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Ethical and Moral Issues In Intelligence - Admission/Application Essay Example

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Richard Helms deliberately lied in front of the Senate about the involvement CIA had on 7 February 1973 in Chile.1 Similarly, William Colby lied in front of the church committee in the year 1975 denying the involvement of US in Angola. These men stood at the position where they…
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Ethical and Moral Issues In Intelligence
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Ethical and Moral Issues in Intelligence Introduction Richard Helms deliberately lied in front of the Senate about the involvement CIA had on 7 February 1973 in Chile.1 Similarly, William Colby lied in front of the church committee in the year 1975 denying the involvement of US in Angola. These men stood at the position where they had to choose between the ethical issues of honor to their oat or to tell the truth. This made them face the extreme ethical dilemma and made Colby say:
“I found myself in a position of conflict. I had sworn my oath to protect certain secrets. I didnt want to lie. I didnt want to mislead the Senate. I was simply trying to find my way through a very difficult situation (Powers 62).”2
No one can clearly explain their intentions and their involvement with intelligence, but in the end, it was all about the individual’s moral and ethics.
Similarly, the actions of Henry Kissinger in front of the Church committee cannot be justified as well. Stockwell being the Director operations in Angola, and National Security Council member revealed major actions of Kissinger. Firstly, that he had control over the National Security Council meeting, which approved of the program made to arrange as well as supply armies and later he denied that he had any involvement in Angola.3 The secrecy or it can be termed as deception on Kissinger’s part with the CIA can be justified as being essential when it comes to an organization, but it has consequences which can impact policy making and the democratic process can face the after affects as what happened in this case.
Drawing a comparison between the actions that are taken by U.S. and other nations it can be observed that there are many wrongdoings in the past and many affairs in U.S. The operation of Bungled Bay of Pigs and the deaths along with the captures of Cuban ex patriots, not to forget the slaughter of the hundreds of Panamanians during the deposition of Manuel Noriega clearly shows that picture which requires moral questioning. The response of President George Bush when questioned about the death of 23 soldiers and around 324 wounded while they captured Panama was “Every human life is precious, and yet I have to answer, yes, it has been worth it.”
The morality of intelligence operations once again came into the lime light and involvement of U.S. in different wars in Middle East, reveals another picture questioning the moral and ethical grounds of intelligence. 4
The former Chief of CIA, James Oslon explained a scenario where the CIA used information about the sexuality of an agent to make him work against his will and his agency. They threatened him to use this information along with evidence if the agent will not cooperate. The given illegality along with social stigma attached with homosexuality to be present in the targets home county this was a huge threat. 5 This was wrong on the part of intelligences on both moral and ethical grounds as it could have major implications on life of the agent.
In concluding, the ethical and moral issues are important in the intelligence. Current work represents several real life examples which involve the ethical and moral issues in the intelligence.
Work Cited
Godfrey, "Ethics and Intelligence," p. 625.
Powers, T."Inside the Department of Dirty Tricks," Atlantic (August 1979), p. 62.
Stockwell, "A CIA Trip," p. 26.
Office of the Director of National Intelligence, [webpage]. available from:
Olson, J. Fair Play: The Moral Dilemmas of Spying (Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, 2006) p.46 Read More
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