The role of covert action in relation to strategic decision making is to leverage the skills and talents that covert action lend to the situation while at the same time appearing to have no direct knowledge or contact with situation. In the article Secret intelligence, Covert Action and Clandestine Diplomacy, Richard Aldrich state “that secret service activity includes ‘Operations to influence the world by unseen means-the hidden hand’. The use of covert action is to further a countries, security, military, economic and business interest.
A conflict can exist when an intelligence agency is in charge of both collecting the intelligence and then using that information to carry out covert actions because now that agency is now making decisions that could affect relationships with foreign countries. If the covert actions are traced back to a particular agency when an operation goes wrong it will most likely severely damage US relations with that country and possibly the allies of that nation.
Another issue is that agency in is execution of covert action has now engaged in policy making initiatives which should be left up to policy makers unless it was sanctioned by those who have that authority. In the case of the Cuban Missile Crisis Georgi Bolshakov (GRU) was used to reassure President Kennedy about the Russian mission in Cuba. The Russians had set up missiles with nuclear warheads on the island and used Boslshkov to make it appear as if Washington had a back channel to the Kremlin. It was also discovered that another Russian Agent Aleksandr Feklisov (KGB) had not been working under the direction of Moscow when he claimed that Russia would began to withdraw the missiles from the island.
He initiated actions on his own, and even though he filed a report back to his agency this was never delivered to Khrushchev, and the United States had once again deceived. Actions like this can cause issues with trust when agencies or individual within the agencies go rogue and initiate policy on their own that may not be in line with what the leaders of that country wish to accomplish. This kind of diplomacy can be very dangerous in situations in which two countries are on the brink of a war as it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In conclusion I believe that covert action can be used to both support state craft, and it can be used as a tool to carry out actions to further the interest of a nation.