Sample Paper on A Covert Action

A covert Action

A covert action is an action that is executed by the government secretly to overcome their enemies[1]. The action does not necessarily involve violence but if the situation calls for violence, then the parties involved in execution of the action, particularly the government or the intelligence agents, act violently. Any action that will involve violence will particularly be enforced to discredit any enemies or any form of opposition from other parties. There are several advantages associated with covert actions as a measure of implementing peace in a country.

A covert action is easy to choose unlike other elements of policy like propaganda methodologies as well as diplomacy. It is delicate thus difficult to decide on some instruments such as pressures related to political matters because most of them include even decisions of foreign countries especially when a covert action involves violence. On the other hand, a covert action involves decisions of a single country. In fact, it is executed in a secretive manner because the enemies or rather the opposing parties are not supposed to be aware of any attacks that may be subjected to them.

Another advantage associated with a covert action is that if its execution becomes successful, it opens wide doors to the country or state to great achievements that they could not have been achieved openly. Instilling some efforts to some political pressures openly may not result to good results unlike when they efforts would have been put in place secretly. For instance, when financial support is given to a particular political candidate may influence citizens to vote for him or her thus influencing the results when elections are held. When such efforts are made openly to the public, there may be no good results[2].

However, a covert action experiences some risks. To begin with, it is sneaky in some way. This is because the issue raises questions on where to draw lines to make attempts meant to influence a government form another country especially when the action to be executed does not involve any violence. The action faces some risk of being publicized. This is because the action has to be executed for several years for it to bear good fruits[3]. The more it is in existence the more the probability of people knowing about it and this means that it no longer exists as a covert action because a covert action has to be secretive. The other risk is that it may be a source of other problems even if its execution becomes successful. For instance, when trying to influence the results of general elections in a country, this may be a source of poor governance. This is because the leaders, who may be voted for, probably do not have the best leadership qualities but they occupy those positions because of money.

I believe that the current legal oversight is not sufficient to safeguard in a proper way, the rights and freedom of citizens to enjoy good lives in their day-to-day activities. The expectations of citizens are that the system of criminal justice in their country will play its role in providing safety as well as keeping order maintained. The essential role it is expected to play is to distinguish the guilty and harmful people from the large numbers of populations inhabiting the country. However, this insight is not enough to safeguard citizens because the system has been overbalanced with cases of punishment to offenders and controlling the operations of the country as they wish. Despite the crisis that a country faces, it is important that it pay attention to the federalism, improvements and production of the country in addition to the legal insight it has.

The main purposes of congressional oversight include implementation of authority delegation. This involves crating an executive that will delegate authority and ensure that its implementation is successful. The other purposes are acting as the representatives of the citizens, making laws as well as pondering education on them to create awareness of any relevant issue to them[4]. The congressional oversight of covert operations does not seem to be so restrictive. This is because members of the congress have been having chances even to go to an extent of threatening the government to leak any information to hinder covert operations from being done. This shows that the oversight has been so linient to listen to views of the members oppose and yet the operations are said to help the country secure its interests in overcoming enemies, which is a good thing.

The following is a comparison of the conduct of operations under CIA and operations under AUMF. Operations under AUMF are within the control of the Act of the National Security while operations under CIA are only done when the president allows their conduct but as cover actions. An operation meant to be execute by the CIA can only be transferred to the AUMF if the president authorizes so because the congress has provided a definition that links the Act of the National Security to military actions.



Callanan, James. 2010. Covert action in the Cold War US policy, intelligence, and CIA operations. London: I.B. Tauris.

Daugherty, William J. 2004. Executive secrets covert action and the presidency. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.

Davis, Sue, J. W. Peltason, and Edward S. Corwin. 2008. Corwin & Peltason’s Understanding the Constitution. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.

Liston, Robert A. 2008. The Pueblo surrender: a covert action by the National Security Agency. New York: M. Evans.


[1] Daugherty.  Executive secrets covert action and the presidency. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2004), 78.


[2] Liston. The Pueblo surrender a covert action by the National Security Agency. (New York: M. Evans, 2008), 65.

[3] Davis and Edward. Corwin & Peltason’s Understanding the Constitution. (Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2008), 97.


[4] Callanan.  Covert action in the Cold War US policy, intelligence, and CIA operations. (London: I.B. Tauris. 2010). 108.