Table of Contents
FM2-22-3 Human Intelligence Collector Operations is a US Army Field Manual providing doctrine and guidance to human intelligence collectors (35M MOS), also formerly known as Interrogators (97E).
It provides information on how to collect information from individuals and tactics for questioning and building relationships. Below you will see some information on this topic.
HUMINT Support, Planing and Management
- HUMINT is the collection of information by a trained HUMINT collector
- HUMINT source is a person from whom information can be obtained.
The source may either possess first- or second-hand knowledge normally
obtained through sight or hearing
- HUMINT collector is a person who is specifically trained and certified for, tasked with, and engages in the collection of information from individuals
- Tactical questioning is expedient initial questioning for information of
immediate tactical value
- Screening is the process of identifying and assessing the areas of knowledge, cooperation, and possible approach techniques for an individual who has information of intelligence value
- Interrogation is the systematic effort to procure information to answer specific collection requirements by direct and indirect questioning techniques of a person who is in the custody of the forces conducting the questioning
- Debriefing is the process of questioning cooperating human sources to
satisfy intelligence requirements, consistent with applicable law. The source
usually is not in custody and usually is willing to cooperate
- DOCEX (Document Exploitation) operations are the systematic extraction (and document exploitation) of information from open, closed, published, and electronic source documents
Phases of HUMINT Collection
- Planning and Preparation – conducts research and planning
- Approach – Establishes conditions of control and rapport
- Questioning – Collects information from asset
- Termination – Completes questioning session
- Reporting – Writes or dictates reports
Traits of a HUMINT Collector
- Alertness – concentrate on information being provided; evaluate body language and veracity of collected information
- Patience and Tact – It takes patience and tact to create and maintain rapport between the HUMINT collector and their source
- Credibility – Both with the source (as a person of authority) and with users of collected HUMINT
- Objectivity and Self-control – Necessary to correctly evaluate information and maintain the initiative during questioning
- Adaptability – To vary questioning techniques and respond to different personalities
- Perseverance – To aggressively pursue the objective or follow other links
- Appearance and Demeanor – To demonstrate strength and efficiency, and make assets more responsive to questioning
- Initiative – To continue to direct the questioning towards the desired information
Required Areas of Knowledge
The area of operations (AO) including the social, political, and
economic institutions; geography; history; language; and culture of the
- All current and potential threat forces
- Applicable law and policy
- The collection requirements, including all specific information
requirements (SIRs) and indicators that will lead to the answering of
the intelligence requirements
- Cultural awareness
- Proficiency in the target language (see articles on learning Arabic, Spanish, French)
- Understanding basic human behavior
- Neurolinguistics is a behavioral communication model and a set of procedures that improve communication skills by reacting to non-verbal behavior
Limitations of HUMINT
- Interpersonal abilities
- Identification of knowledgeable sources
- Limited numbers of HUMINT collectors
- Time limitations
- Language limitations
- Legal obligations
- Timely reporting and immediate access to sources
This chapter is mostly on the HUMINT collector’s role in the Big Army. Since this is less relevant it has been skipped.
HUMINT in Support of Army Operations
- In urban operations, people (for example, detainees and civilians) are
the preeminent source of information. They collect information on, for example:
- Floor plans,
- Defensive plans
- Locations of combatants and noncombatants, including civilians in the
buildings and surrounding neighborhoods
- Other information
HUMINT Operations Process
- Four tasks: Plan, Prepare, Execute, Assess
- HUMINT planning defines collection objectives, when to collect it, and
which resources will be tasked to do the collection
- Preparing involves writing up a questioning plan and conducting a risk assessment
- Execute involves the questioning and collection of information
- Assessment is the evaluation of the questioning
HUMINT Collection (Questioning)
Human Source Contact Operations
- The basic goal of all levels of contact is to collect information in response to collection tasking; however, only under certain conditions can HUMINT collectors task contacts to get information for them
- Three levels of contact:
- One-time – The one-time contact is a source of information of value that was, and will be, encountered only once. In addition to the information obtained from the contact, the HUMINT collector should try to obtain basic information (name, occupation, address, etc.) for vetting/analysis
- Continuous Contact – individuals who have been identified as having more information than could be obtained through a one-time contact, and have been met again by HUMINT collection personnel for the purpose of collecting additional information. HUMINT collectors do not task continuous contacts, but they can be sensitized in the same way as one-time contacts
- Formal contact – Formal contacts are individuals who have agreed to meet and cooperate with HUMINT collectors for the purpose of providing information.
