Democratic Reform of Intelligence in Romania: What Supported and What Hindered Progress?
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This paper seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the contemporary significance for democracy and democratic consolidation of the relationship between elected leaders and intelligence services in developing democracies. Reforming intelligence in a newer democracy (i.e. institutionalizing intelligence agencies that are under democratic control and effective) is an extremely challenging process. That is, first of all, because all democracies, both new and long established, confront a fundamental and unavoidable dilemma, or even paradox: democracy, which is based on accountability of the governors to the governed, requires transparency, including working within the rule of law and respecting human rights, checks and balances, and defined mandates; conversely, intelligence at least at some level, requires secrecy to be effective, which negates to some degree both accountability and transparency. There is no solution to the “security-democracy” paradox; rather, all democracies must grapple as best as they can with balancing transparency and secrecy. Well-established democracies, like United States or Great Britain, have developed institutions to deal with this dilemma, but balancing security with transparency is always a work-in-progress. To exemplify, sir David Omand, former security and intelligence coordinator in the United Kingdom’s Cabinet Office and former Permanent Secretary in the Home Office, makes an apt analogy between the “intelligence – democracy” dilemma and the “Cheshire Cat” in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”,1 and questions whether it is possible to benefit from the Cheshire Cat’s grin (i.e. transparency regarding intelligence work/activity), while the body, and more importantly the claws, remain hidden (i.e. secrecy inherently involved in intelligence work).
Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association Annual Conference "Global Governance: Political Authority in Transition", Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel, MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA, Mar 16, 2011
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