Principled Spying: The Ethics of Secret Intelligence

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An online presentation by Sir David Omand GCB, Distinguished Fellow, RUSI and former UK Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator, on the ethics of secret intelligence.

Intelligence agencies provide critical information to national security and foreign policy decision makers, but spying also poses inherent dilemmas for liberty, privacy, human rights and diplomacy. In this webinar, and in the light of the appointment of a new Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, Sir David explored how to strike a modern balance between necessary intelligence activities and protecting democratic values.

Speaker Biography

Sir David Omand GCB is a Visiting Professor in the War Studies Department, King's College London and at PSIA Sciences-Po in Paris where he teaches intelligence studies. He has been a Vice-President of RUSI and is now a Distinguished Fellow. His posts in government service included UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator, Permanent Secretary of the Home Office and Director of GCHQ, the UK’s signals intelligence and cyber-security organisation. In the Ministry of Defence he served as Deputy Under Secretary of State for Policy and as Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State. He is the Senior Independent Director of Babcock International Group plc and is on the senior advisory board of Paladin Capital Group investing in the cybersecurity sector. He is the author of Securing the State (Hurst 2010) and Principled Spying: The Ethics of Secret Intelligence (OUP 2018). His next book, How Spies Think: 10 Lessons in Intelligence, is being published by Penguin Viking on 29 October 2020.

The webinar was moderated by Caroline Wyatt, Member of the Advisory Board, RUSI and former Defence Correspondent, BBC.


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