"Full Black" operations


So I am reading a book called Full Black by Brad Thor, great book by the way. But any who the book revolves around an ex-DEVGRU operative (Seal Team 6 for those of you who don’t know military lingo) who now works for a private intelligence company that contracts out to the CIA. In the book he did this because of the bureaucratic mess that the CIA is in and the liberty he has operating for a private company. So basically he is a deep cover operative that runs operations that infiltrate and attempt to capture and destroy terrorist and their cells. I believe that in a war like the war on Terror, where people who don’t follow the Geneva convention rules, things like deep cover black operations are necessary to protect the people of a country.

My dilemma though is the moral justification of such operations. These operations usually require us to operate on foreign soil without consent or knowledge from the foreign government (ex. Sweden in the book). They also require deception, lying and manipulation; especially when one is embedded in a terrorist cell to acquire intelligence.

Is something like this reconcilable to moral teaching of the Church and if not how would one go about gathering intelligence and protecting a country from terrorist groups, that operate outside of international law, in a moral way that is as effective as black operations?

God Bless


I don’t know a lot about the theological gymnastics it would take to make murder and torture okay as long as you were secretly acting on behalf of a government, but I do think that just because something is effective doesn’t mean it’s right.


Well according to him In the book there is a misconception about torture. He says stress positions, bags on there head to deprive senses, and uncomfortable tempeture a are what are called aggressive interrogation. He says they rerely resort to things such as water boarding because they are not effective. And as far as murduring, is it considered murder if they are known terrorist leader or members plotting an attack.


How would you feel if a foreign government secretly came into the United States and killed someone it accused of plotting a terrorist attack?


This is very true. But then that’s brings up the delimma of are my feelings of national pride as important as the lives of innocent. I mean the story in the book is basically this guy has been following a cell and it finally led to Sweden. The guy they were after is a terrorist leader (like bin laden) and he was planning another attack in the US. Also remember he worked for a private intelligence agency, so if he got caught the US denied Assosiation.

I guess it’s hard to truly know for sure what goes on because they are the most off the record operations so it’s difficult to comment on if they are being immoral or not.

It’s all hypothetical


That’s a good point. I’m glad it’s not a decision I have to make, but the scriptures don’t condemn professional soldiers.


In the Old Testament, when Moses arrived at the border of the “promised land” he did not say, “Let’s run inside and take up posession right now”.

Nope, he sent spies to asess the strenght of the people that lived in the land.

Joust war doctrine applies to what a country can and cannot do, to wage war against another country or entity.
If the threat comes from a loosely group of people that pose great threat to it, why would the government of said country be hampered in trying to eliminate that threat.

Sometimes eliminating a leader is the only possible solution, I doubt any one can claim that the leader of a terrorist organization is an “innocent person” having planned for the murder of hundreds or even thousands of innocent people.

I will bet that such “black operations” have been carried out since immemorial time, perhaps going back thousands of years, even to the time of Moses.
We simply have not heard from these, only because the participants did not write a book about them :D.


I thought it had to do with, “The point of the lance goes into the other guy’s shield”… :hmmm:


Study and pray to St. Michael. You’ll see why and you should get some answers.


You are confusing 'joust war" with “just war”.



I recall similar controversies about some Bush Administration official who wrote a book about “enhanced interrogations” and the criticism Raymond Arroyo got for inviting him on his show.

In both cases, I think we need to point out that just because someone claims that certain actions are merely constitute “aggressive interrogation” and not torture, does NOT automatically makes these actions “not torture”.

Much as, say, people stating abortion is merely a “medical procedure” and not murder, doesn’t make it so.

Same thing about the old canard about how many legs a dog has if you call its tail a leg.


I can agree with this. But I also think bag over the head, uncomfortable positions and cold or hot temperatures are not torture. I mean some military training is worse then that (Navy SEALs). I think when you start doing intensely painful physical or mental damage to someone that is true torture. Water boarding, bamboo splinters under your nails, ect. I’m not saying that even intense interrogations would be moral but I rather not use torture as a blanket term for any uncomfortable situation.


The answer is no. That’s all there is to it. Intelligence gathering is very complicated. The whole subject of such operations has a history that is complex. And, of course, there are operations that, aside from a handful of people, no one will even know happened.

The available declassified military literature is not read by the average person. I won’t be more specific because it would be inappropriate, but on rare occasion, someone sent by a foreign government to the US to gather intelligence through infiltration is publicly exposed.



No it is not morally justifiable? I can’t tell if you are justifying intelligence gathering or just making a statement on the complexity of its use.


A certain set of circumstances would have to exist. It is morally justifiable.

If an undercover agent infiltrates a group that is known to be planning violence, say in the USA, or financing such violence, to be carried out here or abroad, then this information could be transmitted in some way and lives are saved. Those involved would either be arrested or an assault would occur. The identities of others outside the infiltrated group, say in a foreign country, could be revealed, and depending on the threat level, some type of covert operation would occur to stop this outside - but connected - group from carrying out an attack. Saving lives.

The idea is to save lives. In the most extreme cases, to also prevent either a complete weapon of mass destruction or the components for making one, from reaching the hands of those who want to use it.



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