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Homeland Security. The Ethics of Intelligence Collection Essay

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Updated: Jun 8th, 2022

Humankind utilizes modern technological advancements every day throughout their lifetime. Multiple studies have proven that the people who can use computers and other means of telecommunication can have either mundane purposes or alarming ones. For this reason, the government created a program to investigate the data of all people online. The intelligence Community primarily scrutinizes people with hazardous inclinations, such as possible murderers, kidnappers, drug dealers, and terrorists. A pursuit for unstable personalities among regular citizens made IC create a unique professional code of ethics to differentiate between hunting for dangerous people and invasions of privacy.

The Principles of Professional Ethics for the Intelligence Community is a collection of rules that assists people working in the intelligence sphere to guide their ethics. These regulations serve the purpose of reflecting on the core values of the Intelligence Community and making one’s decisions based on these principles (Greenwald, 2013). First of all, the core principles are – to stay within the law but pursue the mission and fight for the truth by keeping integrity and stewardship (Bailey, 2016). The director of National Intelligence created these Principles in 2014, yet they remain fundamental in the IC field. These preeminent regulations function as a notice of the tremendous accountability IC are committed to in their workplace (Bailey, 2016). For example, IC employees have no right to catenate ordinary people; instead, they pursue unstable people, who engage in dicey activities. According to the statistics, there were at least 300 terrorists caught on account of IC employees (Bailey, 2016). However, there are a significant number of people who believe in conspiracy theories. They speculate that the government only under the guise of terrorism wants to monitor and control civilians.

The work of the Intelligence Community has been surrounded by conspiracies and ethical dilemmas from the beginning. A Code of Ethics among Intelligence Community is a guide of principles, which directs these employees in their uneasy tasks. Firstly, some people believe that IC only uses torture, blackmail, electronic espionage, and covert operations in their methods (Greenwald, 2013). However, their work promotes acceptable behavior, provides intelligence objectivity, defends and supports the Constitution, is mindful of one’s actions, etcetera. Their Code of Ethics, however, does not address the full spectrum of issues IC has to face daily (Greenwald, 2013). Intelligence employees might face biased reports, misuse of highly classified information (for example, some employees can leak unnecessary data for their benefit), which is a conceptual issue one must avoid.

Moreover, the profession’s ethical dilemmas include the inability of IC to recommend policies, which means that intelligence officers might figurate as a separate party in their client’s confidences. A close relationship between the IC and their client can appear as an unnecessary complication, resulting in a possible loss of objectivity (Bailey, 2016). On the other hand, the same close association with a client can cause bettering the overall quality of insights, which helps the policymaker to understand the complexity of the situation. Another ethical dilemma can be the IC’s obligation to speak the truth to power, which can be uncomfortable, as policymakers may not accept criticism in some situations (Bailey, 2016). Another controversy may occur when one is speaking about the ‘jurisdiction’. An IC owes a duty to their clients, that cannot be fully shared with the professionals (like lawyers or medical workers).

Furthermore, a code of ethics cannot be considered a universal principle among professional intelligence officers. As defined earlier, there are excessive numbers of exclusions as in ethical dilemmas. Additionally, some IC employees deliberately infringe the Code of Ethics for their benefit, and this goes unpunished for the reason that some policymakers might cover them (Bailey, 2016). Although this code might help some intelligence workers guide them, it needs severe reworking to be applicable in every circumstance. The system of ethics needs to exist for the IC to know their limits and to know whether or not to intrude on someone’s privacy.

The other professional Code of Ethics from another profession might be the nursing one. Nurses, together with IC employees, have their set of ethical guidance, for the reason that they encounter various ethical issues related to the health of a patient, dilemmas inside organizations, and biomedical matters. The general Code of Ethics states that all nurses should treat their patients equally, whether it is a criminal, a president, a poor citizen, a rich one – they should be treated equivalently (Epstein & Turner, 2015). The nurse should not harm one intentionally, even if one harmed a nurse. Nurses have to provide patients with autonomy (the right to refuse the treatment) and confidentiality (even before parents of an underaged individual) (Epstein & Turner, 2015). Nurses are obligated to tell the truth, be appropriately educated, and be trained. Moreover, medical workers have to follow the will of social justice and provide services to all patients. The treatment has to be just and formed following existing laws (Epstein & Turner, 2015). Lastly, nurses have to be respectful and maintain professional relationships with patients and co-workers. The penalties for breaking the nurse code of ethics could range from a fine to a jail sentence.

The nursing Code of Ethics is somewhat similar to the Code of Ethics among the Intelligence Community. However, there are differences in the essential aspects of the Principles of Professional Ethics for those two professions. For instance, the Intelligence Community has to stay within the law but pursue the mission and fight for the truth by keeping integrity and stewardship. In contrast, nursing professionals have to pursue equality, they should not harm people, they are not able to refuse treatment of some person, and they have to keep confidentiality. To be meticulous, when nursing pursues equality and privacy, IC has the right to choose the client, and they act in uncovering evil personalities despite confidentiality. Moreover, while nurses do not have the right to discriminate and have to help even terrorists when those people are in care, IC professionals fight to uncover the actual criminals without helping them. It would be wrong to assume one of the two professions is necessarily virtuous or corrupt. They both struggle to save lives, but in different spheres.

To conclude, people are different in using technological advances. Some use them for mundane purposes, while others are engaged in harmful activities based on telecommunication. Therefore, the government has created a specialized program to investigate the data people leave online. The intelligence Community primarily follows people with dangerous habits, such as possible criminal elements. A pursuit for unstable personalities among regular citizens made IC create a unique professional code of ethics to guide them in such an uneasy cause. Their Code of Ethics includes pursuing the mission and staying within the existing law, which differs from the nursing code of morality, where last is seeking equality in healthcare. Although the system of humane regulations among IC exists, it cannot be defined as universal because there are many people, who consistently violate those rules because of their apparent unclarity.

References

Bailey, C. (2016). The Moral-Ethical Domain and the Intelligence Practitioner. American Intelligence Journal, 33(1), 49-58. Web.

Epstein, B. & Turner, M. (2015). The Nursing Code of Ethics: Its Value, Its History. American Nurses Association, 20(2), 4.

Greenwald, G. (2013). XKeyscore: NSA tool collects ‘nearly everything a user does on the internet.’ The Guardian (U.K.). Web.

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