Raw intelligence is raw data gathered by an intelligence operation, such as espionage or signal interception. Such data commonly requires processing and analysis to make it useful and reliable. To turn the raw intelligence into a finished form, the steps required may include decryption, translation, collation, evaluation and confirmation.
In the period after the First World War, British practise was to circulate raw intelligence with little analysis or context. Such direct intelligence was a strong influence on policy-makers. Churchill was especially keen to see raw intelligence and was supplied this by Desmond Morton during his period outside the government. When Churchill became Prime Minister in 1940, he still insisted on receiving raw intelligence and wanted it all until it was explained that the volume was now too great. A selection of daily intercepts was provided to him each day by Bletchley Park and he called these his “golden eggs”.
US intelligence has a different tradition from the British. The key event for the US was the failure to prevent the attack on Pearl Harbor and the inquiries which followed concluded that this was not due to the lack of raw intelligence so much as the failure to make effective use of it. The Central Intelligence Agency was created to collate, analyse and summarise the raw intelligence collected by the other departments. US agencies which focus on the collection of raw intelligence include the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Security Agency.
- ^Clark, J. Ransom (2007), Intelligence and National Security: A Reference Handbook, Greenwood, p. 47, ISBN 9780275992989, ISSN 1932-295X
- ^“Intelligence Branch”. fbi.gov. Raw intelligence is often referred to as “the dots”—individual pieces of information disseminated individually. Finished intelligence reports “connect the dots” by putting information in context and drawing conclusions about its implications.
- ^Phythian, Mark (18 July 2013). Understanding the Intelligence Cycle. Raw intelligence reports generally include what the collector thinks the analyst needs to know from the source; however, processing the raw intelligence often throws up gaps, ambiguities, uncertainties and conflicts in the raw reporting.
- ^Oseth, John M. (1985), Regulating U.S. Intelligence Operations, University Press of Kentucky, p. 12, ISBN 9780813115344
- ^ Jump up to:ab Jeffrey, Keith (1987), A. Robertson (ed.), “British Military Intelligence Following World War I”, British and American Approaches to Intelligence, Springer, pp. 55–84, ISBN 9781349084180
- ^ Jump up to:ab c Andrew, Christopher (2012), Michael I. Handel (ed.), “Churchill and Intelligence”, Leaders and Intelligence, Routledge, p. 181, ISBN 9781136287169
- ^Davies, Philip (2002), “Ideas of intelligence: Divergent National Concepts and Institutions”, Harvard International Review, 24 (3): 62–66