- Systematic questioning, deception detection techniques, and cross
checking of information are used extensively in the evaluation process
- On occasion, the HUMINT collector may determine that a one-time contact has the potential to become a continuous contact or a formal contact. This is referred to as a developmental lead.
- A one-time source cannot be tasked to collect information, but can be sensitized to information in which the HUMINT collector is interested.
- Local national and third-country national employees can be a prolific source of information about local attitudes and events, particularly in a restrictive environment where US contact with the local population is curtailed
- Displaced Persons and refugees are excellent sources of information about denied areas and can be used to help identify threat agents and infiltrators
- Formal contacts are generally local nationals or third-country national
employees. Knowledge of their meeting with HUMINT collectors is restricted.
This can be accomplished by either disguising the fact that the HUMINT
collection personnel are indeed HUMINT personnel, or by concealing the
purpose of overt meetings with HUMINT personnel
- Debriefing operations are conducted under the guidelines of
DIAM 58-11 (S//NF) and DIAM 58-12 (S//NF).
- For further guidance on collecting and reporting
biographic intelligence, see DIAM 58-12 (S//NF).
- As it applies to HUMINT operations, screening is the process of evaluating and selecting human sources and documents for the prioritized collection of information based on the collection requirements and mission of the unit conducting the screening
- The source normally is assigned a standard screening code. The screening code is an alphanumeric designation that reflects the level of cooperation expected from the source and the level of knowledgeability the source may posses
- During screening, HUMINT collector screens the source (that is, asks some general questions to determine the source’s level of cooperation and knowledge). Upon receiving apositive response, the HUMINT collector may debrief the civilian on a specific topic or question him on areas of PIR interest. He then reverts to the screening role to determine other relevant knowledge
- Screening is possibly the most difficult HUMINT skill. A HUMINT collector must use his experience, questioning skill, cultural knowledge, and knowledge of human nature to decide in a matter of minutes or possibly seconds whether limited HUMINT collection assets and valuable time should be spent talking to an individual based on the way he looks and the answers to a few questions
- Physical indicators include:
- Overall appearance such as rank, insignia, and condition of the uniform and type and condition of equipment for military sources and general type and condition of dress (for example, business suit as opposed to work clothes) for civilians.
- Certain physical indicators (dress, medals such as religious medals, physical type) may be indicators that the source belongs to a specific ethnic or religious group.
- The source’s physical reactions may also indicate a willingness or lack of
willingness to cooperate. For example, does the source move forward in the
group or attempt to hide within the group; does he intentionally place himself in the wrong segregation group; or does he show any overt signs of nervousness, anxiety, or fright?
- Screeners use standard reporting formats to identify the results of
- The HUMINT collector will place the source within one of four
- Of Immediate Intelligence Interest
- Of Interest to Other Agencies
- Of Potential Interest as a Contact Source
- Of No Interest
Planning and Preparation
Developing a Questioning Plan
- The HUMINT collector must develop a plan that will guide his
questioning of the source.
- Topical questioning is used when time is a prime concern, when the source is believed to possess key information in a limited area, when the questioning is concerning a technical topic, or when the source has been talked to previously and this is a subsequent questioning to expand on earlier topics
- Chronological questioning normally is used when the HUMINT collector is uncertain of the areas of source knowledge, when time is not a factor in questioning, during initial questioning when the source is believed to have knowledge on a large number of topics, and in friendly force mission debriefing
Approach Techniques and Termination Strategies
- During the approach phase, the HUMINT collector establishes the conditions of control and rapport to facilitate information collection
- At the initial contact, a businesslike relationship should be maintained.
- Sources will cooperate with the HUMINT collector for various reasons ranging from patriotic duty to personal gain, such as material gifts or money. They may also respond to emotion or logic. (See Recruiting Intelligence Assets with RASCLS for the strategy used with long-term contacts.)
- Regardless of the type of source and his outward personality, every source possesses exploitable characteristics that, if recognized by the HUMINT collector, can be used to facilitate the collection process.
