CIA at Rutgers University
CounterSpy, June - August 1984, pp. 42-44

Rutgers University: Intelligence Goes to College

by Konrad Ege

Rutgers University Professor Richard Mansbach is examining whether political organizations in Western Europe are endangering U.S. geopolitical and military interests. Has the West German Green Party managed to undermine NATO unity? Are the anti-nuclear Dutch churches infiltrated and directed by Communists? What parties in the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, France and England put roadblocks in the way of the foreign policy decisions of their governments?

Richard Mansbach's effort is not your average academic research project. The professor is a consultant to the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA commissioned the project and is paying well over $20,000 for it.

At Rutgers, Mansbach is known as an intelligent and liberal professor. For two years, he served as the environmental commissioner in his hometown of Bridgewater, New Jersey and in one of his courses about nuclear war, students are required to read a piece by peace activist Helen Caldicott.

In 1967, Mansbach wrote his dissertation at Oxford University ("The Soviet-Yugoslav Rapprochement of 1955-1958: Its Political and Ideological Implications"). Then he became an assistant professor at Swarthmore College and Rutgers University. Later on, he served as a visiting professor at the University of Singapore and at Princeton University. Today he is the chairperson of the political science department at Rutgers in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Throughout virtually his entire career, Mansbach has had close ties to intelligence and other government agencies. In 1975, he lectured at the CIA, in 1977 at the United States Information Agency (USIA), in 1982 at the National Security Agency and at the U.S. Army War College. In 1978 he served as a consultant to the USIA. From January 1981 to January 1983, Mansbach was a full-time staffer at CIA headquarters.

In those two years, Mansbach worked in the National Intelligence Council's European Analysis division. Apparently, he did a good job. As Mansbach was leaving, his superior let him know that the CIA had "profited greatly" from his service. Mansbach was also invited to rejoin the CIA whenever he wanted.

But Mansbach made a different career decision. He went back to Rutgers to become the head of the political science department. The CIA's National Intelligence Council immediately tried to develop projects on which their valuable researcher could work while at Rutgers. The Council chose ENSAP -- the European Non-State Actors Projects. (Non-state actors are those organizations, institutions and individuals who attempt to influence government decision from the outside.)

For his ENSAP effort, Mansbach is assisted by Rutgers Professor Harvey Waterman. As does Mansbach, Waterman has a top-secret security clearance. About 100 students have been gathering information for ENSAP for academic credit. Most of the students don't know that they are working for the CIA.

Mansbach has also written to dozens of organizations and research institutes in Europe. In his form letter, the professor states that "a research group in the Political Science Department at Rutgers is embarking on a study of social, economic and political changes in Western Europe that may affect national foreign policies vis-à-vis the Atlantic Alliance." Mansbach asks his European colleagues to inform him of "completed work, or work-in-progress, that may be useful to us in our effort to synthesize what is known about the many aspects of change in West European society and politics."

The letter does not mention that this "research group" is financed by the CIA. Neither does it disclose that Mansbach works as a CIA consultant.

ENSAP is based on the theory that there has been a resurgence of European opposition movements over the last few years which aim to influence the decision-making process on foreign and military policies. ENSAP is to determine how they prevent the European governments from following a "consistent" foreign policy, and how they impact on U.S.-European relations.

The term "non-state actors" includes organizations and institutions from a wide spectrum of society: churches, the media, opposition parties, unions and women's groups -- to name a few. About churches, for example, ENSAP -- i.e., the CIA -- would like to know how many members there are; who is in charge of their publications; what their "known assets" are; and how extensive their "tax-exempt property" is.

Questions about the media aim for information about ownership, circulation, and "advertising revenue and sources." As far as women's groups are concerned, ENSAP is interested in their alignment with other forces. And asks: "How homogenous are women's groups?"

The ENSAP questions apparently were changed at CIA's request. The CIA demanded "data-intensive analysis." Mansbach apparently will present the CIA with his research results in August 1984. In addition, he plans to write a book based on the ENSAP material.

In his book Quantitative Approaches to Limited Intelligence: The CIA Experience, Richards Heuer, the former head of the CIA's Methods and Forecasting Division, confirms that an ENSAP-type research project, financed by the CIA, is different from "regular" academic research. "While the academic researcher is relatively free to define a problem on his own terms, our [CIA] research problems are greatly defined by the requirements of U.S. foreign policy. The academic researcher chooses a topic for which data are available, whereas it is often new problems (or old problems defined in new ways) for which the policymaker requires intelligence analysis."1

Analysis for the CIA is geared toward providing information that shows how the CIA might be able to influence events. Detailed information about a publication's advertising revenue, for instance, might allow "someone" to influence its editorial policy through pressure on large advertisers. Information about the homogeneity of women's groups might give clues about how to disrupt them.

According to some of the students working on ENSAP, Mansbach is especially interested in uncovering "communist influence" on opposition organizations. The West German Green Party has been closely scrutinized in that regard, said one student.

