The US troops in South Korea are pushing to set up a unit that will be charged with gathering and analyzing human intelligence on North Korea, local authorities said Sunday.
Human Intelligence, known as HUMINT, is intelligence gathered by means of interpersonal contact.
|This undated photo provided by the Eighth US Army shows soldiers of its 501st Military Intelligence Brigade analyzing intelligence. (Yonhap)|
The move comes as the North's development of communications security technology is increasingly making signals surveillance of the country's internal communications more difficult.
According to the authorities, the US Forces Korea plans to create a specialized unit around October under the 501st Military Intelligence Brigade of the Eighth US Army. The new unit will be called the 524th Military Intelligence Battalion, they said.
In the brigade, the 532nd Military Intelligence Battalion is in charge of human intelligence affairs, but its main duty is analyzing intelligence, not directly gathering it.
But the newly formed unit will be in charge of getting intelligence on North Korea through human sources and contact with other intelligence agencies while taking over the duty of analyzing human intelligence from the 532nd battalion. Sources say the US troops will soon secure high-tech equipment for this endeavor.
Seoul officials predict the US troops will likely rely on high-level North Korea defectors, foreign figures with experience on North Korea and have visited the country, and US intelligence agencies to gather intelligence on the world's most isolated country.
"I see high chances that the US troops will make use of the country's human intelligence gathering channels like the Central Intelligence Agency," a South Korean spy agency official said on condition of anonymity. (Yonhap)