Dating while undercover operations

Our sense of freedom, autonomy and well-being depend partly on our ability to control information about the self and on our being able to voluntarily enter into relationships with others free from both coercion and deception.

Undercover work exploits the cognitive and behavioral aspects of intimate relations by using them for purposes beyond the relationship itself.

As part of a larger study of undercover practices I have identified a number of ethical justifications for, and objections to undercover work.

Among the objections is that of lack of respect for the sanctity of intimate relations.

Both romance and undercover activities can involve heightened efforts to create impressions, the keeping of secrets and intense bonding.

Prostitution, like undercover work, may involve roleplaying and feigning emotions (and to judge from the classic scene in the film When Harry Meets Sally, faking it is not the exclusive preserve of professionals).

I will firstconsider the Type 2 situation, where there is no psychological intimacy but there is implied or actual sexual intimacy.As one highly experienced agent put it in an interview with a co-worker, "The best undercover is exalted in what he's doing; it's almost a sexual thrill."In the case of the "Mata Hari" phenomenon, undercover and sexual roles may be professionally intertwined --although one recent account suggests that Mata Hari may have been framed.A possible link between homosexuality and spying, at least in the post-World War II British context, has often been noted.The deceptive use of sex may magnify the basic issue of the violation of trust found within the broader topic of "false friend deception."It might help our understanding of the larger topic if we focus on the narrower one.Here I ask (1) What is at stake and what is different when undercover operations have a sexual component?

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