Intelligence Ethics and the German Spying Scandal Cover Image

Etica în intelligence şi cazul scandalului de spionaj împotriva Germaniei
Intelligence Ethics and the German Spying Scandal

Author(s): Valentin STOIAN-IORDACHE
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: National Institute for Intelligence Studies
Keywords: intelligence, ethics, Snowden, Germany

Summary/Abstract: The article aims to evaluate the burgeoning literature on intelligence ethics and to analyze the 2014 German spying scandal from this perspective. It presents an appraisal of American espionage actions in Germany, based on public revelations and concludes that ethical aspects were violated. The first part of the article elaborates the principle of gradual intelligence action, as formulated by the just intelligence doctrine. While doing so, the article also presents two other competing views on ethics, realism and utilitarianism. Yet, it selects just intelligence doctrine as the paradigm which best combines the state’s duty to ensure its citizens’ security with the fundamental premise of universal human moral status. The first part concludes by arguing that intelligence action should be gradual in both intention and means. The second part discusses the 2014 revelations of American espionage in Germany and appraises them according to principles of intelligence ethics. It argues that the goal of action was not the discovery of a grave and imminent threat and that the means employed were disproportionate and indiscriminate. The article closes with an appeal for rebuilding trans-Atlantic trust.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 12
  • Page Range: 151-166
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: English