Laws and Ethics within the Intelligence Field

This paper discusses the application of laws and ethics within the field of intelligence. As a matter of fact, the United States implements the most capable apparatus of intelligence more than any other nation in the whole world. Due to the effectiveness of these apparatus, the United States acquires information that gives it a substantial advantage with respect to comprehension of the world events, forecasting as well as preparation for unsettled moments. Intelligence apparatus, also, generate information that comprises an essential element of the participation of U.S. in international organizations like the United Nations (Richelson, 2015). This is because, on a frequent basis, the United States utilizes such pieces of information to raise awareness among organizations about imminent problems.

It, also, uses such information to motivate the right action at the right time. In the National Security Act of 1947, there is an element, which states that “No United States intelligence information may be provided to the United Nations or any organizations affiliated with the United Nation.” From an ethical perspective, this element is correct because of the intelligence controversies that exist within the UN. Controversies, in this regard, arise from the deliberate efforts by the UN to prefer the term information to intelligence (Richelson, 2015). Besides the UN does not process and distribute intelligence in the manner preferred by the major powers. Furthermore, there have been allegations of the UN being involved in undercover or illegal activities like distortion, theft and shying. In this regard, sharing intelligence information with the UN jeopardizes the U.S. efforts to prepare and motivate the right action at the right time.

From intelligence operation perspective concerning national security, something is morally intolerable when it contravenes the fundamental human dignity that is observed across the religious divide.  On the other hand, morally acceptable is an action, operation or something that promotes fundamental human dignity irrespective of one’s social, religious, political or economic background. According to Lafollette (2014), whether torture of terrorists is morally acceptable or not depends on different perspectives. In the perspective of consequentialists, any activity of intelligence is deemed to be morally acceptable or morally intolerable depending on the consequences. In normal circumstances, interrogation sessions are supposed to yield the desired intelligence information; however, in the event that the approach fails, then torture becomes morally acceptable if it leads to the achievement of the desired outcome. A deontological approach regards certain intelligence activities as morally intolerable irrespective of the consequences. For instance, even if millions of lives would be saved by torturing one terrorist or enemy combatant, the action itself still is, generally, morally intolerable.

In the context of an intelligence gathering government agency, the working definition of integrity is commitment, without involving coercion, to the values and priorities that are deeply observed (Lafollette, 2014). It entails commitment to values even when it contravenes personal interest. Therefore, an intelligence gathering government agency such as FBI and CIA can be said to have integrity when they do the right thing even when their actions may hurt. Furthermore, there are absolute attributes that should be associated with an intelligence gathering government agency. The agency should encourage certain personal qualities such as sound judgment skills, responsibility and honesty. This is because the intelligence agency would be involved in pursuing criminal matters that are naturally sensitive (Richelson, 2015). The intelligence agency should, also, have the capacity to handle sophisticated and complex crimes. This implies that it should hire people whose deductive reasoning skills and intelligence levels are exceptional. The intelligence gathering agency should, also, emphasize physical fitness within its organization. This is because there are certain aspects of the job that can be physically demanding and, therefore, to be well-prepared, all new agents should be subjected to completing a demanding physical training program.

In regard to his discussion on integrity and ethics at the CIA, Pekel (1998) came up with a number of recommendations. The first one is the need for CIA to develop its own platform of ethics education. Considering that there are a lot of ethical challenges that can be encountered in the field of intelligence, reliance on external consultants derive limited value for the agency. The second recommendation is that the CIA should present the ethic education with respect to an evolving value framework, which demands consistent attention and thought. In other words, it should require participant’s consideration of the connection and the dissimilarity between their personal ethics and professional ethics. The third recommendation is that participant should pursue ethics education based on self-interest and not as an issue of legal compliance. The fourth recommendation is that all sections of agency should emphasize ethics education that is corporate in nature. The fifth recommendation is that the CIA ethics should motivate students to identify and discuss the ideals that drive the mission of the agency.

Finally, there are various circumstances under which war would be a just war. However, it is essential to note that the just war approach requires and permits the moral analyst to consider certain circumstances including matters of principle in order to ascertain the existing regime’s strengths and weaknesses, and discriminate between extents of injustice Cole, D. (2014). One of the circumstances of a just war is the existence of a just cause. This implies that moral analysts should be able to establish that actions committed by one nations calls for war as an approach of redress by the offended nation. The second circumstance is when there is no other method for achieving the Just Cause leaving war as the only morally permissible option. This is where all potential diplomatic and political solutions have been exhausted and the only option left for a nation is consider war. It is worth noting that war would be allowed in defense of others especially in a situation where nonmilitary, innocent people become the target of attacks.

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