Effect of reinterviewing first source (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
PINAR K. TREMBLAY
Young minds never cease to amaze me. Early in the semester, one of my students told me she loved my U.S. foreign policy class because I was teaching “all about the spies.” By the time we started to analyze U.S. intelligence organizations, the Hollywood myths of Mr. and Mrs. Smith along with James Bond had been dashed.
With the help of scholarly works and former intelligence officers’ writings, I introduced the over-worked, underpaid, deeply stressed “agent” in the field to my students, and they discussed how that hard-extracted piece of information might never make it to the president’s desk.
I think the most important myth we have questioned in class was that HUMINT (human source intelligence) comes in a variety of forms such as refugees, diplomatic channels, and NGOs, and that most of the data gathered is unclassified or OSINT (open-source intelligence). While still common, espionage and clandestine activities of infiltrating other governments, especially for military intelligence, constitute a rather small portion of information sources. In other words, the truth serum is not so frequently used.