CIA at Tufts University
The National Reporter, Winter 1985

Tufts University: Students Counter Spies

by John Roosa

When the director of the CIA's regional recruiting office visited Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts the night of October 3, he received a surprise. Twenty-five students staged a nonviolent direct action, stopping him from speaking at what had been advertised as a CIA "informational meeting." The protestors formed a human wall between the CIA recruiter, Stephen L. Conn, and the students who had come to hear the presentation. Conn told a Tufts newspaper reporter that such sessions had "occasionally" been met with protests on other campuses, but that this was the first time that students actually "prevented us from giving the presentation."

The Tufts administration reacted by calling the protestors before a disciplinary panel. The protestors in turn defended their action, using the hearing to publicize CIA crimes and denounce Tufts' policy of allowing the Agency to recruit on campus. In arguing before a supportive audience of about 90 people that their action was justified, the students noted that under Tufts' disciplinary guidelines persons are punished only when their actions have breached the "standards of the community," so that any decision would be a political judgement on what those standards are. They argued further that the administration, not the students, was violating the "standards of the community" in allowing the CIA on campus.

Faced with this defense, the disciplinary panel chose not to discipline the students but at the same time stated that the protestors had violated university rules.

After the disciplinary process was over, the protestors met with three deans and confronted them with specific university policies violated by the CIA's campus recruitment activities. The deans, deciding that some important points had been raised and knowing that the CIA was not planning to return to Tufts until at least the following semester anyhow, temporarily suspended CIA recruitment of undergraduates until a panel of deans could determine if university policies were in fact being violated.

After the protestors issued a press release on the deans' decision and the actions of October 3, the Associated Press, National Public Radio and other national and local media picked up the story. The Boston Herald, the local Rupert Murdoch paper, was outraged enough to run a lead editorial tided: "Tufts Wimps Out with Its CIA Ban."

The next day Tufts president Jean Mayer rescinded the temporary suspension. In a written statement, he denied that CIA recruitment had ever been banned, explaining that "any policy on recruitment must be a University policy, not policy of an individual school." One dean told protest leaders that Mayer had been pressured to take the action after receiving complaints from Tufts trustees. Privately Mayer admitted, "It would be difficult pragmatically and ideologically for Tufts to ban agencies of the federal government from its campus.

Mayer's decision is easily explained. Although a small school, Tufts sends a large number of students each year to the CIA. A 1981 survey by Tufts' student newspaper reported that twelve undergraduates had been interviewed by the Agency during the previous year, four had received offers, and two had accepted jobs. Even more recruiting takes place at the university's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, an institution Mayer himself acknowledges to have a "hawkish reputation." As America's oldest graduate school of diplomacy, Fletcher has been an important training center for future Foreign Service officers. The last three U.S. ambassadors to El Salvador -- Thomas Pickering, Deane Hinton and Robert White -- are Fletcher alumni, as are five other current ambassadors, several high-level State Department officials and over 250 other officers. At the same time, Fletcher is also an important training center for potential CIA employees. The most recent Fletcher alumni book lists nineteen graduates who acknowledge currently holding positions at the Agency. Probably an equal number of graduates have left the CIA over the last decade while others hold deep cover positions and cannot admit their true employer.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that there are high-level ties between Fletcher and the CIA related to recruitment going back at least to 1972. In that year, according to letters and memos, Fletcher officials took great pains, in preparing for the school's annual Washington "placement trip" for graduating students, to include the CIA on the group's itinerary. Recruiter Harry L. Russell reported to Langley that Fletcher Dean Edmund Gullion and Assistant Dean Larry Griggs "are extremely happy about having their students invited to the Agency and are quite honored." Wanting not to pass up such a good opportunity to cultivate two important university administrators (as well as potential student recruits), the Agency arranged an unusual two-hour briefing by top-level officials.

Over the next four years, Fletcher officials apparently developed ever closer ties with the CIA -- and the CIA reciprocated by recruiting for Fletcher. In late 1976 an undergraduate at one New England college, recruited by the CIA for its summer intern program, was encouraged by his Agency contact, recruiter Charles R. Pecinovsky, to consider attending Fletcher. Pecinovsky then arranged for Fletcher's Larry Griggs, whom he described in a letter as a "working acquaintance," to send the student admissions material. At the same time, Griggs and other Tufts personnel were receiving free research materials from the Agency. As the Tufts newspaper noted in reporting these gifts, "the CIA has been known to provide nonpublic information to academics for use in their work, increasing their prestige and promotion prospects, and sometimes their sense of obligation to the Agency."

