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Harvard: A Threat To Privacy


By George K. Sweetnam

CIA Director Stansfield Turner thinks that Harvard discriminates unfairly against his intelligence agency.

Turner's concern arises from a set of guidelines the University issued in May to regulate relationships between members of the Harvard community and U.S. intelligence agencies.

The guidelines call for the restriction of faculty involvement in CIA recruiting, forbid Harvard employees from performing active intelligence work for the agency, and declare that the CIA should not "employ members of the Harvard community in an unwitting manner."

The guidelines also state that any faculty members who have individual consulting arrangements with the CIA should report those arrangements to the dean of their faculty, who should inform the president of the University.

A committee of four heavyweights in the University hierarchy formulated the guidelines, apparently the first of their kind in the country, and declared in a report in May that relationships with the CIA could pose "a serious threat to the independence and integrity of the academic community" if they continued without regulation.

But Turner, in a letter he sent to President Bok in June, asserted that the guidelines could violate faculty members' "consititutional rights to privacy and free association and possibly expose them to harassment and damage to their professional careers."

Turner continued, "Attempts to regulate the private lives of our citizens in a manner discriminatory to any particular group, profession or segment of society poses serious risks," and said Harvard should not "single out any group, despite what may be transient enthusiasm for doing so."

Daniel Steiner'54, general counsel to the University and a member of the committee that formulated the guidelines, discussed Turner's objections in Washington in late September with spokesmen for the CIA director.

The University and the CIA are still talking intermittently about the guidelines, and have not reached any conclusions.

Dale Peterson, public affairs officer for the CIA, said last week the talks have focused only on the requirement that individual faculty members report individual agreements with the CIA.

Steiner declined to discuss the content of the talks, but a reliable source in the University administration said this week that the Harvard-CIA talks are in fact looking at much broader questions.

The discussion may be strictly academic, anyway. Bok said this week that he knew of no CIA consulting arrangements concluded either individually or through the University, although he said he was sure individual faculty members are providing advice to the CIA.

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