M. Scott Peck, in his book People of the Lie, suggests that truly evil people demonstrate "malignant narcissism", a term coined by Erich Fromm.
Interestingly, Peck says this narcissism is characterized by an "unsubmitted will". p. 78 He goes on...everyone who is mentally healthy submits themselves to something higher than themselves. Be it God, an ideal, truth, etc. The narcissist is consumed with his/her own image and his/her desires (specifically that they not be intruded upon).
"In Buber's word, the malignantly narcissistic insist upon 'affirmation independent of all findings'." p. 80 Peck distinguishes between sin "missing the mark" and evil, which the malignant narcissist demonstrates, which involves both a denial of any sin, cover-up, and/or blame-placing.
This kind of narcissist has an "unacknowledged sense of their own evil nature. Indeed, it is this very sense from which they are frantically trying to flee. The essential component of evil is not the absence of a sense of sin or imperfection but the unwillingness to tolerate that sense. At one and the same time, the evil are aware of their evil and deperately trying to avoid that awareness." p. 76
Thus the attempts of the truly evil to get rid of the guilt instead of the sin.
Contrast this with psychopaths or sociopaths who don't seem to have a moral grid. They can commit an unspeakable act and not know either that they have done something wrong nor the harm that this action caused.
Tomorrow I'll probe into the problem of division of the conscience within organizations, and because the US gov't is itself a big organization will ask the question if the US demonstrates signs of malignant narcissism.