THE MAJORITY opinion is grounded in paranoia about the CIA and ignorance of the agency's history. There are only two ways to object to the CIA-sponsored Kennedy School study. One may argue that the CIA is some kind of an inherently immoral organization--whatever that means--with which Harvard should have no ties. Or one can assert that the University should have no links with the CIA merely because it is an active government agency. The majority opinion wavers between the two arguments, both of which are superficial and don't withstand minimal scrutiny.
Unless one believes that gentlemen shouldn't open each other's mail, it's meaningless to assert that the CIA intrinsically is an immoral body. America, like any other country, needs to gather information about other nations and train analysts to assess the collected data. It's that simple.
And that, simply, is all that the CIA is supposed to do. To call the CIA a "reprehensible" body because of its "secretive" nature and "history of undermining the foreign policy aims of our nation's elected representatives as well as basic international law" is unsupported cant. No such examples are given because there are none to offer.
If the Iran-contra affair showed anything, it wasn't that the "CIA can corrupt U.S. foreign policy." It was that the CIA is a tool that can be misused by the officials who make U.S. foreign policy. To argue otherwise is to forget that our elected leaders control the agency, and that it is they who are responsible for its mistakes.
The other possible argument, that Harvard and its faculty should not be linked with the CIA simply because it is a government agency, is equally facile. Such links are rampant all over the University. Incredibly, the majority implicitly asserts that it is morally permissible for the K-School to train Defense Department colonels to use nuclear weapons more "effectively" and not for some professors to assess how policy-makers utilize intelligence information.
But the majority cares little for basing its argument on facts or history. Take the conjecture that Harvard could find funding for its study elsewhere. Who says? And while we're asking questions, what does it mean to say Harvard and the Kennedy School have forgotten their "liberal nature"?
Finally, while the role of the CIA analyst who will be part of the research team of course must be greatly circumscribed, as it has been presented the project would seem unobjectionable. The CIA's task is to collect and analyze data and to help maintain American interests abroad. The K-School's mission is to study and help improve the operations of government. It would be foolish to maintain that the CIA has not acted objectionably in the past. But it has done so at the behest of leaders who failed to understand that America's interests abroad almost always fall with those on the side of "democracy." Professors Neustadt, May and Treverton can only help the CIA do its job of advising America's leaders where the interests of democracy lie.