Espionage - Dan Silva's Prince of Fire and the Patriot Act, a Review of Public Policy


"Spying is a pursuit as old as civilization and a craft long practiced by the most skilled and treacherous of strategists. In the wake of 9/11 and amid looming showdowns with Iraq and North Korea, intelligence gathering is at the center of a debate over the rights of the individual and the needs of national security."

What do we fear as Americans? What we take for granted may some day be gone. With the advance of the Internet and information technology available to terrorists tiny explosive devices can be made from something as available as household lawn fertilizer. These devices are powerful enough to destroy nearly half of a city block. With these types of threats on the rise it would seam that espionage and spying are the only possible counteractive solutions to combat these rising threats. Since the wake of MKULTRA (C.I.A. Mind control experiments), The Watergate scandal, and The Bay of Pigs many people feel that espionage violates are constitutional rights. Although espionage, as seen in the novel Prince of Fire by Dan Silva, can be seen as a corrupt and deceitful practice that violates our civil rights and liberties, it is necessary to protect national security when our enemies employ this tactic in an attempt to destroy the security and freedom we value as Americans.

The novel prince of fire is an exemplary of espionage today. Not only does it contain the element of espionage as a theme but deep routed Anti-Semitic hated can be found as well. Moreover Anti-Semitism is less prevalent than the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Silva in-fact shows his own deep routed hatred for the former leader of the Palestinian state. Silva stated in an interview with Bookpage a book review publication: "I personally believe that Yasser Arafat and his terrorist organization, Black September(Officially an Intelligence organization), showed the Bin Ladens of the world the way(Meaning it was a role model for Muslim extremists)" In contrast Silva also exclaimed how faltered are the intelligence organizations in Europe. "Procrastination was the order of the day...Many mundane meetings was canceled, much routine paper work was put off till Monday"

The book also presents the issue of Antisemitism in addition to espionage. Prevalent thought out the novels is the terrorist desire to annihilate the Jewish people in combination with the desire to reclaim their holy land. "Letter bombs mailed to Israeli diplomats and prominent Jews across Europe." In an interview he states that "I've always been interested in the birth of Israel and the Arab-Israeli wars and the history of the Holocaust and watching these two peoples in this terrible death struggle. It's been a lifelong passion of mine". Silva's novel presents a fictional approach to modern day espionage.

Silva's novels often question the morality and ethics involved in espionage. Just as in Silva's novels Americans we have certain moral and ethical values as well as human write in which we believe all Americans are entitled to. In 1950's -1960's the U.S. government violated the basic civil rights of its own citizens for completely unknown reasons. U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy gave an account of this in his testimony to the U.S. senate in 1977. He states: "The Deputy Director of the CIA revealed that over 30 universities and institutions ere involved in an 'extensive testing and experimentation' program which included covert drug tests on unwitting citizens 'at all social levels, [high and low] , native Americans and foreign.' Several of these [tests involved] the administration of LSD to 'unwitting subjects in [social] situations.' The Central Intelligence Agency drugged American citizens without their knowledge or consent. It used university facilities and personnel without their knowledge." In this statement he revealed only half of the horrors of the shocking MKULTRA operation. The operation was headed by Dr. Sidney Gottlieb who was known for his inhumane experiments. He tortured his victims, locking them in water chambers that deprived the senses while dosed on LSD. He would also make recordings of his patient's therapy sessions, he would then play a tape loop of the patient's most self-degrading statement over and over after the patient had been restrained in a straitjacket and dosed with LSD. There is doubt that the CIA operation MKULTRA and its antecedent MKSEACH were indeed unethical. The question remains of whether this type of espionage is necessary today. Since the uncovering of the Watergate scandal the C.I.A has gone downhill at least from a public opinion standpoint. Many people just lost faith in our country's main source of domestic and foreign intelligence. In spite of the CIA's failures, intelligence still plays a key role in our nation. The father of our nation George Washington according to U.S. News and World report was an accomplished spy master." "Washington did not really outfight the British," England's chief of intelligence in the Colonies grumbled to London newspapers after the war. "He simply out spied us.". Spying is much more important than actually fighting the battle; if you know what your enemy will do, you won't have to fight as hard.

"Like it or not espionage has won wars and influenced culture".The C.I.A. helped us win the cold war, from the Manhattan project to the discovery of moles hidden in their organization. WWII was also won with the help of the NSA or National Security Agency. The agency works with the C.I.A. but the two organizations duties and obligations remain separate. The NSA helped decode intercepts sent through Japan's "purple machine", eventually the decoders had cracked this machine. This allowed the U.S. government to intercept and read almost all of Japan's communications with the flick of a button.

Now with the advent of computer and satellite, technology the U.S. government can listen into nearly any conversation in the world. The U.S. government after 9/11 instituted the U.S. Patriot Act which allowed them to use theses intercepted telephone conversations to catch terrorists. Many people feel that the U.S. Patriot Act gives to much power but many argue that if could have prevented 9/11. Violating someone's personal privacy is infringing on their civil liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution but people must accept these intrusions when it comes to terrorism and threats of terrorism where millions of lives are a stake. The status quote is not protecting civil liberties that are why The U.S. Patriot Act should be limited to only terrorism. There as, any evidence found by utilizing the jurisdiction of The U.S. patriot act is only amassable in which terrorism is the crime.In the book "Prince of Fire" by Dan Silva Gabriel commits many acts that may have violated people's personal privacy but Gabriel acted in such to prevent terrorism. One examples of this is when he goes though the telephone tapes for clues he finds terrorist information which saves lives. If Pre-9/11 warnings were taken seriously and intelligence was moved diligently we could have prevented 9/11. But one factor still remains, is espionage corrupt and deceitful? The answer is yes, espionage can be corrupt and deceitful and violate our civil liberties, but it is necessary to protect national security when our enemies employ this tactic in an attempt to destroy the security and freedom we value as Americans. The freedom we take for granted today may be gone tomorrow. Many countries do not have the freedom we enjoy in the U.S. we live in a democracy, not in a totalitarian regime. Freedom from fear, knowing that our borders are safe, and the reliance of our elected leaders will protect our freedoms.

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