Betrayal: The Reasons Why People Turn

Betrayal: The Reasons Why People Turn

Why would someone turn? Human Intelligence Collection

When it comes to human intelligence (HUMINT), one of the most important aspects is the recruitment and handling of sources. These people are usually highly trusted by their governments or organizations, so when people turn and become traitors, it can be a huge blow. There are many reasons why someone might betray their country or employer, but some are more common than others. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common motivations for turning on one’s peers.

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Betrayed by MICE: The Most Common Reasons People Turn.


One of the most common reasons for people turning is financial gain. Someone may be offered a large sum of money to provide sensitive information to another government or organization. This can be especially tempting for people who are struggling financially or have a lot of debt.


Another common reason for turning is ideological differences. Someone may believe in a different ideology than their government or employer, and may feel that they can do more good by betraying them and joining the other side. This can often be a very passionate decision, as the individual feels like they are fighting for what they believe in.

Compromise (or coercion)

Sometimes people turn because they are coerced or compromised. This can involve being forced to provide information under threat of violence, or even blackmail. If someone is caught doing something illegal, their government or employer may use this as leverage to force them to cooperate.

Ego (or excitement)

Some people turn because they are motivated by ego or excitement. They may enjoy the thrill of being a spy or of outwitting their peers. This can be especially true for people who have a lot of power and status in their government or organization.

Additionally, some people turn as a form of revenge. They may have been wronged by their government or employer in the past and want to get back at them. This can be a very powerful motivator, as the individual often feels like they are doing something righteous and just.

As you can see, there are many reasons why someone might turn on their government or employer. It’s a complex decision that is often driven by a variety of factors.

Contact with a Human Intelligence Collector.

HUMINT collection requires the contact between a human intelligence collector and their target, who may have knowledge that could be useful to them. There are three levels of contacts:

One-time Contact.

The one-time contact is often a source of valuable information that will only be encountered once. The HUMINT collector may commonly come across this type of person at lower levels in operational environments, either as locals during patrolled vicinity interviews or even detainees quickly questioned before being moved out.

Continuous Contacts.

HUMINT collectors do not task continuous contacts, but they can be sensitized in the same way as one-time interviews. These individuals provide their knowledge through informal debriefings and elicitation when meeting with intelligence personnel again for an extended period of time after having been contacted before.

Formal Contact.

HUMINT collectors should meet with their continuous contact three or more times before considering them as a formal contact. Formal contact operations and tasking must be carried out in accordance with applicable regulations, so it is important that you keep track of your interactions through notes taken during meetings before deciding to move forward with an asset.

HUMINT collection methods and operations include:

HUMINT collectors use an interrogation, debriefing or elicitation methodology to ask questions on relevant topics and collect information in response. It’s the HUMINT collector’s objective to collect the most accurate and pertinent information in the shortest amount of time, so a logical line of questioning needs to be implemented (be prepared and do not go off-topic). See Below.

Consequences for people turning?

There can be severe consequences for people who turn on their government. They may lose their job, social status, and even their family. Additionally, they may face imprisonment, torture, or even death. It’s a very risky decision to make, and it should not be taken lightly.

As you can see, there are many reasons why someone might turn on their government or employer. It is a complex decision that is often driven by a variety of factors. If you are considering turning, it is important to weigh all the pros and cons carefully before making a decision.

Thank you for reading, and be sure to check out our other blog posts for more information on subject such as – Military Intelligence: What You Need to Know, HUMINT side of Military Intelligence (MI), and Clandestine Human Intelligence: Spies, Methods, and Operations

Photo By: History; Why Jesus Was Betrayed by Judas Iscariot


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