Kit Perez has started a new intelligence series over at American Partisan. The first installment is The Myth of Intelligence, Part 1: Planning and Direction. In part one, she explains the difference between information and intelligence and explains the intelligence cycle.
What is intelligence? Answering that question is slightly more difficult than you might think. You’ll often hear the word used in regard to information of all types, and from all kinds of sources. You’ll see the term tossed around in social media groups, at rallies, and in various patriot groups. People talk about “intel,” but what they really mean is “information.” People often believe that raw information is intelligence — and that’s a pretty pervasive myth. Information is NOT intelligence, and if you don’t know the difference, you’re cutting yourself and your group short.
The distinction between information and intelligence isn’t semantics, and it’s not a small thing. In fact, some people use the word “intelligence” to cover their hunches, gut feelings, and even gossip they’ve heard about someone or some situation. To put it bluntly, gossip is not intel, and information means nothing until it is converted to intelligence. Knowing a piece of data doesn’t do you any good unless that information is processed INTO intelligence. If you know something, it’s not intelligence unless you can do something with it; it needs to be actionable. And no, passing it on to someone else is not considered action.
The Intelligence Cycle
The point of intelligence is to set up a stage for action. Information answers questions like Where, When, How, Why, or What, but intelligence does so with a view for what you should do next. It’s not enough to know something; you need to know what to do with it. That’s where the intelligence process comes into play.
The parts of the intelligence cycle are as follows: