Ethical Obligations

The problem of ethics and administration can take many forms and can happen at all levels of government service.  One good example of an administrator who faced this kind of decision was George Tenet, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency during the administration of George W. Bush.  When the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City happened on 9/11, Tenet was put into the position of advising the president.  But how that advice was given became an opportunity for Tenet to wrestle with some difficult ethical questions. The case study asks you to read about Tenet’s actions and offer your opinion as to whether or not you feel Tenet acted ethically.  As you read the case study, you might want to reflect on some of the elements we’ve covered in the block.  Is Tenet guided by an “ethics of ultimate ends” or “ethics of responsibility?”  Which of Dwight Waldo’s “map” of “ethical obligations” seems to be influencing Tenet’s thinking (and is that a good thing)?  Do any of the approaches to ethics outlined in Chapter 12 help you to evaluate Tenet’s decisions?

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