Debate on the CIA and Academe

The CIA and International Relations Scholarship -- A Debate

    There has been an on-going debate regarding the propriety of social scientists working as consultants for the U.S. intelligence services, notably the CIA. I connect interested readers with sources pertaining to this debate.

    For information on a related debate concerning pro-U.S. bias in international relations research, click here.  

    1. Peter Monaghan, "Does International Relations Scholarship Reflect a Bias toward the U.S.?" Chronicle of Higher Education, September 24, 1999. Cover story.

    This article does a nice job of showing how political science promotes and celebrates official US policy. It is useful antidote to those who believe that universities are packed with radical professors who relentlessly criticize. The Chronicle article does not actually address the question of CIA links to academia, but it opened the door to later articles that do address these links (see below). The article contains comments from Robert Keohane, Bruce Russett, Richard Mansbach, Irene Gendzier, David Lake, Christopher Simpson, and William Thompson.

    For full text, click here.

    2. Chris Mooney, "For Your Eyes Only: The CIA Will Let You See Classified Documents - But at What Price?" Lingua Franca, November 2000.  

    An interesting article that revealed a previously unknown fact: Even before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, a significant number of prominent political scientists worked with the Central Intelligence Agency.  To my knowledge, this fact had not previously been acknowledged in public. Includes comments from Robert Keohane, Bruce Cumings, Bradford Westerfield, Richard Mansbach, Craig Murphy, Joseph Nye, Thomas Volgy, and Robert Jervis.

    For full text, click here.     

    3. David N. Gibbs, "Academics and Spies: The Silence that Roars," Los Angeles Times, Sunday Opinion Section, January 28, 2001.

    Reprinted in ten other periodicals, including the Cleveland Plain Dealer, St Peterburg Times (Russia), Daily Yomiuri (Japan), Evrensel Gençlik (in Turkish translation), and O Estado de São Paulo (in Portuguese translation).

    For English full text, click here. For German web translation, click here.    

    4. Chris Bunting, "I Spy with My Science Eye," Times Higher Education Supplement (London), April 12, 2002.

    The CIA-on-campus issue, seen from a British perspective. This article focuses on the field of anthropology, although a number of political scientists, including Robert Jervis, also are quoted.

    For full text, click here.    

    5. Daniel Golden, "After Sept. 11, the CIA Becomes a Force on Campus," Wall Street Journal, October 4, 2002. Front page.

    A useful article on how CIA-academic ties have grown considerably since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The focus is primarily on the "hard" scientific disciplines, with substantial new information about the CIA at Rochester Institute of Technology, Arizona State University, and Texas A & M. The article notes in passing that "about 30 academic political scientists and economists are now moonlighting with the intelligence community." Presumably, this figure of 30 only refers to academics who are currently on the payroll, and does not include those who had previously worked for the Agency. And of course, it also does not include the range of researchers who engage in informal, unpaid consulting and collaboration activities with the Agency.

    For full text, click here.     

    6. Chris Mooney, "Good Company: It's Time for the CIA and Scholars to Work Together Again," The American Prospect, November 2002.

    An advocacy piece, published in a magazine considered the voice of liberal opinion in the U.S. A sign of the times, no doubt.

    For full text, click here.     

    7. "CIA on Campus: The Intelligence Community Reemerges after 9/11 as a Force in Academia," Democracy Now radio program, November 13, 2002.

    This nationally syndicated radio program featured a debate between Robert Jervis (former president of the American Political Science Association) and David Gibbs, as well as commentary by Daniel Golden of the Wall Street Journal. The program, which lasted about 20 minutes, was moderated by Amy Goodman.

    To hear a recording of the debate, click here. For a written description of the debate, click here.    

    8. "Spooky Scholarships," London Guardian, December 17, 2002.

    Short article on a recent scholarship program for graduate students, set up by the CIA. The program requires student recipients to obtain security clearances. Overall, it seeks "to promote disciplines that would be of use to intelligence agencies."

    No online text currently available.    

    9. David N. Gibbs, "Spying, Secrecy, and the University: The CIA is Back on Campus," Counterpunch, April 7, 2003. Reprinted in Outlook India.

    This article provides a lengthy, critical analysis of CIA influence at universities.

