A former Intelligence practitioner specialising in counter-terrorism. Employed as Senior Researcher in VTI, working on a 4-year, multi-disciplinary research project examining counter-terrorism policies in liberal democracies. Working week is Tuesday-Thursday (0.6FTE). Also employed as part-time lecturer with London Metropolitan University in Terrorism studies. Part-time consultancy work in Somalia with GlenGulf International, delivering capacity-building projects in counter-terrorist Intelligence. Additionally supervising postgraduate students for Liverpool Hope University, on the MA in Intelligence, Analytics and Media.


The top-level aim of the research project is to answer the following question: What ought a morally permissible and efficacious (i) structure of counter-terrorist institutional arrangements, and (ii) counter-terrorist tactics, for a contemporary liberal democracy collaborating with other liberal democracies inter alia facing the common problem of international terrorism consist of?

  • What is the nature and causes of international terrorism and how is it to be morally and conceptually demarcated from, for example, wars of liberation and more traditional forms of terrorism?
  • What is the analysis of the notion of collective moral responsibility applicable to institutional actors?
  • What forcible counter-terrorist tactics, e.g. preventative detention, targeted killing, are morally permissible and under what circumstances?
  • How are these tactics to be integrated with a broad-based counter-terrorism strategy which rely on the citizenry and includes such non-forcible measures as anti-radicalisation measures?
  • How morally ought the key security agencies – police, military and intelligence – be redesigned to combat international terrorism in the diverse contexts of well-ordered jurisdictions, disorderly  jurisdictions and theatres of  war? How, for example, is the military role to be demarcated from the police role in counter-terrorist operations in disorderly jurisdictions? Is there a morally problematic blurring of the roles of different security institutions, e.g. militarisation of police? Should an intelligence agency such as the CIA be in charge of operations involving the use of lethal force? What powers of  security agencies constitute morally impermissible institutional overreach in a liberal democracy?
  • What accountability mechanisms need to be designed in relation to the use of (otherwise morally acceptable) counter-terrorist tactics, e.g. judicial oversight of drone strikes?
  • Burke, P. (2013). Fit to Fight or Unfit for Purpose? A Review of the Effectiveness of the Intelligence Cycle in UK Counter-Terrorism, 2003-2013. London Metropolitan University.
  • Burke, P. (2011). The Terrorist Threat to the Maritime Security of the UAE. (F. Field, Ed.) (1st ed.). Abu Dhabi: Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research. 

Paul Burke


  • Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management

    Building 31

    Room number: Hague office

Values, Technology and Innovation

Ethics/Philosophy of Technology

Research interests:
Targeted Killings / Extra-Judicial Killings
Counter-Terrorism Legislation
Counter-Terrorism Intelligence

Intelligence Oversight

Additional information

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