In the early spring of 1976, Harvard University President Derek Bok began reading a 651-page green paperbound book with the forbidding title, Foreign and Military Intelligence: Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (more popularly known as the Church Committee Report).Back to home page
Like most other prominent academics, Bok was aware that for years some members of the academic community and the CIA had joined together in a secret relationship to turn many of America's university and college campuses into virtual espionage centers. He was aware that a number of professors and administrators were secretly working for the CIA, recruiting prospective agents among students, spying for the agency while overseas, sometimes helping to spy on "troublemaking" students, and using the cover of research institutes and other projects to gather intelligence.
And, most important, Bok was aware that people at Harvard were involved. He did not know how many or who they were, but he wanted it stopped.
Because the Church Committee had spent more than a year in investigating the CIA's domestic operations, including involvement with academia, Bok carefully read through the committee's final report, looking for facts -- facts that would allow him to write up guidelines for the university to set strict limits on such work for anybody who worked there.
But the report was a disappointment. On page 189, Bok found, instead of facts, this general statement: "The Central Intelligence Agency is now using several hundred American academics, who in addition to providing leads and, on occasion, making introductions for intelligence purposes, occasionally write books and other material to be used for propaganda purposes abroad. Beyond these, an additional few score are used in an unwitting manner for minor activities. These academics are located in over 100 American colleges, universities, and related institutes."
The report went on to recommend that the universities and colleges themselves "set the professional and ethical standards of its members," and that federal legislation prohibiting CIA activities on campus would be "unenforceable and an intrusion on the privacy and integrity of the American academic community."
Bok did not know that the original version of that section of the report contained considerable detail about the CIA-academia link, including references to Harvard. But when the committee submitted the draft to the CIA for clearance, the agency reacted violently. Under no circumstances, CIA officials said, could any details about the agency's role in academia be published, and it would fight any attempt to bring them under control. Then the CIA played its trump card: since the agency's relationship with academics was "covert" and "voluntary," any law restricting such relationships would be unenforceable. The committee gave way under pressure and produced a watered-down report on the academia-CIA relationship.
But to Bok the section was worse than watered down; it was useless. The committee was urging America's academic community to take some action, but without telling it what the specific problem was.
So Bok decided to find out for himself, in the process setting off an extraordinary battle between Harvard and the CIA, a battle that Bok did not anticipate and one that has raised questions about whether the CIA in fact rules the Harvard campus. The battle has been going on for three years now, and what it is all about tells a great deal about the CIA's operations on America's campuses -- operations that have cast a shadow over academia from which it may never recover.
Shortly after Bok finished reading the Church Committee report, he gathered together a small group of men to take a close look at the CIA-Harvard link and come up with guidelines for the university governing such activity. Bok made no public announcement of his action, despite the fact that his group included some Harvard heavyweights with extensive Washington experience. Among them was Archibald Cox, ex-Watergate special prosecutor, and Don Price, then dean of the university's Kennedy School of Government and an old Washington hand. (Ironically, Harvard's School of Government has provided many of the most infamous presidential advisers on "national security" affairs, including Henry Kissinger who was in charge of all covert operations for most of the Nixon years; McGeorge Bundy, a Harvard dean who performed the same function for John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson; and Samuel Huntington, now on Carter's National Security Council.)
The group set about quietly to pin down the extent of CIA involvement at Harvard. To a certain extent, they were operating in the dark: they didn't know exactly who on campus worked for the CIA, didn't know how many were involved, didn't know which students were being recruited, and they had no cooperation from the CIA. But the group was not without its resources, mainly a long list of contacts inside and outside the government, a number of whom worked for the CIA. Gradually the group -- known simply as "The Harvard Committee" -- began to get a handle on what was going on, and in May 1977 prepared a report for Bok.
Basically the group found out that the CIA's two most important operations at Harvard -- and at other American campuses -- concerned the agency's use of academics as CIA agents abroad and a network of "collaborators" on campus that "steered" the CIA to students who appeared to be good prospects as CIA agents. In most cases, the group found, collaborating professors and the CIA worked on secret background checks on the prospect without the student's knowledge or consent.
