Sometimes even seemingly irrelevant information leads to key findings. In this case, the mere existence of a company led to unraveling the phone number of the son of Afghan Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum.
Interdisciplinary Intelligence Preparation of Operations, I2PO, is a concept on combining the different types of intelligence collection to achieve the best results. In the following example, I will demonstrate a perfect case of an intelligence workflow that starts with Human Intelligence (HUMINT), utilizes Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) and lastly provides leads for Signals Intelligence (SIGINT).
Imagine you are part of a SIGINT team, dedicated to Afghan politics. While reading some HUMINT reporting, you come across a report regarding Batur Dostum, the son of the Vice President of Afghanistan, Abdul Rashid Dostum. The report informs about Batur’s businesses in Northern Afghanistan. One of the businesses mentioned is Batur Mustafa LTD.
This provides a starting point for OSINT research. While googling this company will not produce any notable results, a query within in the Afghan Central Business Registry (ACBR) might lead to some useful information. Luckily, the database in is English, so we will not have to use any translation tools. The ACBR database does not enable you to search for individuals, but we have the company name.
The result of this query gives us plenty of relevant data. Not only do we receive information on the company itself, but also on its shareholders and their personal data. This includes names, father names, phone numbers and residencies.
This is our target! Batur Dostum, the son of Abdul Rashid Dostum. He owns 50% of the company shares and his phone number is listed. The next step would be to task his phone number in our SIGINT collection. While we are at it, we should also task the phone number of the other shareholder and vice president of the company.
It is highly likely that this phone number might also produce decent SIGINT results.
As you can see, a piece of information that might seem irrelevant to start with led to a key finding and the possibility to enable further intelligence operations.
Matthias Wilson / 19.11.2018