The Ethics of Reporting vs. The Ethics of Spying

 

The Tri-Wizard Tournament—Speak Slowly into My Acid Pen

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I

In Goblet of Fire, we find out through Rita Skeeter what damage an unethical reporter can do. It is obvious that her main focus is gossip and certainly not the truth. Rita Skeeter repeatedly fails to accurately document what people say, twisting it instead to her own ends and adding adjectives and adverbs to describe her “personal” observations— or, more accurately, her personal slant on her observations (GF 147, 202–3, 314–15, 437–40, 611–13)!

We eventually find out how Rita Skeeter gets so much juicy information: she is “bugging” everyone’s secure areas—by being a bug (GF 727)! Obviously, she obtains her information without the permission of the person she is “interviewing”—which is in itself quite unethical. Reporters are supposed to identify themselves and request an interview. Rita Skeeter is instead using what we would consider spy craft to eavesdrop on people and gather information.

Books_chapterart_gof_37

Unfortunately the movies skipped right over this juicy tidbit. Discovering that Rita Skeeter was an unregistered animagus may have been one of Hermione’s best moments!

 

 

Although spies are able to do eavesdrop on people, it is unethical for the press to use such means—as certain members of the press in London found out in 2011 when it was revealed that reporters were illegally intercepting and taping phone calls of famous people (including royalty) to get juicy stories. Read more about the International Phone Hacking Scandal here! 

peter-earnest-head-shot-372x372 In Harry Potter and the Art of Spying, Peter Earnest shares the story of the time he had to bug the office of one of his assets while working as a clandestine officer for the CIA!

We LOVE to HATE Rita Skeeter. Read other articles written by her on our blog! Long Lost Interview of Severus Snape, Rita Skeeter Interviews the Authors of Art of Spying , and Rita Skeeter Interviews President Obama.

Quiz: The Daily Prophet Reveals All

Cho Valentine

Voldemort may have stayed undercover for most of Order of the Phoenix, but the alert spy had plenty of chances to find out little bits of what the Dark Lord was up to. How much do you know about his clandestine operations? Oh, and how much do you know about girls? Harry certainly struggled to understand Cho….

1. Harry “feels” that Voldemort is very, very happy about something, which is front page the next day in the Daily Prophet. What has happened?

2. As Harry and Cho head for their Valentine’s date, Cho observes that unlike when Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban, something is missing. What?

3. Being a good intelligence analysis, what does Harry conclude from this fact and from the escape itself?

4. In the same edition of the Daily Prophet, Hermione discovers that someone was killed by a deadly plant. Who was killed and by what plant?

5. Harry had seen the plant but didn’t do anything. Why not?

6. Hermione concludes what about the placement of Devil’s Snare next to Bede’s hospital bed?

7. What does Harry mention during his Valentine’s date with Cho that results in making the date go terribly wrong?

8. When Harry finally realizes why Cho is jealous of Hermione he fails to maintain his demeanor or apply situational awareness and laughs at the idea of him and Hermione as “an item.” What does Cho do?

9. When Harry meets up with Hermione at The Three Broomsticks he first talks to a friend who has perhaps drank too much. Who is it?

10. When Harry goes to sit down with Hermione, what other two people are with her, to Harry’s great surprise?

 

Spy Terms:

It’s high time we discussed the different levels of secrecy in the CIA. Author Peter Earnest, current Director of the International Spy Museum, spent 25 years as a clandestine officer. But what does that mean exactly?

Clandestine Operation (n): An operation sponsored or conducted by governmental departments or agencies in such a way as to assure secrecy or concealment. A clandestine operation differs from a covert operation in that emphasis is placed on concealment of the operation rather than on concealment of the identity of the sponsor.

In plain English: The operation is so secret you won’t even know it happened. The people who conduct these operations essentially don’t exist.

Harry Potter Example: Voldemort had intended his return to life/form to be a clandestine operation. No wizard (other than his followers) was supposed to know he’d returned.

Covert Operation (n): An operation that is so planned and executed as to conceal the identity of or permit plausible denial by the sponsor

In plain English: The world knows something happened. They just don’t know who did it!

Harry Potter Example: When the Death Eaters escape from Azkaban, everyone knows someone set them free. No one, however, seems to know who did it. Those who believe Harry when he says Voldemort is back understandably suspect the Dark Lord. The Daily Prophet, however, convinced many that Sirius Black was responsible!