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Comparative International Law$
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Anthea Roberts, Paul B. Stephan, Pierre-Hugues Verdier, and Mila Versteeg

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190697570

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190697570.001.0001

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Intelligence Communities and International Law

Intelligence Communities and International Law

A Comparative Approach

(p.251) 12 Intelligence Communities and International Law
Comparative International Law

Ashley S. Deeks

Oxford University Press

The lack of certainty about the precise status of various intelligence activities in international law fosters conditions under which states can choose—and have chosen—different paths through the thicket. This chapter compares how certain states’ intelligence communities (ICs) approach their international law obligations. The United Kingdom asserts that its IC’s activities comply with international law. The United States, in contrast, implies that certain IC actions may violate international law, though it avoids specific public statements about such deviations. This chapter identifies and analyzes the problems and benefits posed by the competing approaches and offers lessons about the capacity of international law to constrain core national security activities.

Keywords:   electronic surveillance, international law, foreign surveillance, espionage, spying, covert action, human rights

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