By Maloy Dhar
The Intelligence Bureau is a pyramidal organisation. The Director, IB is supported at his headquarters by Special Directors, Additional Directors, Joint Directors, Deputy and Assistant Directors. The cascading ranks flow down to Deputy Central Intelligence Officer, Assistant Central Intelligence Officer (Gr. 1 and 2).
Basically the structural formation follows the police formations with the Security Assistant (constable) at the lowest ladder. The staffing pattern is divided into two broad divisions: Intelligence Generation cadre and Technical cadre.
At the core, the structural layout is divided on functional, territorial and operational basis. For example, a particular Additional Director/Special Director can be responsible for supervising certain geographical areas and subject-desks. Desks cover the entire gamut of national life, right from political parties to student unions, trade unions, NGOs, to communal and other disruptive activities. The numerous desks are clubbed under common denominative hierarchical lines applied to interrelated subjects. Subjects like ethnic insurgency, religious terrorism, ideological terrorism (Naxal) are dealt with by subject desk as well as Operations Desks. The details are so innumerable that it would confuse a common reader. In fact all spheres of human activity within India and in the neighbourhood are allocated to the charter of duties of the Intelligence Bureau.
As new threats to national security emerge, the ambit of IB is widened. For example, in recent times the unpleasant task of monitoring VHF, HF communications (mobile phones etc), Internet and Website activities have been added, to monitor subversive activities through these mediums.
In the States IB units are designated as Subsidiary Intelligence Bureaus. These units are usually headed by a zonal Additional Director with Joint Directors, Deputy Directors and Assistant Directors manning different states. It is the age of top-heavy administrative work philosophy. The work earlier done by a Joint Assistant Director is now being done by a Joint Director or Deputy Director. Pyramidal upgradation of ranks has put the IB hierarchy at par with the State police and other administrative services of the Union and the States. However, it is difficult to assess if such upgradation has added better cutting edges to the grassroot level functionaries, who remain responsible for producing the uncut diamonds of intelligence inputs.
The Intelligence Bureau gathers intelligence on given subjects and from allocated target areas through applications of Tradecraft. Tradecrafts are both general and technical. The General Intelligence generation depends on intensive training of the grassroots level operators in the technology of intelligence generation mainly through Human Intelligence (HumInt), which uses human agents for collection of intelligence. The tradecraft matters are very complicated and are as harder nuts to crack.
Tradecraft also includes Technical Intelligence (TechInt). It is a vast universe of intelligence tools, which include Signal Intelligence (SigInt), Electronic Intelligence (ElecInt), Photo Intelligence, Satellite Intelligence, Remote Sensing Intelligence etc. Specially trained officers are grilled over fire for years to turn them into good TechInt officers. In short, TechInt is an important accessory to HumInt; in some cases TechInt can supercede the authenticity of HumInt.
Image courtesy: AP
Image: New technologies like VHF, Mobiles and Internet have come as a shot in the arm for terrorists, making it more difficult to be tracked down.