Morals and Intelligence

Satisfactory Essays

The United States must maintain the highest standard of morals during intelligence missions. There are many ways that information from intelligence missions can be compromised, and far to many ways that the members of the mission teams can be exploited. Due to the risk of allowing one’s self or the mission to be compromised, a high moral professional and personal standard should be ever present when accomplishing intelligence missions.

The first issue dealing with morals and intelligence is finding the right person(s) to conduct a mission. There must be a level of unquestionable integrity present if a person is to successfully complete missions without jeopardizing the information collected. The Mossad (Israeli Intelligence) has made a practice of finding and exploiting personnel that work around classified information as well as those in the position to observe the behavior of said personnel (Thomas 33). Intelligence agencies around the world look for behavioral patterns in an individual’s character. For instance, if a person drinks too much, desires expensive things, or is a sexual deviant there is a possibility that, with the proper motivation, the information they have been entrusted with could be revealed.

Another problem when dealing with intelligence operations is that during an operation the agent is not allowed to collect, analyze, or disseminate any information that may be incidentally collected on a United States citizen. When the United States Marine Corps collects intelligence for operations on military bases with aerial photography, there must be expressed written permission by neighboring communities that may be photographed in conjunction with the collection methods (OpsO VMU-1). There are times when intelligence is collected while in training areas that bordering communities may be depicted as well. These individual families or businesses must each approve of being possibly viewed during surveillance, as long as they are not the actual target of the intelligence gathering operation. The same rules of engagement apply while in combat situations.

The morality of secret operations has been questioned since intelligence first began. The President of the United States must decide at the highest level which secret operations should be conducted and which are not ethical. The problem that has happened in the past is that the President has looked at the Director of Central Intelligence as his “personal advisor” when it comes to advising on intelligence affairs (Johnson 292). President Kennedy looked to his brother Bobby when making decisions of national security, and President Reagan set up his personal friend, Walter Clark, as his National Security Advisor.
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