Bok accepted the committee's recommendations for guidelines, which included requirements that any faculty member who served as recruiter for the CIA be publicly noted as a CIA recruiter in the university's placement office, that no one could recruit a student for the CIA without the student's permission, that foreign students must give their permission before their names were forwarded to the CIA as potential recruits for espionage in their home countries, and that no member of the faculty could participate in CIA covert operations. Bok showed the recommendations to several members of the Harvard faculty and took their comments under advisement. Then he sent a copy to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
Bok's actions had greatly upset the CIA. Considerable debate had taken place in the agency's higher echelons, and in the summer of 1977 Bok had received an incredible letter from CIA Director Stansfield Turner. The letter said that every American citizen had a right to assist the CIA if he so chose, and that the agency was being "singled out" for control on the Harvard campus, when other government agencies and corporations routinely recruited at the university.
Then Turner tried to be cute. "All recruiting," he wrote, "for CIA staff employment on campus is overt." A casual reader might assume that Turner was denying any covert CIA recruitment on American campuses. However, as Turner well knew, under CIA terminology, "staff" covers only full-time American employees; all the others who work for or with the agency are known as "agents" or "assets."
It became clear that the CIA wanted no guidelines at all. Daniel Steiner, Harvard's counsel who worked on the Harvard Committee, says that the CIA did not even want to discuss its academic operations and refused to say whether covert recruitment on the Harvard campus or the use of Harvard professors in overseas operations would be ended.
Deeply concerned, Bok told Turner that he was simply responding to the Church Committee's suggestion and that he saw no reason why the CIA could not accept the Harvard guidelines. In May of last year after the guidelines were officially issued, Turner finally said flatly that the CIA would do what it wanted on the Harvard campus regardless of the guidelines.
That moved Bok and other academic leaders to approach the Senate Intelligence Committee last summer asking that the new charters for intelligence agencies prohibit CIA secret operations on American campuses. But despite their pleas, the drafts of the new charters that emerged later contain no provision covering CIA operations on campus. The decision reflected heavy CIA pressure against any move to restrict its academic operations.
So there the matter stands at the moment, something of a Mexican standoff: Bok's guidelines remain, but the CIA says that it will ignore them. As Turner himself summed up the agency's position, "If we were required to abide by the rules of every corporation, every academic institution, it would become impossible to do the required job for our country. Harvard does not have any legal authority over us."
Bok sees it quite differently: "CIA covert recruiting threatens the integrity and independence of the academic community. The CIA has argued that it must disregard our guidelines in the interest of national security. Let us be clear about exactly what this argument implies.... It [the CIA] insists upon the right to use financial inducements or other means of persuasion to cause our professors and employees to ignore our rules of employment and enter into secret relationships whenever it considers such activities to be justified by the interests of national security. I do not believe that an agency of the United States should act in this fashion."
Bok's one-man charge against the mighty CIA has made him something of a hero in academia but at the same time raises important questions. Why is the CIA so concerned about its operations in academia? Why did it stonewall the first attempt that was made to bring it under some sort of control? Why is it trying so hard to keep the links with academia under a permanent wrap of secrecy?
To begin with, it is important to understand that there is no higher priority at the CIA than maintaining its operations unscathed on campus. The academic world provides two key weapons in the agency's arsenal: new recruits and brain power. And there's more: priceless cover for certain operations and an academic veneer for a number of the agency's more sinister aspects.
At the moment, according to intelligence sources, at least 350 academics and administrators are covertly working for the CIA on more than 100 American campuses. They form a link with the CIA that has become so pervasive that there is some doubt whether a complete break between the two can ever be achieved. Many American campuses are experiencing a growing grass roots movement to do just that, but the movement has discovered that not all university administrations are especially eager to end the relationship, that students generally seem apathetic, and that too many faculties do not want to forgo the option of doing covert work for the CIA -- work that can be quite profitable, in some cases.
But this link with the CIA has left a stain upon the entire American academic world from which it may never recover. Too many universities, graduate programs, university institutes, and various other academic paraphernalia have gotten mixed up with intelligence operations. Academia cannot have it both ways -- on the one hand, talking about academic freedom; on the other, doing covert intelligence work for the government.
A major illustration of CIA corruption of American campuses is the recruitment of students from Third World countries. The reason for the CIA recruitment is obvious: these foreign students are their counties' leaders of tomorrow. If the CIA can recruit them now, they will later become priceless "agents in place," occupying critical positions where they will be able to pass on vital intelligence. Not all of them will wind up being spies, of course, but even if only 1 out of 100 eventually becomes, say, economics minister, then it will be well worth the investment of time and effort in recruiting all those students.
