January 25, 2009

Research Proposal on The Role of Intelligence to Democratic Society


            In a democratic society, freedom, equality, and justice are some of the few elements that describe the ideals of democracy. In whatever means, man strives to live a life that is free of stress, war, and oppression. Hence, if one feels a sense of freedom, he/she tends to be satisfied and becomes productive. However, the whole of democracy and its inherent ideals cannot be totally grasped and some are unfathomable. Noting such description, it can be said that there is no perfect democracy spared from any constraints and limitations. One issue that any one under the democratic regime tries to question is the right to privacy which becomes a part of any democratic constitution. In a large view of it, we come to think of the work and services made by intelligence agencies. What is really the role of intelligence in a democratic society? This paper attempts to understand and analyze the role of intelligence in empowering the democratic ideals of the society or it can also be the opposite.       


            There are several hypotheses that the study can conjure. One, the role of intelligence is crucial in maintaining the status quo and national security. Second, the intelligence institution serves as a shield that preemptively controls the imminent danger that the society may face. Third, inherent role of intelligence does not violate any of individuals' or groups' constitutional rights but further strengthen and preserve the rights of each individual against harm and danger. Fourth, intelligence plays as a backbone of military forces that responsibly monitored and policed the security status of a democratic society. Fifth, the role of intelligence is encompassing that it does not only confine to political and economic interest of a democratic society rather helps to maintain the social stability and state's security.


            This study aims to provide an illumination and enlightening ideas about the role of intelligence and to deem its noble task in maintaining the national security of a democratic society, thereby disposes the traditional contention that it violates individual rights.


            Although there are various scholarly works and studies made closely connected to this study, we believe that what makes this study new and novel is the fact that it explores the role of intelligence in a wider perspective using an inter-disciplinary approach.

            Moreover, this study seeks to give new insights and new developments in the academic perception about the role of intelligence. Hence, with the use of new ideas, it helps seek new developments that will strengthen the hopes of the paper. 

Review of Literature

            In Ronnie Kasrils' speech entitled Surveiling our Democracy, he asked the question about the role of intelligence in a democracy. Under his observation and intellectual articulation, democracies rely on intelligence services to uphold political and economic stability (2005)." In any democratic society, the promotion of peace and harmony, freedom from oppression and freedom for expression are the core of complex ideals of democracy. Hence, in any kind of democratic constitution the explicit pronouncement of such values that strictly observes and preserve by means of pooling and establishing institution that the primary task is to maintain the security of the country, peace and harmony of the locale and the observance of freedom. It is quite unsurprising if people within the structure of intelligence will held so in high esteem the nobility of their work. Thus, in the speech made by Lee Hamilton (2004), he noted, "good intelligence is essential to our national security, a superpower like the United States simply cannot survive without it. As a heavy consumer of intelligence and an observer of the intelligence community for decade, I hold the mean and women of our intelligence agencies in high regard."

            Richard A. Best, Jr. (2004) in his article The National Intelligence Director and Intelligence Analysis, speaks of the importance of intelligence agencies and services as well as the pervasive politicization of political actors of the agency. He noted that "fundamental responsibility of intelligence services is to provide information to support policymakers and military commanders…concern is often expressed about the extent to which intelligence products can become politicized." However, he admitted that the charge of politicization is difficult to prove and is often dependent upon a reader's subjective viewpoint. In fact, such statement of Best is supported by Hamilton in his speech that says, "it is important that intelligence is not politicized." The basis of such declamation was based on his epistemological explanation on the issue that presidents and administrators tend to get the intelligence they want. Yet, the "Collection and analysis must be separated – to the maximum extent possible – from policy information and politics. Policy makers should not use intelligence as a tool to make a policy look good – they should use intelligence to make good policy" (2004).

            On the other hand, Atlee has a different perspective in looking at the role of intelligence in a democratic society. In Atlee's The Tao of Democracy, it contains a much far-reaching, challenging and metaphysical articulations about intelligence and its role in democratic society. Atlee describes co-intelligence as our capacity to think in terms of interconnected wholeness so the ideas we generate will be for the benefit of all, such that this intelligence "incorporates diversity, creativity and power sharing (2003)."  Atlee envisions moving towards a wisdom culture where we address social problems though co-intelligent solutions and implementation plans, so increasing our organizational and community capacity to be co-intelligent (Karp, n.d.). Keeping much further to Atlee's metaphysical analysis is Filip's argument that there is an existing tension between the ideals of democracy and the intelligence activities. He noted, "Regulating intelligence activities is one of the greatest challenges of a democratic regime because there is a fundamental clash between the democratic culture, based on individual freedom, openness, transparency, accountability, and the secrecy and security-oriented intelligence culture." This seems to be problematic in his own intellectual understanding that was why he formulated a thesis that would solve such critical problem. Towards the end of his analyses he expressed, "the conundrum of intelligence reforms requires a trade-off between the need for good intelligence and the respect and promotion of democratic values."


            This paper concludes that the role of intelligence is not only confined to its political and economic functions rather transcends behind the normal and standard notion of its role. Moreover, intelligence services and actors' responsibilities although are primarily political and economic in nature, are to maintain in general the status quo of the country by serving as a backbone of a military government institution.

            It is totally incorrect to conjure that intelligence' nature of work is fundamentally against the individual rights of a person in a democratic society. In fact, intelligence becomes vital to the maintenance and preservation of rights and freedom of each inhabitant. Furthermore, the role of intelligence is crucial to the national security of a democratic society as well as to its national interests. Its work is to keep an eye towards potential harmful elements that possibly destabilize the security of the whole country.







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