According to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary INTEGRITY Main Entry: in·teg·ri·ty Pronunciation:\in-te-gr-t“\
Etymology: Middle English integrite, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French integrit©, from Latin integritat-, integritas, from integr-, integer entire
Date: 14th century
1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values:
2 : an unimpaired condition: soundness
3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided: completeness
synonyms see honesty
Contrary to the dictionary’s definition, as a general rule, when working in the area of personal or executive protection, the word “integrity” is more aligned with the word “loyalty.” This can cause problems if you are an especially moral person who will be greatly bothered by the less-than-honest behavior of the principal under your protection.
From the perspective of the private life of your principal, he or she is entitled to complete and absolute confidentiality, which may or may not “fit” with your personal code of ethics or morals.
Here’s an example: You are protecting a celebrity principal. Let’s call him Mr. Brown. In the course of an evening out on the town, your boss tells you to take him to an address that belongs to a young woman who joins him in the back seat of the limo, for a brief or a lengthy period of time. A few hours later the detail heads for the principal’s home and the interim shift takes over.
You report for duty as usual around noon the next day, and the principal’s spouse asks you a direct question: “Last night, when you were protecting my husband, did you see him with another woman? Has he cheated on me?”
What is your answer?
1. Mrs. Brown, I would not be able to tell you if even if I knew.
2. Mrs. Brown, that is a question you should ask your husband, not me. His marital or extra marital activities is not my concern. I am paid to protect him.
3. Mrs. Brown, I have never seen your husband involved with another woman.
4. Mrs. Brown, I wish you had not asked me that question.Â I have to be honest and tell you he has been unfaithful many times.
No matter what your religious, family or personal values, the straight truth is that if you want to succeed in the field of executive protection, you must deny witnessing the adultery (#3). Your loyalty is to your client, who is Mr. Brown. Secondly, I would suggest you tell Mr. Brown that the question of his fidelity was posed to you by his wife.
This was always our way of dealing with adultery within government protective details. It isn’t pretty,it isn’t nice, it isn’t truthful–but unfortunately, it’s reality. If a principal’s immoral behavior causes you stress or discomfort, you have two choices, and two choices only: 1. Deal with it or 2. Leave the detail and find another job. Above all, maintaining confidentiality is the key to success in this field.
Of course, as you conduct your duties, or in the event that an incident occurs that brings you into contact with and are questioned by law enforcement authorities, you MUST always be honest when queried. Should you fail to answer law enforcement’s questions truthfully, you could be charged with a crime, thus prohibiting you from continued work in your chosen field.
Do you recall when Congress issued a subpoena to a certain President’s Agent in Charge from the Secret Service? Only under Congressional or court order did the agent tell the truth about the President’s extramarital affair.
Could you recommend any specific resources, books, or other blogs on this specific NLP topic?
Reaching back into my days in the field, and this is just one man’s opinion, its neither integrity or honesty that directly applies in this situation – it’s confidentiality, pure and simple.
Now, from a morality standpoint – and this is where integrity comes into the equation as well –
if the principal’s behavior so sharply contradicts with your morals then you have to make a decision, based in no small part on whether the moral conflict created by the behavior will impact your ability to effectively protect that person (with your life , if it comes down to that). If you think it may affect, in any way shape or form, your ability or willingness to protect that person then you have to act ethically and with integrity and resign your position.
Either way, I believe you have a responsibility to maintain that confidentiality. The ONLY exception being a clear violation of the law that may place the principal or someone elss in jeopardy. Again, just one man’s personal and professional opinion.