The epistemology of intelligence ethics
The focus of this chapter is on the argument that the use of intelligence in security policy is rarely predicated upon the need to ﬁnd out the truth about events (and much less any comprehensive truth about the conﬂict that intelligence collection arises from or is intended to prevent). It is, rather, predicated upon a rights game, where the protection of a set of rights (arising from sovereignty, citizenship or other forms of belonging to a political or moral community) is the real objective. Such a shift in focus, from ﬁnding out the truth to using what appears to be the truth in order to advance competing sets of rights, allows controversial methods of intelligence collection, processing and operational use to purport to a moral justiﬁcation where, if the focus was the truth, no such justiﬁcation would be possible. This chapter thus deals with an epistemology of intelligence ethics, showing that such ethics will depend on the type of epistemology projected onto intelligence work. Th...e chapter argues that any type of intelligence is best understood as a quasi-epistemic game, rather than a truth-driven process that is subject to a morality dictated by a truth-driven epistemology. This has signiﬁcant consequences for the professional ethics of intelligence work, as well as for the status of intelligence in the security policy of a democratic state.
Keywords:epistemology / intelligence / ethics / quasi-epistemic games / truth-driven epistemology
Source:Ethics and the future of spying : technology, national security and intelligence collection, 2015, 39-52
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