Disclosing identities of secret agents is a modern form of political intervention and non-violent protest. This is a way for individuals and the public to actively participate in the process of government arbitration without legal actions. Since the public is the active participant and served by the agents of the government, then the disclosure of identities is not unethical. It also is a relevant and non-violent way to intervene in national issues with a direct impact on the leadership serving the public interest.
Secret or covert operations are by their nature intrusive to the public interests, both politically and socially. In situations where the individual is threatened or harassed by a covert agent, the most legally acceptable option is full disclosure of all identified participants. It is also a way to motivate immediate social and political impact. Transparency of the government serves the interests of the people. The motivations for disclosure of identities is purely personal or economic.
Freedom of Information
If it does not serve the interests of the government, then the people have the right to decide how it serves their interests. The public has freedom of information, so by default disclosure of secret information is only a risk to those protected by secrecy. Disclosure of identities would eventually have been done, whether by leaking of information legally or otherwise. Nothing secret is outside the boundaries of general freedom of information. The motivations for disclosure of identities in this situation is to use it for social and information exchange.
In most cases, the best defense is the way that leaked information enhances or motivates public opinion. If the disclosed information halts the process of a covert operation, it is only because the majority of people are actively against the operational goals. Secret agents are not guaranteed the right to privacy, as their actions are sanctioned and not private. The actions taken to reveal identities is subject to public opinion. The motivations for disclosure of identities in this situation is political.
Essentially the disclosure of secret agent identities is a modern form of political intervention and non-violent protest, it is extremely effective at stalling actions of the government, military, law enforcement and political entities. The consequences that are created can be seen as justified, if the motivational goal is met. Covert actions are impacted greatly by the use of these kinds of counter intuitive strategies.
Continue reading the 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action.