In the DS9 episode Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges, Admiral Ross secretly wants to get Koval the open seat on the Continuing Committee. When Bashir confronts Admiral Ross about this, he says "So Koval becomes your guarantee that [Cretak doesn't get the seat]. And as a man who was nearly killed for his anti-Federation activities, his recommendation to stay in the war becomes all the more convincing."

Why would they expect Koval to stay in a war, that helps the Federation, when he was nearly killed for his anti-Federation activities? Shouldn't Koval's response be to abandon the war and let the Federation be destroyed?


Admiral Ross explains it just before the quote you mentioned. Koval had been working as a Starfleet agent for at least a year.

BASHIR: How long has Koval been working for Starfleet?

ROSS: He's been providing the Federation with critical military intelligence for over a year. When he started working with Section Thirty one I don't know.

BASHIR: But in any case, we have our mole, working for us at the top levels of Romulan government. Good for us.

Since he is working for Starfleet, it makes sense that he would push its interests on the Continuing Committee.

Edit to address Craig's comment below...

It's important to understand a few things...

  1. Koval was never in any danger at all. The assassination plot was made up by Sloan, Admiral Ross and Koval himself. It was entirely fabricated.

  2. The goal of faking an assassination attempt was to bring down Cretak. This would prevent her from taking the seat on the Continuing Committee and allow Koval to take it. This seems counter-intuitive because Cretak is presented as a supporter to the Romulan/Federation alliance. However, this isn't necessarily true because as Admiral Ross puts it to Bashir

    I told you before, Julian, she's a patriot. Which means if it served the interests of the Romulans to negotiate a separate peace with the Dominion, Cretak would push that option.

    So, she could potentially abandon the Federation if she thought that was best option for Romulus.

  3. The trio of Sloan, Ross and Koval told Bashir about the "plot" in order to manipulate him into working with Cretak. They present Bashir with a seemingly credible plot to assassinate Koval. Then, they remove any Federation allies he might be able to turn to for help (communication blackout with DS9, Admiral Ross's fake aneurysm) which leaves him with a single person to turn to for help: Cretak. Cretak believes Bashir that there will be an assassination attempt. After all, Koval has been saying there is a Federation agent working within the government (plot twist: it's him!). So, she does the "right" thing and accesses the Tal'Shiar database without permission to try to find out who the assassin might be. They catch her and she is convicted of treason for this. Koval's rival is removed and he gains the seat on the committee.

  4. Now, Starfleet has an agent in the ruling body of the Romulan Empire. And he seemingly has every reason to hate the Federation because of the assassination "attempt." So, when even he is pushing for the Alliance, you know it has be good for Romulus, right? The appearance of Koval putting aside his personal "hatred" of the Federation in order to support an alliance against the Dominion gives a lot of weight to that recommendation.

  • The scene was a little clumsy in a sense - it was never made entirely clear whether Koval had always been faking his anti-Federation stance in order to make his secretely pro-Federation agenda easier to push, or whether he really did used to hate the commie bastards but had a change of heart at some point for some reason (then was able to use his real political history to their advantage for the ensuing year). I think that's why the OP is a bit confused. But, yes, either way the end result is the same — he's aligned with them now. – Lightness Races with Monica Feb 14 '18 at 10:47
  • But how does Koval being nearly killed make his cover all the more convincing as Bashir states? – Craig Feb 14 '18 at 14:54
  • @Craig, I've edit my answer to address your question and make a few things clear about the episode. – Alarion Feb 14 '18 at 16:01
  • @Alarion #4 in your answer is what I was looking for. Thanks! – Craig Feb 15 '18 at 2:11

Koval may be trustworthy because Section 31 has a cure for his illness.

In "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" (DS9 7x16), Koval is purportedly in the early stages of Tuvan Syndrome, an illness similar to ALS. Tuvan Syndrome causes degenerative effects within ten to fifteen years and death within twenty to twenty-five years. If there is a cure, it is a well-guarded secret; Doctor Bashir studies Koval's case and does not mention a cure.

Section 31 is known to use biological weapons. The organization secretly infected Odo with a morphogenic virus during "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost" (DS9 4x11 and 4x12) so that Odo would unknowingly infect the Founders. This disease was a key plot point in season 7.

Given Section 31's known medical skill and subterfuge methods, it's possible that they bought Koval's loyalty with the offer of a cure for his Tuvan Syndrome. They may even have caused Koval to contract the syndrome, knowing that they could withhold the cure to guarantee his loyalty for at least ten years before symptoms would begin to interfere with his effectiveness as an agent.

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