There are two main essentials of the intelligence operation, gathering information and conducting an operation. Generally speaking, the information gathering is focused as the intelligence essence, but it is not a correct way of saying. The spy operation is a necessary part of their mission.
It is basically secretive, which is why the operation is not focused formally. Although, the intelligence is officially structured to gather information for a decision maker, i.e. the politics in this sense, hence the information should be focused formally.
The information gathering is categorized by types of the operation. The most common is to collect information from their asset. The intelligence organization hires a foreign officer as their asset to obtain a secretive information, which should be the most traditional manner.
On the other hand, they can steal an intel, when infiltrating a subjective organization. If spending many years as an undercover to penetrate into the target, this information is a lot like the one which is provided by the inside asset. The difference is whether it is delivered by the asset or undercover.
If they penetrate into the target in a short run, i.e. to sneak into their base to steal an information, it is not similar to the asset operation, which is more like a theft. The hacking is basically an extension of this manner in a modern way. Although, it is not necessarily employed to steal an intel, but more like to run an operation for other purposes including a sabotage.
The public information contains enough information for the political decision. It is available for anyone, but there is often a sizable language barrier, which is necessary to be recapped. Or, the spy can crack a hidden intel from an analysis of the public information.
This methodology is perfectly legal, hence it is commonly practiced, while the majority of others potentially contain a legal matter, hence it is thoroughly discussed how to determine their target.
An interception of the telecommunication might create an internal issue if revealed; for example a wiretapping against foreign leaders. Or, generally speaking, the interception is not difficult, but it is categorized as an illegal for the most of the cases.
The electromagnetic wave is an addition to these skillsets. Nowadays, the advanced technology can read your brain, what you are thinking of, remotely from the outside. This is a technology of radar, but the original electromagnetic manipulation has been structured by the ultra-long-wave, though both of them are results of the phenomena called as a synchronization.
This technology is still not public for the general population, which is quite dangerous to ordinary people. There is another dangerous unknown maneuver which is a big data analysis taken by hacking, which has also a sizable impact to the general public.
The information gathering is conducted to support a political decision of the government. That is the reason why the intelligence exists originally, though they can skew a political decision and maneuver an information to be delivered.
When the spy selects an information based on their personal or organization agenda, the political decision can be manipulated. This is one of the biggest issues for the current intelligence organizations. They actually often control information to maneuver the politics for their sake, which has been a threat to the democracy and sovereign of the people.