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National Security Law

University of Michigan Law School

Detention

2007

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Secrets And Lies: Intelligence Activities And The Rule Of Law In Times Of Crisis, Simon Chesterman Jan 2007

Secrets And Lies: Intelligence Activities And The Rule Of Law In Times Of Crisis, Simon Chesterman

Michigan Journal of International Law

This Article will consider generally the prospects for an approach to intelligence activities based on the rule of law, focusing on the problem of covertness. In particular, it will examine the debate over how law should deal with crises, epitomized by the "ticking time-bomb" hypothetical. On the one hand, some call for a pragmatic recognition that, in extremis, public officials may be required to act outside the law and should seek after-the-fact ratification of their "extra-legal measures." On the other hand, others argue that the embrace of "extra-legal measures" misconceives the rule of law, underestimates the capacity of a …