Such files can only be found inside Floor Safes, and you may find one per each Organization existing in the current Theatre of Operations. Once found, it will not longer appear for the remainder of the mission.
Each file only shows information about agents from a single Organization, and only those who are Participating in the current Plot. Red Herring Agents are not listed on any of them, nor is the Mastermind of the Plot.If no member of a specific Organization is involved in the current Plot, a Personnel File for that Organization may still be found - but contains no names. Instead, the words "No Activity" appear on the Document, and nothing else.
Finding a Personnel FileEdit
Only one Personnel File exists for each Organization. Therefore, in each Mission in Covert Action, Max can find up to 14 different Personnel Files. Each file pertains to a single Organization existing in the current Theatre of Operations.
Personnel Files are a relatively rare kind of Document, though not terribly difficult to find. They can only be acquired from Floor Safes, and a file for any Organization can only be found in Hideouts belonging to that Organization.
Personnel Files can only ever be acquired from within a Floor Safe .
Note that you are not guaranteed to find a Personnel File in any given Floor Safe. This is because the contents of containers are always randomly selected. However, it usually doesn't take more than a few photographed Safes before the file pops up.
The Personnel File for any specific Organization may be found in any hideout belonging to that Organization - assuming the Hideout has any Floor Safes and of course that you're lucky enough to find one in that safe at all.
It doesn't matter whether the hideout contains a Participant in the Plot, or whether it contains any agent at all. If it has any Floor Safes in it, and you haven't yet found the Personnel File for the Organization that owns this hideout, there's a chance a Personnel File for that Organization will be discovered in one of those safes.
A Personnel File is quite a find in terms of the amount of help it gives you in finding out where the various Participants are hiding. It also helps prevent wasting precious investigation time on Organizations that are not involved in the plot.
Once a file is discovered, assuming it contains any names at all, you now have the names of several participants, the city where each of them reside, and of course their affiliation (since the file pertains to a specific Organization).
The game actually helps you organize this information by automatically copying all the relevant data into existing Suspect Files, and even creating new Suspect Files for any Participants you didn't know about at all before acquiring the Personnel File (and fills those out with the file's data as well!).
This can amount to a LOT of data, especially if the Organization the file pertains to has several Participants in the Plot.
Crossing out Dead EndsEdit
Even if the file is empty, it can still be beneficial. Knowing that an Organization does not have any Participants in the plot means you don't need to waste time investigating that Organization. There's an exception to this however (read more below).
Eliminating Red HerringsEdit
Finally, a Personnel File can sometime help you identify Red Herring Agents:
- For example, imagine you've got data about an agent named Oleg Kerensky from the Red Battalion, whom you think might be involved in the plot. Upon investigating some Red Battalion hideout, you find a Personnel File that doesn't show the name Oleg Kerensky in it. You can immediately infer that Mr. Kerensky is not involved in the plot!
- It also works the same way for agents whose location and affiliation are both known. Say instead of a name, you're investigating an agent for the Red battalion in Prague. Upon finding a Personnel File for the Red Battalion you see that none of the agents on that list live in Prague. You can immediately infer that the agent in Prague is not a Participant.
The Mastermind ExceptionEdit
The only exception to the above is that the Mastermind of the Plot will not appear on any of the Personnel Files you find, including the one for his own Organization. This is to keep the player from getting the Mastermind's location easily, since Personnel Files aren't terribly hard to find.
This means that if you are actively looking for the Mastermind, you can safely ignore Personnel Files as they won't tell you which Organization he belongs to (or rather, which Organization he does not belong to) as would work with any other Participant.
Reviewing the FileEdit
After locating a file belonging to a specific Organization, you can never find that file again in any Floor Safe anywhere. Fortunately, you can review that file (and any other Personnel File you've found so far during the mission) in the Check Data menu.
This menu is accessible almost everywhere: In the City Locations menu, in the Hideout menu, even in the Airport menu. You can also visit the Data Section of any CIA Office and review it there.
In the Check Data menu, simply select "Inside Information". It will show a list of all Personnel Files you've found so far, and you can review any of them as you please.