To Rule The World

Mansbach is not an isolated case. CIA Director William Casey places great emphasis on close collaboration with universities. In a 1981 speech to agency employees, Casey stated that CIA officers "regularly" meet with scientists and academicians to discuss a wide variety of questions At the University of Illinois (Chicago), for example, the CIA has been funding a project to "develop statistical models of governability on a global basis."2

While the U.S. government might not be quite ready to govern "on a global basis," it is making every effort to keep control of individual countries. Academia plays a role in laying the groundwork and maintaining the status quo. At Villanova University in Pennsylvania, for instance, the CIA, through the consulting firm of Booz, Allen and Hamilton, has been paying Professor Justin Green to gather information about the New People's Army, the armed wing of the communist Party of the Philippines.3

According to Casey's predecessor, Admiral Stansfield Turner, the CIA's relationship with academia has "been of inestimable value to the intelligence community." In working with the professors, however, Turner wrote to Harvard University president Derek Bok, that the CIA was not willing to comply with existing university regulations about "outside contracts."

When the CIA was taken to court several years ago because it refused -- and still refuses -- to release files containing the names of professors who had consulted for the CIA, F.W.M. Janney, then the CIA's personnel director, expressed even more clearly the CIA's need for assets in the academic community. In many fields, Janney wrote, it is "absolutely essential that the agency have available to it the single greatest source of expertise: the American academic community." CIA officers in the National Foreign Assessment Center, Janney added, regularly consult with academicians on an informal and personal basis, often by telephone."4

According to former CIA press spokesperson Dale Peterson, the CIA has been holding three to four conferences for university presidents a year to discuss "mutual problems." Many of the presidents accept the invitations, Peterson said. Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show, for instance, that several university presidents (from the University of Tulane in New Orleans, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Minnesota), along with Jack Peltason, president of the American Council on Education, met with Turner and a number of high-ranking CIA officers at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia in June 1978. The academicians were given confidential briefings, including one by John Stein, then Associate Deputy Director for Operations, and by the Deputy Chief of the Domestic Collection Division (whose name is deleted on the FOIA documents).

Turner had invited the presidents, saying that it was time to improve CIA-academic relations. "In the wake of considerable public criticism over the last several years," Turner wrote in a May 1978 letter to Michigan University President Robben Fleming, "the Agency has had difficulty in maintaining open and mutually beneficial relationships" between the CIA and academia. "I would like to ask your help and advice in determining how best to restore a useful but proper connection between academia and the world of intelligence."

The conference seems to have been a success. Several days after it, Turner wrote to Jack Peltason that he found "our exchanges were both stimulating and helpful." "I am especially appreciative," Turner continued, "of the concrete suggestions that you and your colleagues left behind." Turner's letters to the other participants were equally laudatory, although Peter Magrath from the University of Minnesota urged Turner to keep his participation at the CIA conference secret.

Pentagon Contracts

The CIA is not the only intelligence agency active at U.S. universities. For the last few years, the Defense Intelligence Agency has increasingly tried to "farm out" research projects to academicians and universities. In 1981, for instance, the DIA offered various universities specializing in African studies hundreds of thousands of dollars. CIA analysts wanted to attend these African studies departments to study languages. And, the departments would also participate in DIA research projects and conduct field studies.5

According to a Christian Science Monitor article, all African Studies Centers (there are 12 in the country) turned down the DIA offer, in spite of the DIA's promise that everything would be "out in the open, aboveboard." Rita Breen, executive officer of Harvard University's Committee on African Studies argued that any intelligence linkage is a suspicious one.... Even the agency's overtures might compromise scholars, there is so much suspicion of U.S. intelligence." Other academicians argued that collaborating with the DIA was incompatible with academic openness. And that "even the appearance of such a relationship is very dangerous from an academic point of view."6

Even more common than university collaboration with intelligence agencies is university research for the Pentagon. (The 1976 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the CIA stated that academics collaborating with the CIA "are located in over 100 American colleges, universities and related institutes.") Two hundred and fifty universities and colleges had Pentagon contracts during 1980 and 1981, with a combined value of about $1 billion. Two universities were able to attract nearly half of that money: Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Johns Hopkins University.

Topics for academic research projects range from biological warfare related issues (University of Maryland at College Park) and laser technology (University of Washington at Seattle), to weather modification (Berkeley) and submarine warfare (Catholic University).

Universities are becoming increasingly dependent on Pentagon money under the Reagan administration. While programs such as the National Science Foundation have been cut, the Pentagon budget is on the rise. Several months after Reagan took office, an internal Princeton University memorandum stated that the university would try to make up some of the NSF cuts by applying for Pentagon grants. Chemical and biological warfare were listed as especially promising fields.7

The lucrative Pentagon contracts and a close relationship with the CIA have tied many universities closely to the "national security apparatus." The Reagan administration is deliberating additional steps to bring the international studies field virtually under the control of the National Security Council. Under such an NSC scheme -- favorably described in a publication of Georgetown University's Center for Strategic and International Studies -- the NSC, advised by governmental and academic committees, would be in charge of allocating government money for various international study projects. The NSC would determine which research best served U.S. government interests.8

Advocates of that scheme argue that the U.S. has a "deficit" in international studies research. This is said to have impeded foreign policy decisions. "Failures" such as the revolution in Iran were not intelligence failures, but research failures, according to Robert Ward (Stanford University), one of the originators of the NSC scheme. "There was ... a persistent failure to analyze or appreciate the precariousness of the Shah's rule in Iran...."9 As of now, universities simply are not prepared to research problems in a timely and systematic way geared to policy makers. Under the NSC proposal, that would change.

