This is a classic brain-monkey-throws-poo-instead-of-giving-me-the-info-I-need moment! I ‘ve been struggling with a scene where a certain character must make a decision, after receiving some distressing news. <— (Not the main character.) I would like to put a similar scenario up for you to comment on and offer a fresh look from another perspective. In essence you will be contributing ideas for a scene in my story, if you take part.
What follows is the setting, with some questions pertaining to various parts. I would ask for as much description as you are able so that I can view the emotions you might imagine.
You are a ranking official of the CIA.
You have personally trained and befriended one of your lead officers.
You receive an emergency order, from your superiors, about this officer, and others in his team, for crimes of ongoing high treason, murder, espionage, and terrorist activities. You are given video, and other evidence to prove the allegations. You are given the last known whereabouts of the criminal and other officers he has coerced into other similar crimes listed. You have video proof of some of these high crimes and corroborating evidence based on some things he said to you days earlier.
The order calls for the immediate termination of the criminals. Some of the murders are personal friends and/or loved ones, yet these people were some of the most loyal offers you ever worked with in the past.
How would you respond?
To what degree would you pursue the criminals?
Now, say you have located there hideout and found an underground terrorist ring that far exceeds anything you ever imagined. Now you receive communiqué that these ex-officers are high in the chain of this terror cell, but not at its head. You are to eliminate the ex officers, but keep the leader for questioning. How do you respond?
My hypothetical answers…
I imagine the first thing I would do is to get incontrovertible proof. Even if I saw video, I’d want more before I condemned trusted agents to death. I would feel it my duty to do so.
If I had that proof, and these agents had in fact committed murders and treason, I’d have only one thing to say to them once I tracked them down: “tell me why.”
Their answer would determine whether I help them disappear, or shoot them in the head.
Thanks so much, for your input. I can see that you would want proof; makes sense. What if you had incontrovertible proof of high treason, but not murder?
(This is really giving me the answers I am seeking! This scene will be amazing—hopefully…)
From my layman’s perspective, it seems to me that working in an intelligence agency is very gray. There are no clear black / white or right / wrong distinctions. People have to make tough decisions, and commit lesser wrongs to avoid greater ones. The “why” would still be of utmost importance. I think at that point any further decisions would derive from ideology, not patriotism or duty (to one’s friends or country).
Awesome answer, I had been thinking along those lines as well. I wasn’t sure if others had those same functions of logic or methods of belief.
Sure, and I think that’s a valid concern. From a storytelling perspective, I’d find a blindly patriotic approach to be jingoistic and uninteresting, both as a writer and reader. But that’s just me.