    For full text, click here.    

    10. Mark Clayton, "Higher Espionage," Christian Science Monitor, April 29, 2003.

    A detailed and reasonably balanced discussion of the CIA-on-campus issue. The article quotes both advocates of intelligence consulting, such as Stansfield Turner, as well as critics, such as Bruce Cumings.

    For full text, click here.    

    11. "CIA Seeks Anthropologists," Anthropology Today 20, no. 4, 2004.

    Discussion of recent agency efforts to recruit among academic anthropologists, via the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program.

    For full text, click here.     

    12. David Glenn, "Cloak and Classroom: Many Social Scientists Say a New Government Program will Turn Fieldwork Abroad into Spying. Can Secrecy Coexist with Academic Openness?" Chronicle of Higher Education, March 25, 2005. Cover story.

    Further examination of the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars program, with extended quotes from anthropologist Felix Moos, who favors academic collaboration, as well as David Price, who opposes collaboration. The article contains some excellent information on the historical background regarding the CIA's past infiltration of academe, including academic involvement in counter-insurgency programs in Thailand during the 1960s.

    For full text, click here.    

    13. Phil Baty, "CIA Outrages UK Academics by Planting Spies in Classroom," Times Higher Education Supplement, June 9, 2005.

    Critical comments on the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program.

    For full text, click here.    

    14. David N. Gibbs, "The Question of Whitewashing in American History and Social Science," in Four Arrows [Donald Trent Jacobs], ed., Unlearning the Language of Conquest: Scholars Expose Anti-Indianism in America (University of Texas Press, 2006).

    Analysis of the CIA's influence in the social sciences, and its effects on scholarship.

    For full text, click here.   

Arizona State University and the CIA:

    1. Nicole Girard, "CIA Recruitment Sparks Campus Protest," ASU State Press, September 6, 2002.

    Student responses to CIA recruitment efforts at Arizona State University, as covered by ASU's student newspaper.

    Full text available through Web Devil archives (registration required).    

    2. "ASU Partners with CIA on Research Projects," Associated Press, March 30, 2003.

    Details on the CIA and research activity at Arizona State. Discusses ASUs new president, Michael Crow, who recently worked for a private sector spin-off of the CIA, called In-Q-Tel Inc. It notes that Crow "has top-secret clearance."

    Full text available through Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe (search under "News Wires").    

    3. Kirsten Searer, "ASU’s Crow Partners with CIA on Research Projects," East Valley Tribune [Mesa, Arizona], March 31, 2003.

    The article is celebratory in tone and dismissive of critics, but it does provide some interesting information. Crow openly acknowledges intelligence ties and defends his background this way: "We have definite aggressive, mobile active enemies that are interested in the destruction of our country." Presumably, the CIA protects us from these enemies and makes us safer. Judge for yourself.

    For full text, click here.    

    4. John Dougherty, "Mission Impossible: The Arizona Legislature May Prove to be too Much for ASU's Unsinkable Michael Crow," Phoenix New Times, May 29, 2003. Cover story.  

    More on ASU's Michael Crow, with substantial discussion on Crow's ties to the Agency and the (generally uncritical) reaction from the university administration.

    For article full text, click here (CIA material begins in the middle of Section 3).     

Historical Background on the CIA and Covert Operations:

    1. Bruce Cumings, "Boundary Displacement: Area Studies and International Studies during and after the Cold War," Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars 29, no. 1, 1997.

    Excellent introduction to the history of social scientific collaboration with the CIA.

    For full text, click here.     

    2. David Price, "Anthropologists as Spies," The Nation, November 2, 2000.

    Analyzes the CIA's longstanding relationship with the anthropology profession.

    For full text, click here.    

    3. Public Information Research Inc., "CIA on Campus" (web-based archive).

    This is a very useful site for persons interested in researching the historical background to the CIA's relationship with academia. The site reproduces the full text of numerous articles and documents pertaining to this issue, some of which are almost 40 years old.

    To connect to this web site, click here.    

