Intelligence ethics and non-coercive interrogation

Defense Intelligence Journal 16 (1):61-76 (2007)
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This paper will address the moral implications of non-coercive interrogations in intelligence contexts. U.S. Army and CIA interrogation manuals define non-coercive interrogation as interrogation which avoids the use of physical pressure, relying instead on oral gambits. These methods, including some that involve deceit and emotional manipulation, would be mostly familiar to viewers of TV police dramas. As I see it, there are two questions that need be answered relevant to this subject. First, under what circumstances, if any, may a state agent use deception or manipulation in the course of his or her duties? Second, if there are classes of persons who, by their activities, lose a legitimate expectation for honest-dealing, how are state agents to proceed when the identity of such persons is unclear?

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Michael Skerker
United States Naval Academy


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