- Behavioural elements, people tend to:
- Want to talk when they are under stress and respond to kindness and understanding during trying circumstances
- Show deference when confronted by superior authority
- Operate within a framework of personal and culturally derived values
- Respond to physical and, more importantly, emotional self-interest
- Fail to apply or remember lessons they may have been taught regarding security if confronted with a disorganized or strange situation
- Be more willing to discuss a topic about which the HUMINT collector
demonstrates identical or related experience or knowledge.
- Appreciate flattery and exoneration from guilt.
- Attach less importance to a topic if it is treated routinely by the
- Resent having someone or something they respect belittled, especially
by someone they dislike
- Approaches must:
- Establish and maintain control over the source and collection effort.
This does not necessarily equate to physical control. Rather it means
that the HUMINT collector directs the conversation to cover the topics
that are of interest to him
- Establish and maintain a rapport between the HUMINT collector and
- Establish and maintain control over the source and collection effort.
Developing and Building Rapport
- The basis of rapport is source confidence in the HUMINT collector,
which leads to a willingness to cooperate. Rapport does not necessarily mean
a friendly relationship,
- Building rapport is an integral part of the approach phase. The
establishment of rapport begins when the HUMINT collector first encounters
- In using the direct approach, the HUMINT collector asks direct questions
- The HUMINT collector will continue to use direct questions as long as the source is answering the questions in a truthful manner
- Statistics from interrogation operations in World War II show that the direct approach was effective 90 percent of the time
- The effectiveness of the direct approach in Operations ENDURING FREEDOM (Afghanistan, 2001-2002) and IRAQI FREEDOM (Iraq, 2003) are still being studied; however, unofficial studies indicate that in these operations, the direct approach has been dramatically less successful
- The incentive approach is trading something that the source wants for information. The thing that you give up may be a material reward, an emotional reward, or the removal of a real or perceived negative stimulus
- The HUMINT collector should not offer anything that is not in his
power to give
- Emotional approaches are centered on how the source views himself and his interrelationships with others
- The motivating emotion may be greed, love, hate, revenge, or others. The emotion may be directed inward (feelings of pride or helplessness) or outward (love of family)
- He then links the satisfaction of these emotions to the source’s cooperation.
- Although the emotion is the key factor, an emotional approach is normally worthless without an attached incentive
- Religion is an especially difficult topic to use in any emotional approach. An approach using religion may encourage the source to be further motivated by love, remorse, futility, or even pride to cooperate with the interrogator. On the other hand, an approach using religion may also encourage the source to end any rapport and cooperation with the interrogator.
Emotional Love Approach
- Love in its many forms (friendship, comradeship, patriotism, love of family) is a dominant emotion for most people.
- The HUMINT collector focuses on the anxiety felt by the source about the circumstances in which he finds himself, his isolation from those he loves, and his feelings of helplessness. The HUMINT collector directs the love the source feels toward the appropriate object: family, homeland, or comrades.
- If the HUMINT collector can show the source what the source himself can do to alter or improve his situation or the situation of the object of his emotion, the approach has a chance of success
- The key to the successful use of this approach is to identify an action
that can realistically evoke this emotion (an incentive) that can be tied to a
detained source’s cooperation.
Emotional Hate Approach
- The emotional hate approach focuses on any genuine hate, or possibly a desire for revenge, the source may feel.
- The HUMINT collector must clearly identify the object of the source’s hate and, if necessary, build on those feelings so the emotion overrides the source’s rational side.
- The source may have negative feelings about his country’s regime, immediate superiors, officers in general, or fellow soldiers
- The emotional hate approach may be effective on members of racial or religious minorities who have or feel that they have faced discrimination in military and civilian life
- s in the emotional love approach, the key to the successful application
is the linking of the emotion with a tangible manifestation of that emotion.
- The HUMINT collector must be careful that he does not assume that
casual negative comments equate to a strong hate.
Emotional Fear Up Approach
- Fear is another dominant emotion that can be exploited by the HUMINT collector.
- In the fear-up approach, the HUMINT collector identifies a preexisting fear or creates a fear within the source.
