How are human source networks maintained?
The COVID-19 pandemic, in many areas, has caused a rupturing of human source networks in many parts of the world and has required significant efforts to overcome in some cases. We’re pursuing a strategy to recommit to our source networks: in practice, this means much more regular overseas travel to meet with, train, and develop multiple source handlers in a range of jurisdictions. We have also deepened our source enquiry capability significantly in some areas already, identifying new partners and platforms which will help us develop local capability in the future. Any partner which conducts human source enquiries should be able to clearly demonstrate how they’re continuously building and maintaining human source networks.
Developing and maintaining local human source networks around the world is more of an art than a science, and requires continuous commitment and close relationships with handlers. Our recommitment in this space, we feel, will help to shape and strengthen source networks in a post-COVID environment.
How do human source enquiries work?
Our team specialise in handling sensitive information from trusted sources, and using it as a foundation of intelligence which can be corroborated through other methods. The overall steps of this process are outlined below:
- Our team use their own extensive connections in a country or area, as well as local source handlers who are trusted, to speak to a wide range of individuals that may have knowledge of the topic of interest (also known as ‘human intelligence’).
- These enquiries are covert, through trained source handlers who are unaware of the end client.
- Careful consideration needs to be given to the sources’ relationship with the target, in order to maintain the covert nature of the enquiries.
- The handler will then conduct interviews with the sources either face to face or via telephone, to elicit the required information whilst maintaining the confidentiality of the end-client and without providing details of the project.
- These interviews are often crafted in a way that approaches the subject matter indirectly and under the guise of fact-finding for something unrelated to the project itself.
- The output of these enquiries will then be collated by the handler and then be analysed by intelligence professionals to assess both the reliability of the source and the accuracy of the information provided.
- This independent review also enables investigators to cross-reference the source information with other intelligence and produce potentially new lines of enquiry that the source handler can be re-tasked with.
Once initial risk assessments and due diligence have been completed, and the strategy is clear, we help our clients implement and maintain the control measures required to succeed in their new market (or an existing one which is changing beyond recognition). To do this, we utilise a unique AnotherDay-built technology platform: Cascade.