It is easy to see why CIA recruiters would seek ties to Fletcher and encourage students to go there. Fletcher's faculty includes a handful of present and former government officials, some of whom have held posts requiring high security clearances. Material from their courses would be useful in intelligence work, while their backgrounds could help them spot students with potential talent for such work. Such professors include:

Another faculty group at Fletcher consists of those who specialize in strategic studies and who, though they have not necessarily served in government, are nonetheless well-known in government circles. They are affiliated with Fletcher's Program in International Security Studies and with a think tank associated with the school, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis. Their courses, too, would be useful to students wanting to enter the intelligence community. Uri Ra'anen heads the Fletcher program, and Robert Pfaltzgraff heads the Institute. The two, who have collaborated on several books, served on Ronald Reagan's advisory team on foreign policy and intelligence during the 1980 campaign, although they insisted they did not want government posts. One strategist who did join the Reagan Administration was W. Scott Thompson, a former assistant to the secretary of defense, who took the post of associate director for programs at USIA at a time when that agency has been increasingly used for propaganda and political-action projects that might in earlier times have been carried out by the CIA.

It is very likely that some of these Fletcher faculty members are active consultants for the CIA. The Agency's current Coordinator for Academic Relations, Ralph E. Cook, is after all himself a Fletcher alumnus. The CIA documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, which run only up through 1978, confirm that several Tufts political scientists did have consulting relationships with the Agency at least during the mid-1970s. One was former Fletcher professor Geoffrey Kemp, who left to join the National Security Council in 1981. The documents reveal that Kemp was paid $1250 to attend a CIA conference on nuclear proliferation in October 1978. "That was an academic exercise," he told the Tufts newspaper. "Very rarely are they on classified subjects. I have participated in several of these."

The Agency was embarked on a campaign at that time to improve its standing with universities, which had been in decline ever since Congress had begun its inquiries into CIA activities in 1974. Kemp's conference was part of that effort. Another part was a series of meetings by CIA Director Stansfield Turner with university presidents. It was at this time, Tufts President Jean Mayer says, that the Tufts president met "his good friend" former CIA chief Stansfield Turner, who has since joined Mayer on an advisory board to Monsanto Corporation. Soon afterward, CIA tried to forge financial ties with Tufts. Turner offered the school an undisclosed sum of money for a research project on world famine -- an offer perhaps made to impress Mayer, who is a nutritionist by profession. In 1978, the CIA also offered $100,000 to $200,000 to assist a Fletcher international economics class studying the impact of the then newly discovered Mexican oil fields.

Mayer rejected both offers. He said that the Agency link, which would have been open, would have made "much of our work abroad very much more difficult."

Fletcher has been eager however to take money from the two foundations most active in recent years in publicly promoting the need for a strong CIA. One of them, the Scaife Foundation (together with the closely linked Scaife Family Charitable Trusts and Allegheny Foundation) has provided the largest part of Fletcher's foundation backing since 1977, donating over $1.5 million. The other, the Smith Richardson Foundation, contributed over $100,000 from 1979 to 1981 for two projects it describes as a "project on [the] history of Vietnamese communism" and the "completion of [a] study of communist propaganda and political warfare." Since 1978, these two foundations have also provided most of the private funding to Pfaltzgraff's Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, with Scaife alone donating over $500,000.

The promotional efforts of the CIA by these foundations, consisting so far of at least eleven separate projects together costing over $500,000, appear to have begun on October 30, 1978, when Scaife president Richard Larry phoned Ernest Lefever (an IFPA "research consultant") to ask if his Ethics and Public Policy Center at Georgetown University would supervise a study of media treatment of the CIA and the KGB. This work resulted in the pro-CIA collection by Lefever and Roy Godson, The CIA and the American Ethic.

Six months later, Scaife sponsored a conference of Fletcher's International Security Studies Program entitled: "Intelligence: Deception and Surprise." In attendance was an assortment of scholars and former spies, including Reginald Jones, Director of British Scientific Intelligence during World War II; former CIA officer Thomas Latimer, staff director of the House Intelligence Committee; former CIA Director William Colby; former Czech intelligence officer Ladislav Bittman (contributing the obligatory exposition on KGB "active measures"), Richard Perle, soon to be Assistant Secretary of Defense; and Harvard's Richard Pipes, a CIA consultant who soon afterwards joined the NSC.

