No, Benjamin Sisko did not commit murder in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s episode, “In the Pale Moonlight”.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s iconic episode “In the Pale Moonlight” shows Benjamin Sisko willing to do quite a bit to get the Romulans into the war with the Dominion. In a private journal entry that he dictates in his quarters, Sisko goes through the events of the last few days. In it, we see Sisko come up with every plan possible to get the Romulans into the war.
One such idea is showing them a forged hologram of the Dominion planning an attack against the Romulans. The Romulan representative knew it was a fake, called out Sisko for it, and then got blown up thanks to a cleverly placed by in his shuttle, thanks to Deep Space Nine’s resident Cardassian, Garek.
When Sisko confronts Garek, the often duplicitous seamster, accused Sisko of wanting Garek to plant the bomb, even if Sisko never said any such thing. Garek is known for being true, and weaving a narrative that suits him best, and he did just that with Sisko.
Yet, despite Sisk not having any direct involvement with Garek’s assassination plot, some fans, like that at GameRant, wrongly claim Sisko committed murder.
"…Captain Benjamin Sisko, is forced to cross the line to help save the Federation from the torment of the Dominion. His actions arguably make him a war criminal, as he underhandedly orders the murder of a foreign dignitary in order to manipulate the Romulan empire into joining the war against the Founders…"
Benjamins Sisko did not order the murder of anyone
Hot takes are fun but rarely right. Sisko never ordered, underhandedly or otherwise, the murder of anyone. He never hinted at it, suggested it, nor did he want it. In fact, Benjamin Sisko told us what he did;
"So I lied, I cheated, I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder."
Now, you may see the “accessory to murder” and think “aha, see!” but words have meaning, despite what you may think. Being an accessory to murder is not the same thing as ordering a murder. Most times when you get charged with an accessory charge, it comes after the fact.
Sisko didn’t order the killing of the Romulan officer, but he did help cover it up and didn’t expose Garek’s crime. That makes him an accessory. Now, since he did not know of the assassination plot prior, he can’t be charged with an accessory before the fact, as he had no knowledge of the pending murder. He did not knowingly help Garek in any way prior to Garek’s actions.
He did, however, cover up Garek’s crimes and fail to report him, so he is guilty of being an accessory to murder after the fact. And I have to stress, that is not the same thing.