Defence and Intelligence Norway
The experiences we have described illustrate the role of social relations in the intelligence function. These are marked with trust, distrust or some mixture of both. However, in system terms, despite hostile relations between two or more parties, they still belong to the same system or at least co-exist in its boundary zone. So, instead of extending the intelligence community, its functions and operations simply on the basis of technical or instrumental relations, we suggest instead that the considerations of social relations and trust be brought into the architecture of technical systems. Without trust, even the best equipped NIC will be useless. In other words, no matter how significant the SIGINT investment, the subsequent signal analysis will depend on operators’, analysts’ or policymakers’ expertise, intentions and attitude. Are they motivated, and for what? What a phenomenon is or looks like can vary a lot depending both on the context – one’s interpretive framework – on the observer and the author of a report. This is ultimately the often hidden political side of the intelligence coin.