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Ethics of Non-Disclosure of State Secrets Essay (Article)

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Updated: Nov 11th, 2021

A recent article appearing in the Los Angeles Times entitled “Former Boeing engineer charged with espionage stands trial”, highlights an important issue with broad social, political, and ethical implications. Although the author of the article is not named, the Los Angeles Times is a reputable newspaper that last month published an article that highlights important sociological issues and concepts.

Looking at the issue of deviance this article provides excellent insight into the phenomenon of international security and state secrets. Has the United States’ top aviation secret security been breached? Has a former Boeing engineer, Chinese-born Dongfan “Greg” Chung, committed treason for more than three decades? Seeking to analyze this timely case as well as the ethical values and principles which are impacted by the alleged theft by Mr. Chung (a naturalized American citizen it should be pointed out), this essay will explore an event that has been thoroughly documented by the Los Angeles Times and remains both topical and contemporary. We begin now with a brief overview of the alleged ethical and criminal matters surrounding Dongfan “Greg” Chung in a California courtroom.

Introduction

Facing charges in a California courtroom, Greg Chung is alleged to have passed along private and classified information to China for more than three decades without having been detected. His case represents the first in which a person is tried under the Economic Espionage Act which was passed in 1996. The charges he faces are severe and vary from conspiracy to economic espionage to obstruction of justice, lying to federal agents and being a foreign agent himself. Each charge is a hefty criminal matter with strong ethical implications. Did Mr. Chung knowingly deceive and lie for more than three decades while passing along private information to China, an economic adversary and a country which has had strained relations with the United States for more than a half century? Are deceit and mistrust the only ethical dilemmas faced by Mr. Chung? From the sociological perspective of deviance and ethics, this article certainly raises important issues. The following will explore the important ethical values raised by this case and the important sociological principles currently been debated in the trial of Mr. Chung.

Sociological Questions

From a purely ethical standpoint, the case of Dongfan “Greg” Chung raises important questions about a man, an employee and a naturalized American citizen. As an individual facing an onslaught of questions surrounding his character over thirty years, Mr. Chung is being questioned about his truthfulness and honesty. These are important individual values that are being brought into question by the charges leveled by a Santa Ana prosecutor. From a purely business standpoint, Greg Chung is accused of breaching the business ethic of trust, particularly as it pertains to sensitive, perhaps even classified Boeing documents “critical to the US space program”. From the perspective of a new American, the charges against Mr. Chung could amount to treason, especially if the documents he was accused of sending to China are proven to be classified or Top Secret. Has Mr. Chung breached the ethical divide and given state secrets to a foreign state contrary to commonly accepted practice?

If so, is he guilty of a more serious charge of treason (disloyalty to one’s nation)? The federal prosecutor Greg Staples says that Mr. Chung is guilty of deceit, betrayal, dishonesty and perhaps even treason. Arguing that the defendant began spying for the Chinese as early as in the 1970s, the case against Mr. Chung raises important questions about the ethics of a new American who worked with sensitive information.

If the charges against Mr. Chung are proven to be warranted, deceit will be just one of the many important ethical concerns brought out at trial. This article relates to the course in that it emphatically demonstrates the importance that honesty, virtue, and loyalty to one’s state mean in a sociological context.

The trial promises to be sensational and says much about what American society values with respect to honesty and loyalty.

Concluding Remarks

Seeking to analyze the timely case of Dongfan “Greg” Chung, this brief essay has highlighted some of the important ethical issues surrounding the first case of economic espionage in the United States. While it should be noted that Mr. Chung remains innocent until proven guilty, the charges against him are serious and wrought with ethical concerns. If the charges against Mr. Chung are proven to be correct, he will be guilty of deceit, betrayal, dishonesty and perhaps even treason. The charges are serious both from a criminal, ethical and sociological standpoint. This article, although brief, is informative, interesting and relatively impartial. The issues discussed remain important and shed much light on American society as well as the international realm of security.

Furthermore, each charge levied against Mr. Chung is beset by important social and ethical concerns and worthy of further analysis.

References

Los Angeles Times. (2009). . Web.

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