- He then links the elimination or reduction of the fear to cooperation on the part of the source
Emotional Pride-Up and Ego-Up Approach
- The emotional-pride and ego-up approach may be used in any MSO. It exploits a source’s low self-esteem
- In this technique, the source is flattered into providing certain information in order to gain credit and build his ego.
- The HUMINT collector must take care to use a flattering somewhat-in-awe tone of voice, and speak highly of the source throughout this approach while remaining believable.
- This should produce positive feelings on the source’s part as he receives desired recognition. The source will eventually reveal pertinent information to solicit more favorable comments from the HUMINT collector
- A variation of this approach can also be used on individuals with strong
egos. It is based on the premise that everyone likes to talk about what they
do best. The HUMINT collector shows interest in and asks the source to
explain an aspect of his job. The questioning begins with nonpertinent
aspects of the source’s job. The HUMINT collector displays interest and asks
increasingly technical and pertinent question
Emotional Pride and Ego-Down Approach
- The emotional-pride and ego-down approach is based on attacking the source’s ego or self-image. The source, in defending his ego, reveals information to justify or rationalize his actions.
- The HUMINT collector accuses the source of weakness or implies he is
unable to do a certain thing
- The objective is for the HUMINT collector to use the source’s sense of pride by attacking his loyalty, intelligence, abilities, leadership qualities, slovenly appearance, or any other perceived weakness
- There is a risk associated with this approach. If the emotional-pride and ego-down approach fails, it is difficult for the HUMINT collector to recover and move to another approach without losing his credibility
We Know All
- In the “we know all” approach technique, the HUMINT collector subtly convinces the source that his questioning of the source is perfunctory because any information that the source has is already known
File and Dossier
- The file and dossier approach is a variation of the “we know all” approach.
- The HUMINT collector prepares a dossier containing all available information concerning the source or his organization.
- The information is carefully arranged within a file to give the illusion that it contains more data than actually there. The file may be padded with extra paper if necessary.
- Index tabs with titles such as education, employment, criminal record, military service, and others are particularly effective.
Establish Your Identity
- In using this approach, the HUMINT collector insists the detained source has been correctly identified as an infamous individual wanted by higher authorities on serious charges, and he is not the person he purports to be
- The repetition approach is used to induce cooperation from a hostile source
- In one variation of this approach, the HUMINT collector listens carefully to a source’s answer to a question, and then repeats the question and answer several times.
- He does this with each succeeding question until the source becomes so thoroughly bored with the procedure, he answers questions fully and candidly to satisfy the HUMINT collector and gain relief from the monotony of this method
- The rapid-fire approach is based upon the principles that everyone likes to be heard when he speaks and it is confusing to be interrupted in mid-sentence with an unrelated question
- In employing this technique, the HUMINT collectors ask a series of questions in such a manner that the source does not have time to
answer a question completely before the next one is asked.
- This confuses the source, and he will tend to contradict himself as he has little time to formulate his answers.
- The HUMINT collectors then confront the source with the inconsistencies causing further contradictions.
- In many instances, the source will begin to talk freely in an attempt to explain himself and deny the HUMINT collector’s claims of inconsistencies. In this attempt, the source is likely to reveal more than he intends, thus creating additional leads for further exploitation
- The silent approach may be successful when used against either a nervous or confident source.
- When employing this technique, the HUMINT collector says nothing to the source, but looks him squarely in the eye, preferably with a slight smile on his face.
- It is important not to look away from the source but force him to break eye contact first
Change of Scenery
- The change-of scenery approach may be used in any type of MSO to remove the source from an intimidating atmosphere such as an “interrogation” room type of setting and to place him in a setting where he feels more comfortable speaking.
- Bringing a source into a formal setting to conduct an interrogation or
debriefing has psychological implication
Mutt and Jeff
- The goal of this technique is to make the source identify with one of the interrogators and thereby establish rapport and cooperation.
- This technique involves a psychological ploy that takes advantage of the natural uncertainty and guilt that a source has as a result of being detained and questioned
- This technique is essentially “good cop, bad cop”
- The goal of this technique is to convince the detainee that individuals from a country other than the United States are interrogating him, and trick the detainee into cooperating with US forces
- The HUMINT collector needs to identify the signs that the source is
approaching or has reached the point of cooperation.
