Criminal network investigation involves a number of complex tasks and problems. Overall tasks include collection, processing, and analysis of information, in which analysis is the key to successful use of information since it transforms raw data into intelligence. Analysts have to deal with problems such as information volume and complexity which are typically resolved with more resources. This approach together with sequential thinking introduces compartmentalization, inhibits information sharing, and ultimately results in intelligence failure. We view analysis as an iterative and incremental process of creative synthesis and logic-based sense-making where all stakeholders participate and contribute. This paper presents a novel tool that supports a human-centered, target-centric model for criminal network investigation. The developed tool provides more comprehensive support for analysis tasks than existing tools and measures of performance indicate that the integration of synthesis and sense-making is feasible.
Target-centric criminal network investigation involves a number of complex knowledge management tasks such as collection, processing, and analysis of information. The motivation for such work is well described in the training manual of the intelligence analysts of the London Metropolitan Police : Analysis is the key to successful use of information; it transforms raw data into intelligence. Without the ability to perform effective and useful analysis, the intelligence process is reduced to a simple storage and retrieval system for effectively unrelated data. Synthesis and sense-making are core analysis tasks; analysts move pieces of information around, stop to look for patterns that can help them relate the information pieces, add new pieces of information and iteration after iteration an information structure appears. Synthesizing emerging and evolving information structures is a creative and cognitive process best performed by humans. Making sense of synthesized information structures (i.e., searching for patterns) is a logic-based process where computers outperform humans as information volume and complexity increase. Developing useful tool support for target-centric criminal network investigation requires integration of synthesis and sense-making.
We present a novel tool for target-centric criminal network investigation called CrimeFighter Investigator with focus on core investigative processes and tasks. CrimeFighter Investigator is part of the CrimeFighter toolbox for counterterrorism . Besides CrimeFighter Investigator, the toolbox consists of the Explorer tool targeted at open source collection and processing and the Assistant tool targeted at advanced structural analysis and visualization.
Criminal network investigation involves the collection, processing, and analysis of information related to specified targets. We use three investigation cases to identify criminal network investigation tasks and the challenges associated with these tasks. We propose a generic process model for human-centered, target-centric investigation to embrace the identified challenges. Finally, a list of specific investigative tasks are outlined to guide the development of useful software tool support.
Criminal network investigation is a human-centered process. Investigators (and collectors) rely heavily on their past experience (tacit knowledge) when conducting investigations. Hence, these processes cannot be fully automated. The philosophy of the CrimeFighter Toolbox is that the humans (in this case the investigators) are in charge of the investigative tasks and the software tools are there to support them . The tools should be controlled by the investigators and should support the complex intellectual work (e.g., synthesis and sense-making) to allow the investigators to reach better results faster. CrimeFighter Investigator focuses on providing human-centered, target-centric support for criminal network investigations (acquisition, synthesis, sense-making, and dissemination). Tool support for collection and processing is beyond the scope of this paper: the CrimeFighter Explorer tool focuses on that. Tool support for advanced structural analysis and visualization of the target model generated is also beyond the scope of this paper: the CrimeFighter Assistant tool focuses on that.
Together, this analysis work resulted in a list of tasks that guided our development. Many of the tasks envisioned are already now supported. The main contributions to useful integration of criminal network synthesis and sense-making are: Process model. We have developed a target-centric process model for criminal network investigation, splitting the responsibilities between investigators and tool, empowering humans to make the required decisions. Task list. We have outlined and evolved criminal network investigation tasks spanning acquisition, synthesis, sense-making, and dissemination processes, helping us understand how to integrate these tasks. Tool. We have developed a tool that assists criminal network investigators in target-model synthesis and sense-making, to produce useful intelligence products for their customers. Evaluation. Our evaluation results from capability comparisons, usability feedback, and measures of performance, indicate that we are on the right path to integrate a broad range of criminal network synthesis and sense-making tasks in one tool. We have observed that existing tools typically focus on either synthesis or sense-making tasks.
RRP carried out the analysis, design, and implementation of support for criminal network investigation processes and tasks in CrimeFighter Investigator. RRP also carried out the analysis that formed the basis of evaluations, designed the experiments for each of the three evaluation methods, and subsequently carried out these experiments. UKW supervised the whole process. In collaboration, UKW and RRP synthesed the capability comparison table and developed the target-centric model for criminal network investigation. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Intelligence analysis is the application of individual and collective cognitive methods to weigh data and test hypotheses within a secret socio-cultural context. The descriptions are drawn from what may only be available in the form of deliberately deceptive information; the analyst must correlate the similarities among deceptions and extract a common truth. Although its practice is found in its purest form inside national intelligence agencies, its methods are also applicable in fields such as business intelligence or competitive intelligence.
Writers on analysis have suggested reasons why analysts come to incorrect conclusions, by falling into cognitive traps for intelligence analysis. Without falling into the trap of avoiding decisions by wanting more information, analysts also need to recognize that they always can learn more about the opponent.
The body of specific methods for intelligence analysis is generally referred to as analytic tradecraft. The academic disciplines examining the art and science of intelligence analysis are most routinely referred to as \"Intelligence Studies\", and exemplified by institutions such as the Joint Military Intelligence College, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (Security and Intelligence Studies major), and Mercyhurst College Institute for Intelligence Studies. The goal of the Analytic Tradecraft Notes of the Central Intelligence Agency's Directorate of Intelligence (DI) include the
Weasel-wording is problematic in intelligence analysis; still, some things truly are uncertain. Arguably, when uncertainties are given with probabilities or at least some quantification of likelihood, they become less a case of weasel wording and more a case of reflecting reality as it is best understood.
\"Being an intelligence analyst is not a popularity contest...But your job is to pursue the truth. I recall a colleague who forwarded an analysis that called into question the wisdom behind several new US weapon systems. This analysis caused criticism of the CIA, of his office, and of himself. He stood his ground, however; the Agency supported him, and eventually he was proven right. He did not make a lot of friends, but he did his job.
The purpose of intelligence analysis is to reveal to a specific decision maker the underlying significance of selected target information. Analysts should begin with confirmed facts, apply expert knowledge to produce plausible but less certain findings, and even forecast, when the forecast is appropriately qualified. Analysts should not, however, engage in fortunetelling that has no basis in fact.
Objectivity is the intelligence analyst's primary asset in creating intelligence thatmeets the Four Fs Minus One criterion. To produce intelligence objectively, theanalyst must employ a process tailored to the nature of the problem. Four basic types ofreasoning apply to intelligence analysis: induction, deduction, abduction and the scientificmethod.
Not all intelligence officers regard this as a desirable approach. At his confirmation hearing for CIA Director, Gen. Michael V. Hayden said he believes that intelligence analysis should be done by \"induction\", under which \"all the data\" are gathered and general conclusions determined, rather than by \"deduction\", under which you have a conclusion and seek out the data that support it.
In intelligence analysis, the analyst rarely has direct access to the observable subject, but gathers information indirectly. Even when the intelligence subject at hand is a technical one, analysts must remain aware that the other side may be presenting deliberately deceptive information.
From these gathered data, the analyst may proceed with the scientific method by generating tentative explanations for a subject event or phenomenon. Next, each hypothesis is examined for p