Characteristics of a Good HUMINT Collector Part 4: Processing
Processing is where the information is taken and put into a useable format. Comments and notes written in a steno pad are organized in picked through for useful information and put into a coherent format they are then typed up and put into a report and submitted to higher echelons. In this stage, a collector will have taken detailed notes and be able to put them into a report using plain language while getting all the information into the report. It seems pretty simple and it really is. An effective source operator will be able to get his point across and more importantly highlight why it matters. This is low level analysis not to be confused with the analysis and production stage. This will be accomplished, not only in reporting, but also in verbally briefing consumers.
In terms of things transparent to the consumer, that is to say stuff that happens behind the scenes, contact reports, source data, etc will all have to be completed properly and filled out in detail so that when a decision is made to recruit a source, there is enough of a paper trail to justify doing so.
At this stage, the most effective HUMINT operators will have strong verbal and written communication skills. They will also be able to understand where the information they acquire fits into the operations of their primary consumer and be able to approach it from that angle when presenting it. They will also require confident public speaking skills. Behind the curtain, they will be able to manage case files and have good organizational skills and attention to detail as well as practicing proper security procedures to prevent compromising a source.