Fletcher programs also receive corporate support, with most of that support for the International Security Studies Program coming from four companies which hold intelligence-related government contracts: Raytheon, EG&G, Hughes Aircraft and United Technologies. The first three have representatives on Fletcher boards; their presence gives the companies a say in school affairs. Raytheon has a particularly close relationship with Fletcher. The maker of missiles, electronic warfare devices and other military products, Raytheon is represented by its former chairman, Charles Adams, on both Fletcher's Board of Visitors, where he is chairman, and on IFPA's Board of Directors. Adams is also a trustee emeritus of Tufts. Philip Phalon, a Raytheon senior vice president, sits on the Advisory Council to the International Security Studies Program. Theodore Eliot, in turn, is a Raytheon director.

Just as there has been no known funding by the CIA at Fletcher, there are no current CIA employees known to be on its boards. Still, some members have former ties and many are supporters of a strong CIA. Besides Adams, the Board of Visitors includes Gerald Blakeley, longtime business partner of CIA lawyer Paul Hellmuth; Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee; Hadyn Williams, president of the former CIA proprietary, the Asia Foundation; former CIA employee Joseph Sisco; Henry Cabot Lodge, the former ambassador to South Vietnam; and Winston Lord, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and former top aide to Henry Kissinger. Besides Phalon, the 19-member Advisory Council to the Program in International Security Studies includes former CIA analyst William Bundy; Stansfield Turner; former CIA Deputy Director Bobby Inman; U. Alexis Johnson, longtime member of the 40 Committee, the CIA oversight group of the NSC; R. Daniel McMichael of the Scaife Foundation; Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway, a former Scaife trustee; Reginald Jones; Rear Adm. Jonathan Howe, Director of the State Department's Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs; Ret. Gen. Andrew Goodpaster; Robert Everett, president of the CIA-linked MITRE Corporation; Charles Wilcox of Hughes Aircraft; and Ret. Adm. Elmo Zumwalt. With members such as these, the complaints to Mayer over the temporary CIA recruitment ban should come as no surprise.

There is evidence, in fact, that many connected with Fletcher see the opportunity the school offers for jobs with the CIA not only as a right of students (as Mayer has argued) but as a national duty as well. Robert Pfaltzgraff contends, for example, that "the idea of courses in intelligence in schools of international affairs, and especially in professional schools, emerges from the consideration of the needs of the intelligence community set forth [at the Fletcher intelligence conference]."

Despite its many CIA ties, Tufts does not have any formal guidelines governing those ties. A number of universities established such rules in the wake of congressional revelations in the 1970s about abuses in the CIA's academic relationships. Tufts was not one of them. "We will evolve a [comprehensive policy] out of practical experiences," Mayer told the Tufts newspaper in 1981, "but at this point any rules would be premature. It is understood [though] that if people are approached by intelligence groups of any kind, they should report it to the President. We don't want our professors to be arrested as spies."

But even without specific guidelines, CIA recruitment currently violates several Tufts policies. The university's Student Handbook states: "Tufts exists in a larger society and provides no immunity from city, state or national laws. The university will not play the role of policeman ferreting out crime. But neither will the university serve as an accomplice."

The CIA is currently in violation of the Neutrality Act, the War Powers clause of the Constitution, the Boland Amendment (prohibiting the overthrow of the Nicaraguan government), other statutes and several treaties. Even former CIA Director Stansfield Turner has acknowledged that the CIA is in the business of breaking the law. He used this fact in his argument against the Reagan Administration's proposal to permit CIA covert operations inside the United States.

The principles of the College Placement Council, principles to which Tufts adheres, requires recruiters to "honor the policies and procedures of individual institutions" and for organizations to take responsibility "for the ethical and legal conduct of their representatives throughout the recruiting process." Despite this, the CIA conducts covert recruitment, involving surveillance of students, and fails even to conduct "overt recruitment" openly. While Director, Turner noted candidly, "If I were required to abide by the rule of . . . every academic institution in the country . . . it would become impossible to do the required job of our country."

Several Tufts deans in their discussions with protestors acknowledged the validity of these arguments. Mayer's decision to rescind the ban on recruitment was not based on Tufts rules, however, but on "pragmatics" and "ideology." The case of Tufts and the CIA illustrates how some universities have sacrificed their independence and academic freedom for the chance to become servants of the state. Even now, Fletcher is making plans for its annual Washington placement trip in January 1985. Once again, the CIA is likely to be included on the itinerary.

Despite the wide student opposition to CIA recruitment and the initial promise of a consideration of the matter on its merits, there is now little likelihood that the CIA will be banned from the Tufts campus, no matter what its foreign atrocities or domestic abuses. Tufts' powerful patrons have spoken.

John Roosa is a student at Tufts University.

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