- The HUMINT collector must also be aware of the fact that a source can begin to cooperate in certain areas while continuing to resist strongly in other areas.
A source who uses counter-interrogation techniques such as delaying, trying to
control the conversation, or interrogating the HUMINT collector himself
- Be an intelligence trained soldier
- Be survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) trained
- Be a terrorist
- Have been a detainee or previously incarcerated
Approach Strategies for Elicitation
licitation is a sophisticated technique used when conventional collection techniques cannot be used effectively. Of all the collection methods, this one is the least obvious.
The key to elicitation is the establishment of a rapport between the elicitor and the source, normally based on shared interests
Two Basic Approaches
- Most people like talking about their interests and like
talking to those who are knowledgeable and interested in the same
- People also like to speak to someone who values their opinion on
- The HUMINT collector takes advantage of this. The
HUMINT collector leads the conversation into areas that he wishes to
collect but does it in such a way that it appears to the source that the
source is leading the conversation
- Above all in elicitation, the HUMINT collector plays the role of the rapt, attentive, and inquisitive listener.
- This is a more dangerous approach and, if used too early
in an operation, can alienate the source
- Once the HUMINT collector has established shared interests with the source, he can selectively challenge some of the source’s statements, encouraging the source to provide more information in support of his view
- When it is necessary or prudent, the HUMINT collector will terminate
the questioning of a particular source
- The HUMINT collector should sincerely and convincingly reinforce successful approaches. All promised incentives should be rendered.
- The source must be told the information he gave will be checked for truthfulness and accuracy. His reaction to this statement should be closely monitored
- The source must be told that the same or another individual may speak to him again. This sets the stage for future contacts
- In a debriefing, the HUMINT collector will normally ask the source not
to discuss the subject of the questioning for his own protection
General Questioning Principles
- Questions should be presented in a logical sequence to avoid neglecting
- The HUMINT collector begins the questioning phase with the first topic in the sequence he tentatively established as part of his questioning plan.
- He obtains all of the source’s pertinent knowledge in this topical area before moving on to the next topic in his sequence
- The HUMINT collector must at all times remember that his mission is the rapid collection and dissemination of accurate information.
- Direct questions are basic questions normally beginning with an interrogative (who, what, where, when, how, or why) and requiring a narrative answer. They are brief, precise, and simply worded to avoid confusion
- The HUMINT collector must be able to use the following types of direct questions:
- Initial, topical
- Follow-up (Follow-up questions are used to expand on and complete the information obtained from the initial questions.)
- Nonpertinent (Nonpertinent questions are questions that do not pertain to the collection objectives. They are used to conceal the collection objectives or to strengthen rapport with the source)
- Repeat (Repeat questions ask the source for the same information obtained in response to earlier questions. They are a method to confirm accuracy of
important details such as place names, dates, and component parts of
technical equipment and to test truthfulness)
- Control (Control questions are developed from recently confirmed information from other sources that is not likely to have changed. They are used to check the truthfulness of the source’s responses and should be mixed in with other questions throughout the questioning.)
- Prepared (Prepared questions are questions developed by the HUMINT collector, normally in writing, prior to the questioning. Prepared questions are used primarily when dealing with information of a technical nature or specific topic, which requires the HUMINT collector to formulate precise and detailed questions beforehand)
Types of Questions to Avoid
- Negative questions (Were you not there? Wasn’t the event cancelled?)
- Compound questions (asking two questions at the same time)
- Vague questions
- Leading questions are usually to be avoided, but some special questioning techniques, such as use of a polygraph, require the use of leading questions
- A lead is a statement made by a source spontaneously or in response to
questioning that leads the questioner to believe that the source has
information on a topic other than the one currently under discussion.
- Documents captured with or on the source may also be exploited as sources of
leads. Leads are referred to as either “hot” or “cold.”
- A hot lead is a statement made by a source either spontaneously or in response to questioning that indicates he has information that could answer intelligence requirements on a topic other than the one currently under discussion.
- A cold lead is a statement made by a source either spontaneously or in
response to questioning that indicates he has information on a topic of
interest other than the one currently under discussion but that would not
HUMINT information often has the capability to be more accurate and
reliable than other disciplines.