CIA recruitment among foreign students follows shifting perceptions of American government concern over various "strategic" areas in the world. Years ago the concern (and CIA recruitment) concentrated on Eastern Europe and Latin America; today it is the Middle East and Africa. One special target, because of the country's strategic importance, has been Iran, the bulk of whose foreign students are in this country.
Until the recent revolution in Iran, the CIA worked with SAVAK, the shah's secret police, to destroy "antishah" elements in the Iranian student community in the United States. The CIA and SAVAK set up a front group called the International Association of Patriotic Students (IAPS), which organized demonstrations in favor of the shah and beat up students who differed with their view of the ruler.
The CIA also gave SAVAK extensive information about Iranian students who opposed the shah. SAVAK agents in Iran would visit these students' families and pressure them to write letters begging the students to stop all political activity. But the CIA was more interested in recruiting Iranian students than in spying on them, as Ahmad Jabbarri, an Iranian student who was working on his Ph.D. in economics at Washington University in St. Louis, found out. In 1975 Jabbarri met an older man on campus who said he was studying Iranian economics on an unspecified government "research project." The man, who seemed to take a strong interest in Jabbarri's research and his future in Iran, invited him to lunch and then asked him to return to his hotel room for further discussion.
"He turned the television on very loud," Jabbarri says, "and told me he does intelligence work. Then he said he would like to put me in touch with another person. I was angry; I was being asked to choose between my government and some foreign spy agency; so of course there was no choice. I wanted to find out more about CIA covert operations; so I decided to play the game and see how far it would go."
A month later Jabbarri was introduced to the man's friend, a CIA officer in charge of recruitment of prospective agents in the midwestern area. Jabbarri carried a small briefcase with a tape recorder inside during the meeting. The CIA man offered an immediate payment of $750 for "medical expenses or whatever contingency you might have" plus a monthly "stipend," to be paid into any bank of Jabbarri's choosing. Jabbarri asked why the CIA was bothering to recruit him, in view of the close links between the shah and the agency.
"You see," the CIA officer replied, "even though there's cooperation between the shah of Iran and the United States, and vice versa, this thing is never complete. You understand what I mean?"
Jabbarri understood only too well. He strung the CIA out for several other meetings during which it proposed that Jabbarri spy on fellow Iranian students, and that the CIA could guarantee American citizenship for him if his work proved satisfactory. But Jabbarri refused all the offers, and finally the CIA lost interest.
Third World students are not the only targets of CIA recruiting, as Kemba Maish, a psychology professor at Howard University in Washington, D.C., discovered. One morning in April 1978, Maish arrived at the school and found a telephone message, asking her to call someone named "Roy Savoy." The name was unknown to her and she dialed the number on the message.
"Personnel, CIA," answered a voice on the other end. Maish was switched to Savoy who told her that the agency was recruiting black people -- specifically black psychologists and psychiatrists -- for operations in Africa. Mainly, they were to develop "psychological profiles" on African Communists. Savoy then hinted that she would be well paid for such work. He further told Maish that he had gotten her name from an administrator and a professor at the University of Maryland.
Maish told Savoy that she wanted no part of the CIA. He apologized for having bothered her and then hung up. Maish began to wonder: what were other professors doing handing out her name to the CIA as a potential agent? How did they come to be working with the CIA? How many other black scientists and doctors had the agency managed to recruit?
Maish went to the University of Maryland and decided to try to put a stop to the whole thing. First, she confronted the professor who had referred her name to the CIA (he admitted giving several names of potential CIA recruits to the agency). Maish next discovered that the CIA had also been recruiting among members of the Association of Black Psychologists, which was about to hold its annual conference in St. Louis.
Maish, who was going to St. Louis anyway, noticed that the CIA had actually set up a private room for recruiting at the convention. She went to the group's executive committee and complained about the CIA recruiting. The committee had already resolved to remove the CIA, but by that time the CIA had already talked to a fairly large number of black professionals attending the meeting; how many ultimately agreed to work for the agency is impossible to determine.
Later Maish tried to talk several colleagues out of doing any work for the agency. She gave a tape-recorded interview about the whole episode to Howard's radio station. (The tape has since mysteriously disappeared.)
