The Politics of Intelligence Accountability

Glenn Hastedt

in The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780195375886
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Politics of Intelligence Accountability

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Accountability is one of the core concepts in a democratic order. Accountability means to have an obligation to explain and justify one's actions. Contained within the straightforward obligation to explain and justify one's actions are a series interrelated sets of questions that transform the concept of accountability into a political question in which the targets of accountability, the standards employed, the identity of those making accountability judgments, and the purpose of the accountability inquiry are all contested. In short, they are political questions. This article discusses the various questions contained in the concept of accountability. It also examines how these questions relate to intelligence accountability. The article ends with a discussion on the resulting contextual and political nature of intelligence accountability.

Keywords: accountability; obligation to explain; obligation to justify; concept of accountability; political question; intelligence accountability; political nature

Article.  7416 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations

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