    4.  U.S. Senate, Covert Action in Chile, 1963-1973 (Washington, DC:  Government Printing Office, 1975).

    Fascinating report, which details U.S. efforts to overthrow Chile's democratically-elected president, Salvador Allende. The report was part of the larger investigation of the CIA undertaken by the Senate select committee on intelligence, chaired by Senator Frank Church (the "Church Committee"). Sadly, covert operations -- and the reports by the Church Committee -- have nearly vanished from political science journals during the past decade.

    For full text of the Senate report, click here. For a Spanish translation of the Senate report, click here. For the most recent documentary information on covert operations against Allende, from the National Security Archive, click here. For the State Department's 2000 assessment of the Chile operation ("The Hinchey Report"), click here.    

    5. U.S. Senate, Complete Set of Reports from the Church Committee Investigation of the CIA

    Finally, someone has entered this hard to find, multi-volume set into digitized format. A valuable historical resource, from an unimpeachable source. See especially the first report, which includes the documentation on CIA efforts to assassinate Castro, Lumumba, and others.

    For table of contents, with links to full text, click here.    

    6. Report to the President by the Commission on CIA Activities with the United States (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1975).

    Report on CIA spying activities inside the US. The investigation was directed by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. Considered to be far less interesting and less revealing than the reports of the Church Committee (above).

    For table of contents, with links to full text, click here.    

    7. U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, "Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba," March 13, 1962 (recently declassified).

    This document presents a proposed operation against Cuba, termed "Operation Northwoods." It was proposed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and forwarded with a cover memo by General L. L. Lemnitzer, Chairman of the JCS. Northwoods provides an excellent illustration of what a "dirty" covert operation looks like, and it advocated the following:

        We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba... We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington... We could sink a boat load of Cubans en route to Florida (real or simulated). We could foster attempts on the lives of Cuban refugees in the United States even to the extent of wounding... Exploding a few plastic bombs in carefully chosen spots, the arrest of Cuban agents and the release of prepared documents also would be helpful.

    The overall objective was to create "pretexts... [which] would provide justification for U.S. military intervention in Cuba." It is remarkable that such a plan was actually described in writing, and that it was declassified in full. Fortunately, Northwoods was rejected and never implemented.

    For the full text of the document, click here. For a written description of the document, prepared by the National Security Archive, click here.     

    8. White House, Memorandum of Conversation [transcript of meeting among Henry Kissinger, Gerald Ford, and Shah Mohammad Pahlavi], May 15, 1975 (recently declassified).

    Kissinger et al openly discuss possibilities for trying to "buy off" academics who criticize U.S. foreign policy.

    For full text of document excerpt, click here.    

    9. "Should the US Fight Secret Wars?" Harpers, September 1984.

    This is the transcript of a public panel on covert operations, chaired Senator Daniel P. Moynihan, where supporters and opponents of covert operations engaged in a rare -- and revealing -- debate. Includes comments by John Stockwell, George Ball, Ray Cline, William Colby, Leslie Gelb, Ralph McGehee, and Morton Halperin, among others. Some historically significant points were made in this forum, including Colby's suggestion that US sponsorship of Mobutu Sese Seko was one of the greatest successes in the history of covert operations.

    For full text, click here.    

    10. US Senate, Drugs, Law Enforcement, and Foreign Policy (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1987).

    This report contains Senate hearings regarding the important subject of narcotics trafficking and their role in covert operations undertaken during the late Cold War. The published report is now hard to obtain, but it has been scanned and been made available in digital format through the Memory Hole website. This collection contains 1,800 pages of material. It is interesting to note that the investigation was directed by Senator John Kerry.  

    For a description of the document collection, with links to full text of both the hearings and the final report, click here.    

    11. Declassified CIA and FBI Documents on Anti-Castro Terrorism in Cuba

    These documents describe the career of Luis Posada Carriles, "a former CIA agent" and "one of the 'engineer[s]' of the 1976 terrorist bombing of Cubana Airlines flight 455 that killed 73 passengers," according to the National Security Archive description. This site also contains links to press articles, pertaining to Carriles.

    For access to the documents, with full text links to the originals, click here.    

    12. William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II (Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, third edition, forthcoming, October 2003).

    The best single, comprehensive volume on covert action, presenting the history of many CIA operations. Well documented, with extensive references to primary sources.

    For Amazon listing, click here

Page created by David N. Gibbs

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