Copyright (c) 2009 The John Marshall Law School
The John Marshall Journal of Computer & Information Law
SYMPOSIUM: INFORMATION CONVERGENCE: AT THE BOUNDARIES OF ACCESSINFORMING THE ENEMY: FEEDING THE COUNTER-INTELLIGENCE NEEDS OF OUR ADVERSARIES
John Marshall Journal of Computer and Information Law
25 J. Marshall J. Computer & Info. L. 681
Kenneth James Ryan, Ph.D.*
I. BALANCING SECRECY AND OPENNESS
A significant challenge to the intelligence executive is defining his or her professional role as chief of an organization with diverse purposes, goals and objectives. This is particularly true for those executives who serve at the pleasure of a political figure, or for a succession of political figures with varied priorities. Criminal intelligence has largely been spared from political interference in the West, at least in comparison with foreign and defense intelligence; however, since the terrorist attack at the 1972 Munich Olympics, the efficacy of counter-terror efforts by European law enforcement has become a political issue. With increasing frequency, the products of criminal intelligence operations become front-page news, especially in regard to thwarted terror plots. When terror plots are not thwarted and violence erupts, it has become commonplace among media, politicians, and the public to place first blame at the door of intelligence agencies, if not the agency executives themselves, for failing to detect and stop the terrorist act before it occurred. 1 Therefore, over the past quarter-century the formerly (and comparatively) insulated position of the criminal intelligence executive has crept into an uncomfortable spotlight of scrutiny.
Whether this is fair practice or not is difficult to say; however, in an environment where secrecy serves the daily task of generating intelligence, particularly in information collection processes, exposing operational detail is rarely viewed as a positive venture. Thus, the intelligence executive must strike a careful balance between transparency and secrecy. 2
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