"I want to make the point," she said during a recapitulation of the interview, "of how organized this recruiting effort really is, and how dangerous it can be not just to African people but also to all people of the Third World. The CIA has a long history of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. By putting down just rebellions of the people, destabilizing governments, destroying organizations, planning and financing coups, and murdering leaders, the CIA has attempted to change the course of history in places like the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, Cuba, Chile, Iran, the Congo, Ghana, and Angola, just to name a few."
Was Maish's little counterspy operation successful? It is hard to say, although the evidence suggests that CIA operations at Howard continue unabated. For each person she found who was quietly working for the CIA by passing on names of potential recruits, there might be five more whom she didn't see.
Given the fact that the CIA's bread-and-butter work is intelligence collection and analysis, it should not be surprising that the agency has always had a pronounced academic tinge (about 60 percent of its upper echelon have advanced degrees). And it should also not be surprising that occasionally the agency may consult with acknowledged academic experts on various intelligence questions -- for example, the agency might ask an academic expert on the Soviet Union to render an opinion about the projected successor to Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.
If that's as far as it went, there would be little problem. But the CIA-academic link goes far beyond that, into a netherworld where right and wrong no longer apply, where basic constitutional rights are often trampled on. A few horror stories from several American campuses convey the idea.
These are just a few of the recurring instances of what happens when the CIA and academia develop a "special relationship," as men on both sides of the arrangement like to call it. But the phrase "special relationship" doesn't even begin to describe some of the more outrageous aspects, like the CIA's 20-year program involving experiments with drugs and mind control, which eventually involved the use of 80 universities and research institutes. Dr. Jose Delgado, a behavioral scientist at Yale Medical School from 1950 to 1973, provides just one example of the dangers of this "special relationship." Delgado worked on research projects funded by the Pentagon -- along with secret funding from the CIA. He was experimenting with the implantation of electrodes in human brains that would control behavior. At one point, Delgado actually proposed that the U.S. government develop what he called "cerebral radio stimulators" to induce robotlike performances in men and animals. Fortunately even the CIA thought this a bit excessive, and Delgado returned to his home in Spain in 1970.
- University of Kentucky: Last year, Turner appeared here to make a speech. Several students sat in the audience, protesting his appearance.They were arrested by local police, and under heavy pressure from the CIA, three American students and eight Iranian students were given sentences ranging from 45 to 90 days in jail. Their crime? Protesting Turner's talk. But there's more: Turner, it develops, was also visiting the campus in his capacity as a member of the Board of Advisors for the university's Patterson School of Law and Diplomacy which, Penthouse has been told, does work for the agency. Moreover, it has also been learned that the university's placement service has an "informal arrangement" with the CIA to help recruit agents. The University of Kentucky denies having any arrangement with the CIA.
- Brown University: Barnaby Conrad Keeney, president of the university from 1955 to 1966, was also a CIA official. Formerly dean of the university's graduate school, Keeney took a leave of absence tn 1951 to develop a training program at the CIA for new recruits; when he returned to the school, he began slipping to the agency the names of students who he felt would make good agents (the problem was that most of the students had no interest in the CIA and had never applied to join the agency). While serving as president of the university, Keeney was also working as a "consultant" to the CIA. In that capacity he set up a covert funding plan in 1962 for MKULTRA, a secret CIA program to test mind control using drugs and other methods. He became chairman of the Human Ecology Fund, a CIA front that experimented in behavior control to torture enemy intelligence agents. The university's contributions to the CIA also include E. Howard Hunt and Lyman Kirkpatrick, an ex-CIA executive who now works as a political science professor at Brown.
- University of California: Earl Clinton Bolton, an official of the university system, did some free-lance work in 1968 for the CIA, contributing a memo for the agency explaining how academics publicly revealed to be working for the CIA should handle that problem: "They should explain," Bolton wrote, "their involvement with the agency as a contribution to ... proper academic goals." How working for the CIA contributes to "proper academic goals" is not explained by Bolton.
- University of Michigan: According to newly revealed documents, many individuals on the faculty of the university's Center for Chinese Studies for years have had secret relationships with the CIA, in which they provided help to the agency's China analysts. Michel Oksenberg, a former scholar at the center and now with the National Security Council, recently submitted two affidavits on behalf of the CIA in its move to block Freedom of Information suits seeking data on CIA links with the university. Oksenberg's affidavit included this phrase: "...to confirm the existence of CIA confidential contacts at a participating college or university would result in the revelation of classified information, intelligence sources and methods, and undermine the structure of valuable intelligence collection programs."
