ANOTHER FACET OF Harvard's relationship, past and present, with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) emerged last week as Dr. Martin T. Orne '48, the director of a Medical School hypnosis research project in the early '60s, outlined how his group unwittingly received $30,000 from the CIA. Last week's disclosure of Orne as the "unidentified researcher" mentioned in a University statement on CIA funding of Harvard projects raises several questions, centering not so much on the hypnosis research--which does not seem to be controversial--as on the University's decision to honor Orne's request to remain unidentified.
The University statement concludes that since the research was not improper, Orne's right to privacy "outweighs the University's interest in full disclosure and the public's right to know." If the University justifies withholding documents on relatively mundane projects, how much easier would it be to do the same with potentially controversial ones, when the projects' researchers will surely increase the pressure on Harvard not to release the information.
The University's attitude toward releasing information on CIA-funded projects is particularly distressing in light of the fact that last week's disclosure of the CIA's interest in Orne's work will certainly not be the last word on the agency's involvement with Harvard. Other researchers with more to hide than Orne may also ask to remain unidentified, but the University should pursue a strict policy of disclosing all information it receives from the CIA. And the first step in accordance with this policy should be the release of documents relating to Harvard's involvement in the CIA MK-ULTRA projects. Daniel Steiner '54, general counsel to the University, said in October that he would release these documents. Now that Orne has been identified as one of the researchers who received CIA funds, the University no longer has an argument for withholding the documents.