secrecy {fragments}

~ musings on secrecy ~

intel v. Intel

A remarkable tug of war is taking place over the ownership of the term intel, oft used in pop culture to characterize highly valued, perhaps even secret information. Intel, short for intelligence, in specific contexts also describes various military, diplomatic, espionage-related, and competitive (corporate)  informational activities. The abbreviation intel also appears in numerous Internet domain names, and in titles of trade and scholarly publications.

Jeffrey Wright, Executive Director of Americas News Intel email to Mexico Watch subscribers [in .pdf], Mexico Watch Intelligence Service and Chilling Effects Clearinghouse provide a detailed chronology of the dispute involving the term intel:

Intel Corp.’s recently filed suit against the publishers of Mexico Watch, a digital newsletter whose URL is, and whose parent company does business as Americas News Intel Publishing.

Intel Corp. has alleged both confusion-based infringement and trademark dilution against the company, although its website is clearly branded in ways that would easily distinguish it from the computer chip maker and its use of the word “intel” to mean “intelligence” is in common use.

The Department of Defense (DOD) defines intelligence** as

The product resulting from the collection, processing, integration, evaluation, analysis, and interpretation of available information concerning foreign nations, hostile or potentially hostile forces or elements, or areas of actual or potential operations. The term is also applied to the activity which results in the product and to the organizations engaged in such activity.

Right – intel –  as in the sentence “Pentagon Intel Ops ‘often’ evade oversight.” Or in these instances provided by Americas News Intel.

One wonders how the Intel Corp. action affects the DOD and the IC’s (Intelligence Community) historical, longstanding use of the word.


** There are numerous types of intelligence as noted by DOD in their Dictionary of Military Terms and by Dr. Jan Goldman in his Words of Intelligence.


Written by S.

December 26, 2009 at 10:38 pm

Posted in intelligence, language

Tagged with ,

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