- University of California at Los Angeles: Paul Lin, a visiting scholar from Canada working at the university, had lived for 15 years in China. When he arrived at U.C.L.A. last year, CIA officials were told by "confidential contacts" among the U.C.L.A. administrative staff that Lin might be spying for Peking. Lin was put under FBI surveillance, which included wiretaps on his telephone.
- University of Illinois at Chicago Circle: There has been extensive CIA involvement at this campus because of the large number of Iranian students enrolled. Worse, the CIA worked with the FBI and the Chicago Police "Red Squad" to harass Iranian students who were openly antishah. From 1965 to 1976, the police kept a special dossier on 252 students at the school, much of the information obtained from the CIA.
Still, for a university that produced the first real American spy, Nathan Hale (class of 1773), and such notorious CIA figures as Richard Bissell (he ran the Bay of Pigs invasion), James Angleton (who headed the CIA's domestic spying division), and Cord Meyer (number-two man in the CIA's Clandestine Services), perhaps the fact that Delgado's research took place at Yale should not seem especially surprising. Yale has been a fertile recruiting ground for the CIA ever since the agency first set up shop in 1946. Indeed, so many of the agency's first executives came from Yale and other Ivy League schools that the agency for years was accused of running an "Eastern Establishment."
The charge was true, for fully 25 percent of the agency's top executives from the beginning have been Yale alumni, with the rest coming mainly from Ivy League schools. And that is only the beginning of the "old boy network"; there are any number of men wearing the same school tie who now work in foundations and corporations, all of them willing to do a favor, when necessary, for an old friend and fellow alumnus.
As the CIA began to grow enormously in the late 1950s, it set up a special top-secret section to handle "academic operations." It located the new unit on the fifth floor of an office building at 1750 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., under a phoney name: "U.S. Army Element, Joint Planning Activity, Joint Operations Group (SD 7753)." Of course, there was no such army unit. The group remained there until 1961, when the entire CIA moved to Langley, Virginia, its present home.
The first CIA man in charge of the academic operations was Tracy Barnes, who later became infamous as head of the agency's Western Hemisphere Division where he headed up the CIA's plots to assassinate Fidel Castro and the operation in Chile. Given Barnes's reputation as a covert-action man, the early use of the academics by the agency centered, in addition to recruitment of new agents, on several James Bond-type operations. For example, from 1958 to 1960, professors and graduate students were recruited into a huge spying operation against the Soviet Union. The academics were given a brief course in spying techniques and then went into Russia under various tourist or academic exchange agreements. Once inside the country, they would unlimber their "tourist cameras" and take seemingly innocuous pictures -- for example, a photo of a smokestack that might betray exactly what was being made inside, just from the color and composition of the smoke. Even more valuable was the intelligence gleaned from many dozens of trained eyes, detecting little clues that revealed Soviet industrial and military developments. Spotting serial numbers on planes, for example, will reveal clues to size of production runs.
Such operations could be dangerous. Prof. Frederick Barghoorn, a Yale history professor recruited by the CIA to do some spying while he was inside the Soviet Union, was arrested by the KGB for espionage in 1962. Considerable pressure was exerted by the CIA and other academics on President Kennedy to get him out; Kennedy personally assured a skeptical Khrushchev that Barghoorn did not work for the CIA, and the professor was quietly released. Actually Kennedy well knew Barghoorn's CIA connection but could not resist an appeal from academics at the president's Harvard alma mater.
The CIA-academic link forged in the early years of the agency remains intact to this day. There are several components.
The Students: Like any other major corporation, the CIA is constantly on the lookout for new talent. It has open recruiting efforts at many campuses but prefers to rely on "scouts" -- administrators and professors who have secret connections to the CIA and "steer" the agency toward likely prospects. Most often, this will be done covertly: an administrator or a professor sends a name of a likely prospect to Langley. The agency then carries out an extensive background check, its agents often posing as representatives of credit bureaus or insurance companies to gather information on the prospect.
If the agency decides that it wants to hire the prospect, it develops an approach based on what its background investigation -- done without the knowledge of the prospect -- has shown. "It's a real Dale Carnegie approach to recruiting," says John Stockwell, a former CIA agent now turned critic of the agency. "We were taught to find out what kind of person we were dealing with -- what made him tick? If he liked money, then we'd take him out to dinner, pay him well. If he was religious, the case officer would clean up his language and talk philosophy."
