issue in intelligence you find in the news or open source material from the library, what training is needed and how would you analyze that issue? Consider what is required to understand the intelligence needed, how to gather the intelligence, and finally, how to analyze the information. 

Secondary Posts
Read postings provided by your instructor or fellow students. Read and respond to the conclusions drawn by your classmates. Remember to read the feedback to your own major postings and reply throughout the week. 

Writing Requirements

  • In addition to one initial post, respond to at least two peers.
  • Initial Post Length: minimum of 250 words
  • Secondary Post Length: minimum of 200 words per post
  • Using APA format, provide at least one citation with corresponding references page and use appropriate in-text citation(s) referring to the academic concept for the initial post. 

Grading and Assessment
Meeting the minimum number of posting does not guarantee an A; you must present an in-depth discussion of high quality, integrate sources to support your assertions, and refer to peers’ comments in your secondary posts to build on concepts. 

This activity will be graded using the Discussion Forum Grading Rubric.

Learning Outcome(s): 1, 3, 4, 5
1.   Assess the theoretical effectiveness of intelligence and covert action with regard to analyzing governmental structure and national security policy.
3.   Define the U.S. Intelligence Community.
4.   List the different kinds of intelligence and examine how it is gathered.
5.   Examine the history and structure of U.S. intelligence. 

POL341 Covert Action and Intelligence Week 3 Lecture 3 Analysis – Part 2


Question the Source

Historical Reporting

Credibility Analysis

List of Motivations

Technology Limitations

Who is talking, what is their relationship (Husb-Wife, Guys at the Gym)

Tradecraft Rule 2: Question the Source

Tradecraft Rule 3: Remove Biases


Tradecraft Rule 3: Remove Biases


Focus groups


Trend analysis




Game theoretical approaches


Ratio analysis

Cost analysis

Spread sheets

Devil’s advocate


Statistical analysis

Scenario analysis

Signal Analysis and Early Warning Analysis

Power analysis (or Follow the Money)



Link Analysis

Network Analysis

Data Mining

Timeline Analysis

Transaction Analysis

Telephone Analysis

Other Analytical Methods

Spreadsheets, Databases, Tools. Recall, all the tech gear that delivers guidance, info needs, processing, analyzing, within a classified process, must talk to each other and be sharable. This is a large problem. This is structural stovepiping, or system driven, vice personality driven.


Just because it is in a computer or database, or on the web, doesn’t mean its credible or true

QUESTION the credibility of every piece of information

“Garbage In, Garbage Out”

Using Computers and Databases

Build~ Build
Rogue StateAttack$60B $5B+G$1Tr $5B+G
~ Attack$60B 00 0

Prisoner’s Dilemma: Logic

Mirror-Imaging: They will do what you think is rational

Groupthink: Everybody else thinks X will happen, the tallest nail is hammered first…

Competitive Analysis: Protection of Info and loss of objectivity as individuals and orgs are pitted against each other

Collaborative Analysis: Any problems?

Stovepiping: Systematic and Personality (Tech, Comp Analysis, Secrecy Needs)

Analytical Barriers

Intel trying to make policy

Policy trying to perform intel

Conclusion-based analysis

Politicized Intelligence


Tradecraft Rule 4: Deliver to Your Customer

Know your customer and need (e.g. Tactical or Strategic)

Write for tailored reuse

Products must be discoverable by those who need them

Tradecraft essential, not expendable

Timely electronic dissemination is always the goal

Train to think of customers inclusively

National Intelligence Estimate

Tailored to President’s wishes

The President’s Daily Briefing (PDB)

Tailored to presidents wishes

Senior Executive Intelligence Brief (SEIB)

Daily CIA newspaper

Senior Executive & Military Officials and Legislate oversight

Top Down Delivery Products

These are the collective and collaborative work of the community.


Intelligence not only has to train new recruits but also to educate its customers. This is a formidable task because the latter, at a more advanced age, are very busy people, sure of their own judgment […]. They have to be convinced of what intelligence can, and what it cannot, achieve. — Walter Lacquer, Intelligence Scholar

Policy and Intel

Sherman Kent – Analyst 3 Wishes:

Know Everything (All Source Analysis)

Be Believed

Influence Policy for the Good

You Get Three Wishes




Confident (Confidence Levels)


Admit Product shortcomings

Understand your products and your own inherent biases


Preserve Your Credibility


Call to Action

Calculate Price

Price (USD)