Signals intelligence in modern history
SIGINT is a contraction of SIGnals INTelligence. Before the development of radar and other electronics techniques, signals intelligence and communications intelligence (COMINT) were essentially synonymous. Sir Francis Walsingham ran a postal interception bureau with some cryptanalytic capability during the reign of Elizabeth I, but the technology was only slightly less advanced than men with shotguns, during World War I, who jammed pigeon post communications and intercepted the messages carried.Flag signals were sometimes intercepted, and efforts to impede them made the occupation of the signaller one of the most dangerous on the battlefield. The middle 19th century rise of the telegraph allowed more scope for interception and spoofing of signals, as shown at Chancellorsville.Signals intelligence became far more central to military (and to some extent diplomatic) intelligence generally with the mechanization of armies, development of blitzkrieg tactics, use of submarine and commerce raiders warfare, and the development of practicable radio communications. Even Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT) preceded electronic intelligence (ELINT), with sound ranging techniques for artillery location. SIGINT is the analysis of intentional signals for both communications and non-communications (e.g., radar) systems, while MASINT is the analysis of unintentional information, including, but not limited to, the electromagnetic signals that are the main interest in SIGINT.