Years ago CIA recruiters concentrated on the Ivy League schools -- a drugstore near the Yale campus was a notorious meeting ground for the agency in wooing prospective Yalies -- but in recent years they have tried to broaden the agency's base by recruiting at other schools, especially in the Southwest and West. (A particular favorite recruiting target now is Notre Dame University.) The CIA aims to recruit about 1,000 students a year, of which about 200 will finally be selected. Of these, about an average 178 will eventually make it through the winnowing-out process and become CIA employees.
The Professors: Professors are invaluable not only as "steerers," since they themselves are often either current or ex-CIA agents, but also for their academic expertise. In some cases the expertise is used relatively innocuously -- the agency's analysis division, say, will contact a particularly renowned professor for his opinion on a contentious point.
But in many more cases it goes far beyond that. Some professors with international contacts are used to do a little spying while they are overseas; academia generally is an open society, and an astonishing amount of intelligence can be picked up. In addition, professors involved in various university institutes that deal in questions of military strategy and technology not only are acknowledged experts in the field but also come in contact with good intelligence. (Information about a Soviet nuclear disaster several years ago was uncovered by the CIA, despite a heavy security blanket thrown up by the Russians, when an academic with close ties to the agency noticed an oblique reference to it in an obscure Russian journal of physics.)
Then there are the "special jobs." These can run the gamut from "advising" the agency in the formulation of a big covert-action or intelligence-collection project to helping the agency out of a tight spot. Such a problem arose not too long ago when the CIA wanted to get firsthand information about Brazil's nuclear-power program, widely suspected as being a cover for building weapons. The CIA wanted to infiltrate someone, preferably Brazilian, under good cover to keep watch on the program. A professor helped out, locating in this country a Brazilian student doing post-graduate work on nuclear physics. He was recruited by the professor to work as a spy for the CIA on his country's nuclear program.
Other "special jobs" include writing reports on prospective CIA agents or writing propaganda, books covertly underwritten by the CIA. The classic instance of this type of job concerned The Penkovsky Papers, purportedly the true account of Col. Oleg Penkovsky, a Soviet missile expert who was betraying data to the CIA. After he was caught and executed, the agency secretly funded the publication of what was claimed to be Penkovsky's personal reminiscences he had been jotting down before his capture. In fact, Penkovsky never wrote any of it; the book was a concoction of the CIA -- which used two renowned professors of Soviet affairs to give the book a gloss of authenticity that fooled many.
Professors also recruit other professors. Often it will consist of a quiet approach in the faculty dining room; if the target seems agreeable, he is then introduced to a CIA official, who will pick up the ball from there.
Is there any money involved? Sometimes, although it is difficult to pin down exactly how much. Many academics involved with the CIA work for the agency out of what they perceive to be patriotism, but others demand -- and get -- money. The money usually is paid in the form of special "study contracts" awarded through CIA-connected foundations or study groups. Graduate students, especially, are susceptible to money blandishments. Research is their lifeblood, and a $15,000 research contract has been known to persuade a number of graduate students to do what the agency people like to refer to as "helping us out a little bit."
The Administrators: The CIA-academic link could not survive a moment, were it not for at least the tacit approval of some university and college administrators. In the case of the Brown University president mentioned earlier, it may be the head of the university himself; more often, there are strategically placed administrators -- deans of graduate schools, admissions and placement officers, or other key administrators -- who keep the ball rolling.
Take the case of a Brooklyn College professor named Michael Selzer. Three years ago, Selzer, an academic expert on international terrorism, made the mistake of contacting the CIA to see whether it had any information he needed for a research project. The agency immediately turned him around by saying that they might be able to help him out -- provided that Selzer "keep his eyes and ears open" during an upcoming research trip to Europe. Selzer did and, on his return, gave the agency a few items that he had picked up.
There the matter might have ended except that a colleague publicly complained that Brooklyn College was being infiltrated by the CIA. At a faculty meeting Selzer admitted his work for the agency and then dropped a bombshell: he had done it, he said, because six other professors he knew had done the same thing, all with the encouragement of the chancellor of the City University of New York himself. (The chancellor denied having done any such thing, and Selzer was stripped of his tenure.)
