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Publisher's Summary

Revolutionary War officer Nathan Hale, one of America's first spies, said, "Any kind of service necessary to the public good becomes honorable by being necessary." A statue of Hale stands outside CIA headquarters, and the agency often cites his statement as one of its guiding principles. But who decides what is necessary for the public good, and is it really true that any kind of service is permissible for the public good?

These questions are at the heart of James M. Olson's book, Fair Play: The Moral Dilemmas of Spying. Olson, a veteran of the CIA's clandestine service, takes listeners inside the real world of intelligence to describe the difficult dilemmas that field officers face on an almost daily basis. Far from being a dry theoretical treatise, this fascinating book uses actual intelligence operations to illustrate how murky their moral choices can be. Listeners will be surprised to learn that the CIA provides very little guidance on what is, or is not, permissible.

Rather than empowering field officers, the author has found that this lack of guidelines actually hampers operations. Olson believes that US intelligence officers need clearer moral guidelines to make correct, quick decisions.

©2006 Potomac Books, Inc. (P)2018 Tantor

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He knows why...

He knows why it’s only a one star. The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable.

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  • C
  • 05-04-2019

overall best description boring

I didn't realize just how boring this book would be. made it through but quite boring.

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  • Jeremy
  • 18-12-2018

A well researched and worth a listen

This is an interesting book that makes you think. It presents various ethical scenarios and gives multiple perspectives to the issues at hand. In some situations I found I was persuaded by the arguments presented. Production solid. Overall definitely worth a credit.

2 people found this helpful

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