n. Intelligence information based on rumors rather than facts.
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The Bush administration displayed an acute case of willful blindness in making its case for war. Much of its evidence for a reconstituted nuclear program, a thriving chemical-biological development program, and an active Iraqi link with Al Qaeda was based on what intelligence analysts call "rumint." Says one former official with the National Security Council, "It was a classic case of rumint, rumor-intelligence plugged into various speeches and accepted as gospel."
—Spencer Ackerman & John B. Judis, “The First Casualty,” The New Republic, June 30, 2003
Ray McGovern, a retired C.I.A. analyst who briefed President Bush's father in the White House in the 1980's, said that people in the agency were now "totally demoralized." He says, and others back him up, that the Pentagon took dubious accounts from emigres close to Ahmad Chalabi and gave these tales credibility they did not deserve.

Intelligence analysts often speak of "humint" for human intelligence (spies) and "sigint" for signals intelligence (wiretaps). They refer contemptuously to recent work as "rumint," or rumor intelligence.
—Nicholas D. Kristof, “Save Our Spooks,” The New York Times, May 30, 2003
1989 (earliest)
Ever since Joshua dispatched two spies on a reconnaissance mission into Biblical Jericho, espionage has been a way of life in the Middle East. Only the methods have changed. In recent years cloak-and-dagger operations, known as human intelligence or HUMINT, began to give way to electronic surveillance, or ELINT. Now the United States must increasingly rely on what government officials disparagingly call RUMINT — intelligence based on rumor — to protect its interests in one of the world's most sensitive regions.
—Eloise Salholz, “Relying on RUMINT,” Newsweek, February 27, 1989
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