Actually, the CIA-academic arrangement remained a close secret until 1966, when Ramparts magazine revealed that Michigan State University was secretly training South Vietnamese police officials under a $25 million program funded by the CIA. Subsequently it was revealed that other CIA-funded secret projects were being run at MIT, Harvard, Columbia, Miami, and California universities.
Then came the National Student Association mess: revelations that the CIA had virtually taken over the National Student Association, turning it into a propaganda forum. In its wake came White House-ordered reforms in 1967, which stipulated that the CIA was to end covert funding of student groups and research centers. However, the new guidelines said nothing about the overall CIA-academia link, and business continued pretty much as before, even though many outside the intelligence community assumed that the guidelines had driven the CIA off campus. Not so, as Harvard students discovered in 1971, when they occupied an administrator's office during a protest against the Vietnam War. While in the office, they rifled the office files and were astonished to discover minutes of a private Council on Foreign Relations meeting, during which a CIA official had discussed how the agency ran covert operations overseas.
What was a Harvard administrator doing with that sort of material? The question was never answered, nor was a similar question posed by protesting Columbia University students when they found nearly identical papers in the office of an administrator of their own university during a sit-in protest. (Actually, both administrators had long worked for the CIA.)
Since then, despite occasional bursts of controversy, the CIA-academic link has remained undisturbed. Even the Harvard imbroglio has caused little change, at least publicly. But behind the scenes the CIA has been counterattacking vigorously against any attempt to control its relationship with academia.
Since last June the agency has been holding a series of "special briefings" at Langley for various university presidents in an attempt to work out secret arrangements for CIA work on campus, irrespective of whatever guidelines might eventually be written at those universities. It has also waged a furious lobbying campaign in the academic community against the Harvard guidelines, implying that if it will not recognize those, it will not recognize anybody else's, either.
About 50 universities and colleges have been trying to work out guidelines on CIA relationships. The effort has been spurred, primarily, by the Campaign for Political Rights, a coalition of 70 groups, ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to the National Organization for Women. Also leading the effort is the American Association of University Professors.
To date, the effort has not met with much success. Mainly there has been a pronounced lack of faculty support, a dearth of information on exactly what the CIA is doing on campuses, and extensive CIA infiltration of many university and college administrations. For those reasons, proposed guidelines have not fared well at a number of colleges and universities -- proposed guidelines were rejected by the University of Michigan faculty after only 45 minutes of debate (and after Turner wrote two personal letters to faculty members asking them not to accept them), and faculty groups at the University of Pennsylvania watered down a set of new guidelines so badly that they're virtually useless.
Those actions took place despite a number of interesting items uncovered by a new weapon used by critics of the CIA-campus link: Freedom of Information suits to uncover the scope of CIA activities on individual campuses. A suit at the University of Michigan uncovered documents showing how the CIA had tried to conceal its link to the university and had attempted to block a move to write new guidelines. As a result of a Princeton suit, a classified FBI document listing a number of university institutes cooperating with intelligence agencies was mistakenly given out.
The CIA has become very concerned about the Freedom of Information suits, and it has been waging furious court battles to block any further release of documents, arguing that such release exposes "sources and methods" of intelligence work. The extent of the CIA concern was shown recently when the agency worked to block a suit involving CIA operations at the University of California at Berkeley. "In many fields," said F.W.M. Janney, CIA personnel director, "it is absolutely essential that the agency have available to it the single greatest source of ... expertise: the American academic community." The agency has also argued that revelations of academic involvement with the agency would expose certain academics to "shame and ridicule" of their peers -- a tacit admission that at least some of these people have something to be ashamed of.
Whether the CIA-academia link will ever be brought under control is an open question at the moment, although the prospects do not appear too bright. Only a handful of colleges and universities, led by Harvard, have passed any sort of guidelines: the remainder of the 100 campuses where the CIA is strongest are either considering such guidelines, have no interest in considering them, or have already rejected them. The general lack of action and concern clearly worries the American Association of University Professors, which argues that unless the academic community learns to end its covert relationship with the CIA, it has no hope of retaining any credibility. "Secrecy," says Dr. Morton Baratz of the AAUP, "necessarily woven into the fabric of intelligence activities, is basically antagonistic to the free and open exercise of teaching and inquiry by members of the academic profession."