Le Renseignement: Distinctions Preliminaires

By Brodeur, Jean-Paul | Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, January 2005 | Go to article overview

Le Renseignement: Distinctions Preliminaires


Brodeur, Jean-Paul, Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice


The variety of meanings of the word "intelligence" in the field of criminal and security intelligence is so great as to deprive these notions of much of their usefulness. This article tries to remedy this vagueness. Its main tenet is that intelligence should be defined not by its inner properties but through its relationships with different terms. The first part of the article provides several illustrations of the vagueness of the notion of intelligence by contrasting it with other notions that are akin to it, such as information, knowledge, science, proof, and surveillance. The second part tries to develop a theory of intelligence by relating it to various elements that define its nature: the producer of intelligence, its consumer, its contents and objects, the encoding process, contact between the members of an intelligence network, the target(s) of intelligence, and, finally, its sources and their validity. The article concludes with a brief discussion of efficiency and accountability in the field of intelligence.

Introduction

La litterature scientifique sur le renseignement est limitee. Outre l'ensemble respectable des travaux historiques qui ne proposent malheureusement pas de modele theorique, on y trouve des manuels pour futurs agents de renseignement ou des ouvrages rediges par des juristes ou des militants qui denoncent les exces des services de renseignement et des ouvrages anecdotiques. Il n'y a pas encore l'equivalent d'une sociologie de la police dans le domaine du renseignement. Or, la notion meme de renseignement est tres complexe, comme le demontreront les exemptes suivants.

1. Dans les annees soixante, un employe du ministere de Postes Canada rut prive de sa pension parce qu'il etait soupconne d'espionnage. Une enquete, menee par le juge D.C. Wells (Wells 1966), trouva qu'on avait eu raison de sanctionner cet employe ; ce dernier fournissait apparemment des noms graves sur des pierres tombales aux Sovietiques, cette affirmation pouvant s'averer utile pour qui voudrait assumer une fausse identite. Cet exemple demontre que tout renseignement--des horaires de chemin de fer aux menus de restaurant en passant par les inscriptions sur les pierres tombales (pour ne mentionner que des informations triviales)--peut se reveler d'interet pour un service de renseignement (tout peut, par exemple, etre une composante de la fabrication d'une fausse identite).

2. Une commission du Congres americain s'est penchee sur les questions afferentes au renseignement exterieur. La definition du renseignement proposee par cette commission revele le probleme que nous tentons de signaler, precisement parce qu'elle est si peu eclairante :

   Bien que << renseignement >> soit defini a, la fois dans la loi et
   dans un decret presidentiel, ni I'une ni I'autre ne permettent de
   bien comprendre le terme. La Commission croit qu'il serait
   preferable de definir << renseignement >> de facon simple et vaste
   comme toute information au sujet de << choses etrangeres >> [things
   foreign]--des personnes, des endroits, des objets et des
   evenements--necessaire au gouvernement dans I'exercice de ses
   fonctions (Unites States, Congress 1996 : Introduction, p. 4,
   traduction de l'auteur).

Cet exemple qui est beaucoup plus recent que le precedent illustre la meme difficulte : toute information est potentiellement un renseignement. Cette citation nous offre cependant une voie de sortie de l'impasse, sur laquelle nous reviendrons.

3. On pourrait vouloir resoudre la difficulte en definissant le renseignement non pas par son contenu mais par son destinataire (un Etat, comme dans le premier de nos exemples) ou, de facon plus habituelle, par son producteur, a savoir un service de renseignement lui-meme. Cette vole est peu prometteuse, comme le montrera un dernier exemple. Le 5 fevrier dernier, M. Colin Powell, l'ex-secretaire d'Etat des EtatsUnis, a cite avec eloge un document sur la duplicite de M. …

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