Female Humint Intel Collectors As Well As Essay


¶ … female HUMINT Intel collectors as well as the utilization of female HUMINT Intel collectors during WWI and the Cold War Era. Specifically, their use in the form of secretaries and teletypes. It will go systematically during both wars, analyzing the use of the two main categories of secretaries and teletypes. The literature review also brings to light any possible gaps in literature on what lacked from the records of HUMINT Intel collectors and any possible roles they may have played other than teletypes and secretaries. HUMINT, a term used to define human intelligence, remains essentially any Intel collected from human sources. Within America, the NCS (National Clandestine Service), a branch of the CIA, makes up most if not all of the collection of HUMINT (Schnell, 2013). Specifically, any interpersonal communication or contact signifies HUMINT. SIGNIT, MASINIT, or IMINT are more technical intelligence collection disciplines that rely on signals, imagery, and signature and measurement intelligence.

Interpersonal contact initiated to begin HUMNIT may include interviews. First, however, HUMNIT requires identification of persons of interest like iris scans, voiceprints, fingerprints, and/or physical/facial features. From there extended interrogations may occur in order to emotionally connect with the subject and gain more information. The person performing the interview may place herself in the subject's life experiences as the subject explains everything. After the interview process or information gathering, the debriefing phase happens.

The debriefing phase consists of getting those subjects that cooperate, to placate intelligence requirements in accordance with the laws, policies, and rules of the HUMINT organization (Schnell, 2012). Debriefing may occur through casual conversation however, during this phase, most is done standard because subjects are willingly cooperative. Those classified as "tasked individuals" belong in some way or another, to the interviewer's organization.

Typically, those classified as tasked in voluntary debriefing military police, special reconnaissance teams, diplomats, and/or intelligence personnel. Those classified as not tasked include residents of ostensibly controlled regions, nongovernmental organization workers, neutral or friendly foreign diplomats, persons outside the area but knowledgeable concerning it. Teletypes and secretaries may have fit into the not tasked area of debriefing and may have collected Intel without the use of standard practices. The literature review will highlight such practices.

Literature Review


HUMNIT began in America based off Britain's own intelligence gathering standards. Britain granted its techniques and methodology to America starting in WWI and then later during WWII. WWI became an integral part of human intelligence gathering in both America and Great Britain. British female intelligence workers were some of the first revealed to have collected important information during the war to aid the Alliance. As Proctor notes in her book, "…adolescent girls had been entrusted with reports and secret memoranda at Military Intelligence 5, Counterespionage (MI5) headquarters in London, one of the major secret offices in the British government" (Proctor, 2003, p. vii). Although secretaries and teletypes did play a major role in female HUMINT collection, so did teenage girls within Britain. It supports the idea that inconspicuous players like women, were able to perform the job of intelligence gathering more effectively because of the way they appeared- and their lack of title or office.

Women during and after the world wars, played an important role, albeit small, in the game of human intelligence gathering.

Women, who had been a small part of very small intelligence networks prior to the twentieth century, now became a crucial yet invisible element in the creation of World War I spy organizations. There were many strong, educated women who were patriotic and willing to do their bit for a low salary, and it was these female workers on whom the British intelligence establishment precariously balanced (Proctor, 2003, p. 28).

Women served as a means of collecting intelligence because they were unassuming and were in the background of some highly classified meetings, taking down information for the men participating in the war and serving for their country. They were also effective in delivering sensitive information because no one would suspect their participation in espionage or intelligence gathering. Hence why teenage girls were used in Britain vs. adult men. Ironically, espionage was considered very feminine whereas intelligence gathering was considered masculine.

Although women played a vital part in intelligence gathering, especially delivery and transference, during WWI, there were attempts by governments to stifle female activity for example, the DORA legislation in Britain. "Curfews were established for certain women…police were given new rights to examine...


For example, DORA 35C and 40D established new versions of the nineteenth-century Contagious Diseases Acts, giving authorities the right to stop suspected women and administer gynecological examinations" (Proctor, 2003, p. 31). Women could not go outside past a certain time without fear of being detained. This ran true especially for those non-British women in the country. Although women clerks, teenage girls, and secretaries were used by intelligence, to transfer messages to and forth offices, because of legislation and the espionage portrait, Boy Scouts filled these positions.
Britain was the home for intelligence gathering during WWI and was in fact the first to make it a national organization by 1909 through the help of female intelligence gatherers. Another writer, Christopher Hart details British women and their efforts during WWI. "While these male fictions usefully foreground the linkage of English, Britishness with the secret service, they tend to overshadow the position of actual women spies. Yet women have played a central role in espionage from the establishment of spying as a profession" (Hart, 2008, p. 1). Secretaries, teletypes, and other inconspicuous office workers provided important not tasked debriefing information to tasked HUMINT personnel that allowed Britain to develop its intelligence network to what it is today and what it was after WWI.

