Assignment 2: Assessing Source Reliability &Credibility
Using the below evaluation scale, provide the reliability and credibility assessments for the five cases that follow.
Evaluation of Source Reliability.
A – Reliable: No doubt of authenticity, trustworthiness, or competency; has a history of complete reliability
B – Usually Reliable: Minor doubt about authenticity, trustworthiness, or competency; has a history of valid information most of the time
C – Fairly Reliable: Doubt of authenticity, trustworthiness, or competency but has provided valid information in the past
D – Not Usually Reliable: Significant doubt about authenticity, trustworthiness, or competency but has provided valid information in the past
E – Unreliable: Lacking in authenticity, trustworthiness, and competency; history of invalid information
F – Cannot Be Judged: No basis exists for evaluating the reliability of the source
Evaluation of Information Content.
1 – Confirmed: Confirmed by other independent sources; logical in itself; Consistent with other information on the subject
2 – Probably True: Not confirmed; logical in itself; consistent with other information on the subject
3 – Possibly True: Not confirmed; reasonably logical in itself; agrees with some other information on the subject
4 – Doubtfully True: Not confirmed; possible but not logical; no other information on the subject
5 – Improbable: Not confirmed; not logical in itself; contradicted by other information on the subject
6 – Cannot Be Judged: No basis exists for evaluating the validity of the information
1. Case 1: You are an intelligence case officer in a small African country. The country has a history of instability and military involvement in politics, including having staged coups. You previously recruited a major in their army, who has reported some fairly low-level intelligence that has generally proven to be both useful and correct. He is the only source you have available within the military. He has called you (using a burner phone) and reported that elements within the military have become completely fed up with the current government and are planning on conducting a coup.
2. Case 2: You are an agent with the DEA. You are running a mid-level source within the Sinaloa Cartel, a major Mexican drug trafficking organization. Your source is motivated by money, and she is paid for each report. Her reporting has been marked more by quantity than quality. She has just reported that the Sinaloa Cartel has made plans to merge with Los Zetas, another trafficking group. The source has not stated how she got the information. In the past, the Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas have had significant conflict, including major gun battles and murders of each other’s members. There is no independent reporting of her claim.
3. You are a case officer working in the Middle East, with a focus on Syria. You have developed two primary sources. The first (Source A) is a fairly low-ranking civilian government official working in a province bordering Turkey. He has provided a series of reports that have been accurate, but not of high intelligence value. Your more recent source (Source B) is a high-ranking Syrian air force officer working in the Ministry of Defense. He has provided only a few reports, and you have been unable to assess their reliability. At least one of his reports appears to be false. Source A has just reported that the Syrian military intends to launch a major operation along the Turkish border. Source B’s last report of only a few days ago stated that the Syrian military had no intentions of conducting operations in that area. Assess Source A and Source B.
4. You are working at a Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York City. There have been a number of unverified reports and communications intercepts in recent weeks that “something big” is planned. A ‘drop in’ source has come to the JTTF to report that he overheard “two suspicious-looking” young men talking in an internet café about taking down a subway car. He has no other information.
5. You have an elderly lecturer at Buffalo State with prior experience in the intelligence world. He has begun claiming in his lectures that the government has implanted an electronic chip in his brain that beams every thought he has to the NSA. Assess the reliability.
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