National Security Intelligence and Ethics  book cover
1st Edition

National Security Intelligence and Ethics

ISBN 9780367758318
Published November 8, 2021 by Routledge
316 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This volume examines the ethical issues that arise as a result of national security intelligence collection and analysis.

Powerful new technologies enable the collection, communication and analysis of national security data on an unprecedented scale. Data collection now plays a central role in intelligence practice, yet this development raises a host of ethical and national security problems, such as privacy; autonomy; threats to national security and democracy by foreign states; and accountability for liberal democracies. This volume provides a comprehensive set of in-depth ethical analyses of these problems by combining contributions from both ethics scholars and intelligence practitioners. It provides the reader with a practical understanding of relevant operations, the issues that they raise and analysis of how responses to these issues can be informed by a commitment to liberal democratic values. This combination of perspectives is crucial in providing an informed appreciation of ethical challenges that is also grounded in the realities of the practice of intelligence.

This book will be of great interest to all students of intelligence studies, ethics, security studies, foreign policy and international relations.

The Open Access version of this book, available at, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license

Table of Contents


Seumas Miller, Milton Regan and Patrick F. Walsh

Part I: The Just Intelligence Model

  1. Intelligence and the Just War Tradition: The Need for a Flexible Ethical Framework
  2. Ross Bellaby

  3. Truth-Seeking and the Principles of Discrimination, Necessity, Proportionality and Reciprocity in National Security Intelligence Activity
  4. Seumas Miller

  5. The Technoethics of Contemporary Intelligence Practice: A Framework for Analysis
  6. David Omand and Mark Phythian

    Part II: Espionage

  7. Ethics in the Recruiting and Handling of Espionage Agents
  8. David Perry

  9. The Rights of Foreign Intelligence Targets
  10. Michael Skerker

  11. Digital Sleeper Cells and the Ethics of Risk Management
  12. Kevin Macnish

  13. Intelligence Sharing Among Coalition Forces: Some Legal and Ethical Challenges and Potential Solutions
  14. David Letts

    Part III: Bulk Data Collection and Analysis

  15. Privacy, Bulk Collection and "Operational Utility"
  16. Tom Sorell

  17. Surveillance, Intelligence and Ethics in a COVID19 World
  18. Jessica Davis

    Part IV: Covert Operations

  19. Ethics and Covert Action: The "Third Option" in American Foreign Policy
  20. Loch Johnson

  21. Jus ad Vim: War, Peace and the Ethical Status of the In-between
  22. Nicholas Melgaard and David Whetham

    Part V: Accountability

  23. Reaching the Inflection Point: The Hughes-Ryan Amendment and Intelligence Oversight
  24. Genevieve Lester and Frank Jones

  25. Congressional Oversight of US Intelligence Activities
  26. Mary DeRosa

  27. Accountability for Covert Action in the United States and the United Kingdom
  28. Milton Regan and Michele Poole

    Part VI: Future Directions

  29. GEOINT and the Post-Secret World: Who Guards the Guards?
  30. Robert Cardillo

  31. Evolving Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Terrorism: Intelligence Community Response and Ethical Challenges
  32. Patrick F. Walsh

  33. Reflections on the Future of Intelligence

Gregory Treverton

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Seumas Miller holds research positions at Charles Sturt University, Australia, TU Delft, the Netherlands and the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

Mitt Regan is McDevitt Professor of Jurisprudence and Co-Director of the Center on National Security and the Law at Georgetown University Law Center, USA. He also serves as a senior fellow at the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Patrick F. Walsh is a former intelligence analyst and Associate Professor of intelligence and security studies at Charles Sturt University, Australia.