Detection of deception is not a simple process, and it normally takes
years of experience before a HUMINT collector can readily identify deliberate
Techniques for Detecting Deceit
- Internal inconsistencies. Frequently when a source is lying, the
HUMINT collector will be able to identify inconsistencies in the
timeline, the circumstances surrounding key events, or other areas
within the questioning
- Body language does not match verbal message.
- Knowledge does not match duty position or access
- Information is self-serving.
- Lack of extraneous detail. Often false information will lack the detail
of truthful information, especially when the lie is spontaneous.
- Repeated answers with exact wording and details. Often if a source
plans on lying about a topic, he will memorize what he is going to say.
- Source appearance does not match story
- Source’s language usage does not match story.
- Lack of technical vocabulary.
- Physical cues. The source may display physical signs of nervousness
such as sweating or nervous movement
- Failure to answer the question asked.
Responding to Deception
- Question the topic in more detail looking for additional indicators.
- Reinforce the approach.
- Move to another topic and revisit the original topic later with repeat questions
- Point out the inconsistency to the source and ask for an explanation.
- Conduct continuous assessments of source (see FM 34-5 (S//NF)).
HUMINT Collection Aids
- Time Event Chart. A timeline, or event chart, is a graphic display upon
which the HUMINT collector enters chronological information as it is
- Organizational Chart. An organizational chart is a graphic
representation of an organization
- Map tracking is a specific questioning skill that the UMINT collector uses in all operations. It is a vital skill in supporting targeting and
- Map tracking identifies and verifies key information by
tracking the source’s movement and activities within a specific area over a
fixed period using a map or similar graphic aid.
- Through map tracking, the HUMINT collector pinpoints locations of any threat activity, threat dispositions, or any other priority terrain-related information, such as trafficability, known to the source
Map tracking is a four-step process.
Determine the source’s map-reading skills.
- The first step in the map-tracking process is to determine the specific
map-reading skills of the source.
Establish and exploit common points of reference (CPRs).
- The second step of map tracking is to establish CPRs (Common Points of Reference).
- It is important in accurate map tracking to talk the source through his past activities in the sequence in which they occurred and his movements in the direction in which they were traveled.
- Attempting to track a source backward in time and space is time consuming, inaccurate, and is often confusing to both the source and the HUMINT collector
Establish routes of travel
- Once the CPR is established, the HUMINT collector questions the
source until he has extracted all pertinent information on the CPR and its
- For past missions and activities, the HUMINT collector then establishes the route the source traveled between the newly established CPR and a previously established CPR and exploits the route
Identify and exploit key dispositions
- The HUMINT collector must obtain the exact location and description
of every pertinent disposition known to the source
Principles of Good Report Writing
- Releasability (security clearance)
- There are two major categories for reporting information: operational
reports and source administrative reports.
- Operational reports is a broad category that encompasses all reports
that do not contain information collected in response to intelligence
requirements or the reporting of the technical, and usually sensitive, aspects
of HUMINT collection. It includes but is not limited to all administrative and
- Source administrative reports include intelligence reports that are used
to pass or request information in order to answer intelligence requirements,
and reports that address the HUMINT collector’s contacts with the source.
HUMINT Collection With An Interpreter
- This chapter is not relevant to an OE in an English-speaking country, so it has been omitted.
HUMINT Analysis and Production
- Time Event Chart
- Association/Activities/Link Analysis
- Pattern Analysis is the process of deducing the doctrine and TTP that
threat forces prefer to employ by careful observation and evaluation of
patterns in its activities. This technique is based on the premise that threat
COAs reflect certain characteristic patterns that can be identified and
interpreted. Pattern analysis can be critically important when facing a threat
whose doctrine is unknown and it is necessary to create new threat model
and doctrinal templates
- Coordinate Register. The coordinates register, or incident map, is one type of pattern analysis tool (Figure 12-5). It illustrates cumulative events that have
occurred within the AO and focuses on the “where” of an event
Automation and Communication
- This chapter has been omitted.
Appendix G Quick Reference
This is a useful reference (contained in the original) on questioning techniques for specific focus areas. For example, under Offensive Missions, 6 questions are provided:
- When will the enemy attack?
- Where will they attack?
- What is the main objective of the attack?
- What units will participate in the attack?
- What tactics will be employed?
- What artillery, air, and other units will support the attack?