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Fair Play: The Moral Dilemmas of Spying [Paperback]

Our Price $ 16.96  
Retail Value $ 19.95  
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Item Number 375093  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   291
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.94" Width: 6" Height: 0.88"
Weight:   1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 30, 2007
Publisher   Potomac Books Inc.
ISBN  1597971537  
EAN  9781597971539  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
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 readers 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. Readers 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 U.S. intelligence officers need clearer moral guidelines to make correct, quick decisions. Significantly, he believes these guidelines should come from the American public, not from closed-door meetings inside the intelligence community. "Fair Play" will encourage a broad public debate about the proper moral limits on U.S. intelligence activities.

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More About James M. Olson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! James M. Olson is on the faculty of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, where he teaches courses on intelligence and national security. He served his entire career in the CIA??'s Directorate of Operations. His career highlights include serving as the chief of CIA counterintelligence at CIA headquarters and in overseas assignments in Moscow, Vienna, and Mexico City. He lives in College Station, Texas.

James M. Olson was born in 1953 and has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Western Ontario, Canada.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Interesting read-do not attempt the scenarios within!  Oct 14, 2008
I bought this for a class. It contains information about how to gather intelligence and whether certain methods are ethical. There is an interesting chapter on the author's polls of individual's beliefs about spying and methods of interrogation. There is another chapter on methods and scenarios that you are NOT to attempt yourself.
Great read...  Jun 10, 2007
Great book, great intro. to the intelligence field, and gives you a birdeye's view on the little spoken subfield, which is the morality of the intelligence field. Great demystifier of this field.
Unique work, with some quirky flaws  Jun 10, 2007
In the vast genre of intelligence writing, this book is simply unique. In presenting the moral dilemmas faced by intelligence officers, this work is indispensible--both for practical training for the professionals and for educating the public about the realities of the profession.

Where the book falls down, I'm afraid, is in its judgments about other works of intelligence writing. Olson's list of the best books for a professional library include two that have been discredited as historical works. He also repeats the mythical canard that Winston Churchill allowed Coventry to be bombed during World War II so as not to let the Germans know their communications were being read; he needs to read David Stafford, Martin Gilbert, and R.V. Jones on this score. Being taken in by [...] or by myths are disturbing failings for a former chief of counterintelligence.
A Peek Into the World of Espionage  Mar 12, 2007

Fair Play offers the reader a peek into the murky world of espionage. CIA veteran Jim Olson has a unique perspective that few other authors can offer to anyone interested in intelligence. Fair Play is not your standard historical narrative. It is an interactive experience, which invites the reader to participate in fifty realistic and morally challenging scenarios that our spies must contend with. Olson adds further credibility to Fair Play by sharing with the reader a cross section of responses to his very realistic scenarios. These elicited responses are from accomplished professionals, whose vocations vary from the former Deputy Director of the CIA to practicing physicians.
Fair Play includes chapters on Olson's under cover career in the CIA, changing U.S. attitudes toward espionage from the Revolutionary War to the present, and historical, biblical, and philosophical justifications for committing espionage. Armed with this requisite knowledge, the reader is thrust into true-to-life situations that U.S. spies actually face in the shadows today. This approach redirects the reader from the role of arm chair quarterback to active participant by asking what he/she would do in that same situation. Among the many topics covered are assassinations, kidnappings, interrogation, torture, drugs, seduction, sexual entrapment, and blackmail.
Morality and espionage are not mutually exclusive. As Olson says, it is about time someone started thinking about how morality and spying fit together in today's world. The community he continues to serve faces monumental challenges. Its operators need to have a clearly defined moral code with which to take the fight to our enemies. This book represents a great first step towards providing such a moral code to our clandestine warriors.
Worth more than the price.  Feb 20, 2007
I wanted so badly to give this book 4 stars but couldn't bring myself to do it.
The concept of the book is interesting and Mr. Olson tackled it very well. The early part of the book details Mr. Olson's experiences growing up in Iowa, attending the University of Iowa Law School (Go Hawks!), how he came to join the CIA, and gave a brief summary of his career, although I say it was TOO brief and if Mr. Olson ever wrote a biography about his experiences in the Agency it would make a tremendously interesting read. He also mentioned that when he was recruited into the CIA, all he knew about it was what he had learned in Allen Dulles' book The Craft of Intelligence, which is ironic because I ordered that book on the same day as Fair Play. Both turned out to be greatly enjoyable.
The largest portion of Fair Play focuses on different (hypothetical) moral dilemmas potentially faced by Intelligence Officers, with each dilemma being asked in question form, "Would it be moral if..." Following each posed dilemma several people give their opinions and answer the posed question, answering either `yea' or `nay,' and telling why they answered in that way. At the conclusion of each `dilemma,' Mr. Olson himself chimes in and gives some basic background on the issue raised (these are the most informative parts of each section).
In the back of the book is an index explaining certain words and concepts, used throughout the text, that those outside the intelligence community may not fully grasp, which was nice to have as a reference. He also lists some of his most highly recommended books regarding the Intelligence community. Again, nice bonus.
All in all, it's a great book. So, why did I want to give it only 4 stars? ...Because the book wasn't entirely informative, as I prefer. That is to say, the questions were posed and people were allowed to give their opinions. Granted, the purpose of the book is to highlight the various dilemmas and take into consideration various perspectives, but that can grow tired after a bit. At times it made me feel like I was sitting in a moral dilemma debate conference.
However, in taking the following into consideration I feel obligated to give it 5 stars and absolutely recommend it: the informative reference section, the real-world input of the author, and the recommended reading list add a lot of value to the books content. Heck, even the small font causes the pages to be jam-packed with content. And lastly, Mr. Olson does indeed what he set out to do. It's worth the price!

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