People like Mata Hari and Edith Cavell, generated the polarizing stereotypes of female espionage and to some extension, female intelligence gathering. However, these two portraits of female spying was not the complete picture. Women as earlier mentioned, often worked in low paying positions as typists and secretaries and through these jobs gathered intelligence, which was then transferred to those working within their respective governments. "Yet women had been playing an active role in intelligence long before the war started and became important during the First World War- certainly, their diligent and poorly paid work kept the British intelligence services going" (Hart, 2008, p. 4).

Great Britain was not the only country during WWI to utilize female intelligence gathering. The British government also worked in Belgium using women in their intelligence networks there. "During the First World War women played key roles not only in the British intelligence services but also in the intelligence networks in occupied countries such as Belgium. The La Dame Blanche network in Belgium was a militarized espionage group for both men and women" (Hart, 2008, p. 5). Although the organization was short lived, it allowed women to be on equal footing with men in an organization. It was a short breath of fresh air for female intelligence gathering and female espionage.

During its run, as Jeffery notes in his work, the organizations reached "…more than 900-strong, a large number of whom were women. All members took a military oath of allegiance and after the war they were eventually recognized formally as the Corps d'Observation Anglais, a 'Volunteer Service attached to the British Army in France'" (Jeffery, 2010, p. 24). If one organization that included government recognition for women employed for intelligence gathering existed during WWI, it would be La Dame Blanche as it not only made the British government recognize the women a part of the organization, but it also provided legitimate opportunities for official intelligence gathering for women during its short run. In fact, 30% of the 190-battalion members belonging to the organization were women. A single, female schoolteacher also led the unit itself in her forties named Laure Tandel.

Laure Tandel and other female members legitimized female intelligence gathering during WWI. The ages of the participants ranged from as early as 16 to 81. It also provided information on which kinds of women were more likely to work within these organizations. "Observing that 60% of the women were single (and 7% widowed), Proctor concluded that 'independent, older women were more likely than younger women to work as formal soldiers' in the organization" (Jeffery, 2010, p. 25). Of the women a part of Tandel's unit, most were unemployed though some included shop assistant and schoolteachers.

Some of the notable participants within Tandel's unit were Anna Kessler, a Brussel widow, and her 4 daughters, who joined after the death of her only son and their brother. The family of women acted as transcribers, couriers, letterboxes, and held reports for forward transmission. Three unmarried sisters named Weimerskirch ran other reliable letterboxes. They ran a Catholic bookshop in Liege. Although some of their efforts were successful and security for the organization was robust, the organization suffered casualties and thus ended an effective part of intelligence gathering that officially included women.

Labor spying was also a major form of intelligence gathering. Noted, secretaries and teletypes, among others participated in information gathering, moreover intelligence transference or…

Sources Used in Documents:


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Dower, J. (2010). Cultures of war. New York: W.W. Norton.

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Eliteukforces.info,. (2015). Elite Intelligence Operatives - Joint Support Group. Retrieved 21 March 2015, from http://www.eliteukforces.info/joint-support-group/
Flynn, M., Pottinger, M., & Batchelor, M. (2010). ixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan. CENTER FOR A NEW AMERICAN SECURITY WASHINGTON DC. Retrieved from http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA511613
Kaspar, D. (1995). The Effects of the Drawdown on Promotion and Career Opportunities of Female Officers.. Oai.dtic.mil. Retrieved 21 March 2015, from http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA297361
Keegan, T. (1999). Study of Factors Affecting the Retention Decisions of Sea-Going Female Naval Aviators and Naval Flight Officers.. Oai.dtic.mil. Retrieved 20 March 2015, from http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA367268
Kipphut, L. (1996). Career Decisions: Walking the Tightrope, Marriage and Motherhood Issues Facing Today's Female Senior Officers. Oai.dtic.mil. Retrieved 21 March 2015, from http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA393958
Press, T. (2015). UK Report: Spy Agencies Should Seek Female Recruits Online.Nytimes.com. Retrieved 18 March 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/03/05/world/europe/ap-eu-britain-female-spies.html?_r=0
Shadmi, E. (1993). Female police officers in Israel: Patterns of integration and discrimination. Feminist Issues, 13(2), 23. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02685733
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