Intelligence Gathering: Bad, For the Greater Good?


“Bad, for the greater good.” This is the catchphrase for the Netflix original series, House of Cards.

It’s a tragic drama following the life of the fictitious Congressman Frank Underwood. Its episodes are filled with illegal activities, manipulation, lies, and even murder. But all is done and justified by the mantra that “the end justifies the means.”

But do they?

Beyond the fictional Washington in House of Cards, lies the real District of Columbia that runs our nation. Of late, it seems the lines between the fictional and real DC have become increasingly blurred, and that there is a new scandal plastered across my morning newspaper each day. For me, and those like me in the millennial generation, it is our futures that are on the line every day.

And every day, it is the 535 members of the US House and Senate, along with the hundreds of thousands of federal employees who effectively hold the future in their hands.

Sure, it’s important for the government to do the work it’s required to do in the constitution – like protecting citizens. But are there limits to what can or should be done in the course of executing the requirements of our federal government? Of course there’s the bill of rights and other laws that protect US citizens from government bullying, but what about where an operation lands in the gray area of a law? Or in the case that a law doesn’t clearly define a matter in terms that apply to current technology? The confounding only continues when the government considers something already in a gray area to be of a secret nature, and takes steps to classify such that the common citizen would not have knowledge of it.

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