The Logic of Covert ActionIssue: Spring 1998
Few U.S. government activities are as controversial as covert action.
Americans may disagree about the specifics of trade policy or defense
spending, but covert action is controversial to the core. Many covert
operations, if carried out by different persons and under other
circumstances, would be plainly and seriously criminal. The process
for reviewing and approving such operations tests the limits of
democracy. It is not surprising, therefore, that while some officials
and pundits are firmly of the opinion that we need to maintain covert
action as an option, others insist that the United States has no
business carrying out such operations in any circumstances.