One of the great things about working at American Partisan are the folks who follow what we post and often take the time to comment. I often comment to the team that we are blessed to have such a great readership. Here is an excellent DIY article about forming your own intelligence written by ‘a reader’. Enjoy – JMc

Depending on the Federal government to reign in domestic terror groups, criminal gangs, or drug cartels may not be the wisest choice. For all the billions upon billions of dollars spent in those endeavors, the track record is dismal. Moreover, is there any class of employee more likely to lean socialist than a Federal employee? How motivated and thorough are they going to be, then, in identifying and characterizing a group that appears to embrace the omnipotent state, really? Conversely, how likely are they to cast aspersions on a group that espouses liberty and limited government? Something to think about.

If for no other reason than simple peace of mind, it is incumbent upon concerned citizens to form their own intelligence capability, to identify and characterize bad actors, at the group and/or community level. With that in mind, here is an analytic framework consisting of 9 separate focus areas, or essential elements of information (EEI’s) if you will, that can be collected, verified, combined, analyzed, and acted upon. The framework is just that, a framework; it is far from exhaustive, but a place to start, to organize and categorize information.

The 9 areas are grouped in threes – the first three areas are largely logistical in nature, the second three more foundational, and the third more operational. These focus areas apply to groups in general, not simply terror or criminal, and therefore also apply to your own group. In other words, these should be viewed for not only characterizing your opponent(s), but also examining the resilience of your own capabilities and make them less susceptible to disruption.

A simple mnemonic is SM(i)F LIC WIP. To wit:

S: Safe Haven – a location and facility where the actors can rest and recuperate, plan, live a life outside of their terrorist activity. Deep cover operatives may use intentional communities – very little trail there, couch surfing even less so. No utility bills, no fixed address, no telephones in their name, no real “neighbors” as such. Potential collection assets may include postal carriers, delivery drivers, neighbors, and neighbors of neighbors. Indicators may include an overly large number of automobiles routinely parked outside a single residence, excessive trash bags, routinely large grocery purchases by one or few individuals.

M: Movement – the ability to transit to/from an AO to/from the safe haven, or another AO. Potential collection assets include motel staff, service station cashiers, simple observation.

F: Finance – self-explanatory. For an initial list, examine publicly available political donations, specific to your AO. Go as far down that rabbit hole as you think is helpful. 
Here’s one place to start, plug in the zip code for your AO and drill down a bit . You might be interested to know who your neighbors are, and who they support. The FEC is your ally in this. As for organizations, here’s another.


L: Leadership – the personalities that lead at the group and subsidiary levels. Their background, motivations, rhetoric, interpersonal style. Social media is your friend, read up on social network analysis.

I: Ideology – what is the ideology and, conversely, are there non-ideologues and how are they employed? To what extent, if any, does the ideology brook dissent? What is the counter-narrative and how is that message best conveyed, i.e., on a rational or emotional basis?

C: Communications – How is the ideology propagated, operational orders issued, events exploited, etc. Again, social media is your friend. Mainstream media is the obvious candidate when it comes to exploiting an event, “if it bleeds, it leads.” For more in-depth examination of that practice (and, therefore, a primer on how to manipulate the news cycle to your advantage), I recommend “How The News Makes Us Dumb” by C. John Sommerville.

For a more recent read along those same lines, one that takes into account the advent of personal computers, the Internet, social media, and the near instantaneous news cycle, I suggest “The Smear” by Sharyl Attkisson.


W: Weapons – self-explanatory – conventional, improvised, psychological. Supply chains, resupply, fabrication, effect.

I: Intelligence – I would include counterintelligence here as well

P: Personnel – current cadre and recruitment resources – also to identify potential assets to develop and exploit. Again, social media for social network analysis.

In summary, this is simply a framework and how it may apply to your situation (e.g., urban versus rural, demographic homogeneity, population density, economic base, etc.) will vary. Removing the cloak of anonymity is key.

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