Ethics in Intelligence – GOVT 487

CG • Section 8WK • 07/01/2018 to 12/31/2199 • Modified 09/05/2023

Course Description

This course examines from a distinctly Christian worldview how ethical standards apply to human conduct when related to the intelligence work and the implications for the collection, analysis, and production of information. It combines lectures, discussion, case studies, and student presentations to critically analyze assumptions and alternatives, and to address issues of social, political, environmental perspectives in support of national security objectives. 

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


High ethical behavior is especially important to military and civilian workers whose conduct may be considered in and of-itself unethical work. To complicate matters, those employed in the intelligence community must deal with incredible ethical dilemmas posed during times of conflict, particularly against enemies whose ethical and moral convictions may be quite different. Some outside observers and those within the intelligence community may be tempted to think that such ethical issues are beyond the concern of the intelligence professional. Nevertheless, the focus of this course is to become aware of the ethical issues that constitute the work of the intelligence community and that individuals have to navigate in defense of the nation. 

Course Assignment

Textbook readings, journal article readings and video lectures

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the Course Requirements Checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (7)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each Discussion. Each thread must be at least 500 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to two other classmates’ threads.  Each reply must be at least 250 words.  

Case Study Assignment

The student will conduct an ethical analysis of the Edward Snowden case and present their research in the form of a PowerPoint presentation of 10 to 12 content slides and a script of at least 10 pages.