“You want to take over running my intelligence networks,” he said.
“Who runs them now?” she asked.
“No one, really,” he told her. “That’s most of the problem.” ~Ahsoka Pg. 352
Ahsoka in the role of Fulcrum is the apparent founder of Rebel Intelligence and yet in Rogue One we see a Rebel Intelligence operation run by General Draven and executed by Captain Cassian Andor that strikes me as much different than an organization that Ahsoka would have created.
We see two distinct acts in Rogue One that cast a rather dark light on Andor and Draven. The first is Cassian’s execution of a friendly informant to cover up whatever the informant knew about the Alliance and about the information it was seeking. The second is Draven’s order to execute Galen Erso (who was attempting to help the Alliance by supplying information on the Death Star’s fatal flaw) instead of extracting him.
While we know Ahsoka is not shy about using violence in battle and we know she has made some tough choices (like in Star Wars Rebels) both of these acts seem a clear step beyond what Ahsoka would approve of.
The idea of the “greater good” can be used to justify evils both small and great in pursuance of some noble end. I can’t help but thinking Alliance Intelligence is trending down this path and I am brought back to this exchange written by Katie Lucas in The Clone Wars episode “Jedi Crash”:
Aayla Secura: He was like a father to me. I realized that for the greater good, I had to let him go. Don’t lose a thousand lives just to save one.
Ahsoka Tano: Maybe. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t try to save his life.
The difference between Ahsoka and Cassian is the difference between a hero and a villain. Cassian is the embodiment of the old and possibly apocryphal quote, “He’s a bastard, but he’s our bastard.” Cassian and his fellow spies, saboteurs, and murderers may do some bad things for the cause of the Rebellion, but their lesser evils make them no better and perhaps worse than the “good” Imperials who are attempting to maintain peace and order in the galaxy.
I am left with many questions about Alliance Intelligence. Where is Ahsoka during this time period of the Rebellion? Did Bail’s intelligence network get taken over by a more violent and less ethical intelligence group in forming the Alliance? The fact that Cassian once operated as a “Fulcrum” would indicate that Bail’s network (or at least its traditions) still formed the core of Alliance Intelligence. Did Bail’s network get more violent and less ethical as soon as Ahsoka disappeared on Malachor?
Rogue One introduces us to a moral complexity within the Rebellion that hasn’t really been explored on screen before. Rogue One also presents us with the intriguing story opportunity of the formation and growth of Rebel Alliance Intelligence, a story I hope gets told in full.