Intelligence Activities and International Law

by Kenneth Anderson

Peyton Cooke has an interesting paper on the status of “intelligence” activities in international and domestic law.  It doesn’t seem to be on SSRN, but it is “Bringing the Spies in from the Cold: Legal Cosmopolitanism and Intelligence under the Laws of War,” 44 USFLRev 601 (Winter 2010).  The argument takes up Eric Posner’s critique of “legal cosmopolitanism,” as a way to frame various questions of “intelligence” – including interrogation, detention, and targeting.  It looks to draw intelligence activities under the laws of war, although I am simplifying a more complicated argument and view.  My view, as I’ve discussed here, goes a different direction than armed conflict, but I’ll leave that aside.  This is an interesting paper and worth a read.

3 Responses

  1. Prof. Anderson,
    I was pleasantly surprised — actually rather shocked! — to open up Opinio Juris and see this post. So, first, many thanks for the kind words!
    Second, the paper is on SSRN, here:
    Peyton Cooke

  2. Placing “intelligence” as a cover for the series of perversions that we have had revealed to the light of day is an insult to intelligence.  The point was made by Darius Rejali some time ago that the key in democracies is the effort to hide the perversion from the view of the public. 

    The executives in both open and closed societies seek to maintain their vision of their respective way of life through these perversions under guise of intelligence.  And the willing servants in these closely held spaces rationalize their instrumentalization and follow up with revisionist history denying their acts – another perversion.

    Precisely because perversion is what it is, it seeks to escape law or pervert law to its ends.  That’s the battle – not some demos narrowing or spreading.  Light is bringing brought at great effort to show the contradictions. 

    Perversion spreading or narrowing is at the heart of this battle. 

    And each of us chooses our side.   Nothing more.  Nothing less


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