Intel in Hitman are pieces of intelligence (information) gathered during the course of a mission. Intel can often be picked up by finding certain items on the map, or by overhearing conversations between various characters. When you receive new intel, you will be notified on screen, and all intel gathered so far can be found in the mid-game menu.
Intel will teach you about what certain objects are, or what their purpose in the mission is for. Intel can also hint towards actions you could take in order to get closer to achieving the mission's objectives.
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