Some university presidents have expressed concern about "academic freedom" if much of the government money for research is channeled through the National Security Council. And the NSC plan is likely to remain on hold until after the presidential elections. With further cuts in other government funding programs, however, it seems likely that more and more universities might eventually agree to the project. Many U.S. professors have no qualms about doing research for the CIA and the Pentagon. They seem to agree with former CIA Deputy Director Frank Carlucci's statement that the CIA functions much like a university.

Some organizations and individuals examining the CIA's academic connections have come to a different conclusion. The Student Cooperative Union at the University of California, in its report entitled "A Censored History of Relations Between the University of California and the Central Intelligence Agency" concluded that the "university cannot collaborate with the CIA without sharing culpability for its actions. Research done for the CIA has direct impact on the lives of people around the world.... As long as the university functions as a service agency for the CIA, or as a cover for its 'academic' and propaganda purposes, any claim to the university's role as an open and democratic institution is farce."

1.   Quoted in Walden Bello, "CIA Taps Academia to Design Post-Marcos Scenario," CounterSpy, 8:2, December 1983 - February 1984, p. 29.

2.   See CounterSpy, 7:2, December 1982 - February 1983, p. 8.

3.   Cf. supra, n. 1.

4.   Washington Post, 12 June 1978.

5.   Christian Science Monitor, 20 August 1981.

6.   Ibid.

7.   See John Kelly, "Princeton is No Tiger Lily," CounterSpy, 6:4, July - August 1982, pp. 23-29.

8.   Robert Ward, "Studying International Relations," The Washington Quarterly, Spring 1983, pp. 160-68. See also Andrew Kopkind, "A Diller, A Dollar, An NSC Scholar," The Nation, 25 June 1983, for an analysis of the NSC plan.

9.   Robert Ward, "Studying International Relations," The Washington Quarterly, Spring 1983.


This article appeared first in an abbreviated version in Konkret (Hamburg, West Germany), May 1984.

CounterSpy sidebar:

The Professor Speaks

First telephone call to Mansbach. Question: Who is paying for the ENSAP research? Mansbach: "Basically the State Department." Is it true that you are a CIA consultant at present? "Yes, it's true, but it has nothing to do with ENSAP."

Second call, a few days later. Confronted with more evidence, the professor cedes that ENSAP is financed by the CIA. The professor is angry. His work in ENSAP presents no conflict with academic standards, he says. "If I saw a conflict, I wouldn't do it." Everything about ENSAP is open, according to Mansbach.

The professor says he does not like the "conspiracy sound" of the questions. He prefers it, he says, when intelligence agencies gather material the way they do it through ENSAP. Intelligence agencies should use more open sources, he adds.

Mansbach also denies that he discussed the shape of ENSAP with the CIA. CounterSpy has documents proving the contrary.

New York Times, 28 November 1984, p. B2:

2 Are Admonished On C.I.A. Project

Two Rutgers University professors were admonished yesterday by school officials who said they had failed to adhere to university guidelines while doing a research project for the Central Intelligence Agency and should have better informed a class in American foreign policy that its term papers would be part of the research.

A statement by Dean Tilden G. Edelstein, the head of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, suggested that the professors, Richard W. Mansbach and Harvey Lee Waterman of the political science department at the university's New Brunswick campus, had "acted inappropriately."

"Research contracted by a Federal agency must be endorsed by the Rutgers Office of Sponsored Programs and administered by the university's Research Contracts Fiscal Office," Dean Edelstein said. "The Mansbach-Waterman project was not so endorsed or administered."

More Dirty Tricks from CIA-Rutgers

From Waltzing With a Dictator by Raymond Bonner (New York: Times Books, 1987). This footnote on page 150 is based on Bonner's interview with Paul Kattenburg, a Foreign Service Officer in Guyana in 1968:

Though the agency's covert efforts in the early 1960s to bring down Guyana's socialist President Cheddi Jagan has been written about, U.S. involvement in the subsequent election has remained secret. In the 1968 election the CIA actively assisted Forbes Burnham, with many of its efforts channeled through the Eagleton Institute for Research at Rutgers University. In addition to providing Burnham with money, the agency engineered an amendment to the Guyanese Constitution that permitted Guyanese citizens residing outside the country to vote. On election day some 16,000 votes for Burnham were "manufactured" in New York City. Then the United States watched as Burnham turned out to have been a closet leftist and moved his country closer to the Soviet Union.

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