Asset (intelligence)

In intelligence, assets are persons within organizations or countries being spied upon who provide information for an outside spy.[1][2][3][4] They are sometimes referred to as agents, and in law enforcement parlance, as confidential informants, or "CIs" for short.

There are different categories of assets, including people who:

  • Willingly work for a foreign government for ideological reasons such as being against their government, but live in a country that doesn't allow political opposition. They may elect to work with a foreign power to change their own country because there are few other ways available.
  • Work for monetary gain. Intelligence services often pay good wages to people in important positions that are willing to betray secrets.
  • Have been blackmailed and are forced into their role.
  • Do not even know they are being used (so called "useful idiots"). Assets can be loyal to their country, but may still provide a foreign agent with information through failures in information safety, such as using insecure computers or not following proper OPSEC procedures during day-to-day chatting.

See also


  1. Appel, Edward. "Recruiting and Operating Counterintelligence "Assets"".
  2. "INTelligence: Human Intelligence".
  3. Ekpe, Bassey (2007). "The Intelligence Assets of the United Nations: Sources, Methods, and Implications". International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence. 20 (3): 377–400. doi:10.1080/08850600701249709.
  4. S, Ben. "Intelligence Assets: What is an intelligence asset?".

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