The national security and national interests are traditionally associated with the highest priorities of any state. In such a situation, it seems to be quite natural that a state is ready to apply all possible means to protect its national interests and guarantee the security of its citizens. However, the protection of the national interests and maintenance of the national security is not an abstract concept of a state that protects its citizens. There are real people behind the image of the almighty states that guarantees the national security and as any humans they are susceptible to error.
As a result, specialists working in various law enforcement agencies and security services, which actually guard the national security and national interests, often commit actions, which are quite arguable not only from ethical but also legal point of view. In this respect, it is possible to name the violation of basic human rights and the use of psychological and physical tortures for the sake of the national security.
Obviously, the protection of national interests and security of ordinary citizens is one of the main priorities of any law enforcement agency and security service. At the same time, these agencies and services have got such a power that they can hardly be controllable by the public. In fact, it is not a secret that after the tragedy of 9/11 and the introduction of the Patriot Act, American law enforcement agencies have got considerable power which was practically uncontrollable and the public influence on the work of security services, including such organizations as CIA, has weakened consistently.
At the same time, the methods used by such agencies and services were far from democratic, if not to say legal.
Basically, arrests and imprisonment of people without any accusations and judicial authorization practically became a norm and Guantanamo became the symbol of the violation of human rights and the use of absolutely unacceptable methods applied by law enforcement agencies and security services. In such a situation, the question concerning the necessity of the application of such measures naturally arises.
To put it more precisely, the national interests and security of citizens is traditionally viewed as the ultimate goal of the functioning of various law enforcement agencies and the threat of terror attacks, for instance, or any other external threat are viewed as the threat to the national interests and security. At the same time, the inability of law enforcement agencies to protect people from attacks of terrorists as well as any other criminals, who threaten to the safety of people but whose guilt cannot be proved at the moment using the existing legal procedures, forces law enforcement agencies to use all possible means to prove the guilt of these people and sentence them on the legal basis.
In actuality, this is a classical situation, when, in face to the threat to the national security, physical and psychological torture are applied and human rights are severely violated. In such a way, it is a classical dilemma whether ends justify means. In this respect, the only possible answer is no. It proves beyond a doubt that the violation of human rights and, what is more, the use of physical and psychological torture is absolutely unacceptable. In fact, there are a variety of legal and ethical considerations which make the use of such methods absolutely unacceptable.
In this respect, it should be said that the violation of human rights and the use of physical and psychological torture, which is a sample of the violation of human rights, are illegal. It is worth mentioning the fact that even in authoritarian states such methods are forbidden. However, in actuality, the violation of human rights and tortures are applied even in such democratic states as the USA, when the question of the national security arises. On the one hand, the arguments of supporters of such methods are quite convincing since they argue that tortures help uncover plots or plans of terror attack faster than any legal procedure and this will save many lives of innocent people (Hershock et al, 209). However, on a profound reflection, such arguments are absolutely inconsistent because, on applying tortures and violating human rights, the state that admits such facts becomes a terrorist state itself. In this respect, it should be said that the violation of human rights and tortures make people committing these acts superior in relation to other people. They feel their power and they understand that they will not be punished for the acts, which under different circumstances, would be qualified as crimes.
As a result, there appears a privileged caste of people serving to the state, while the state itself, under the pretext of the protection of national interests or national security, simply becomes a totalitarian machine which, at the moment destructs its external enemies. But who can guarantee that tomorrow the state will not search for internal enemy within the country? At the same time, the violation of human rights today create a precedent and undermines basic principles of democracy and, therefore, destroys the existing system of values of the contemporary society.