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A Harvard professor who says he accepted a $50,000 Central Intelligence Agency grant without informing the University, as rules require, also accepted more than $100,000 in CIA money to help research a just-published book.
The book contains no mention of the funding.
Sources said Nadav Safran, director of Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, accepted $107,430 from the CIA in April 1982 to help support his writing of "Saudi Arabia, The Ceaseless Quest for Security," published last month by Harvard University Press.
The book's preface does not note the CIA funding, but does acknowledge financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Rand Corporation.
One student who worked on the book with Safran for three years said last night he had no knowledge of the CIA funding. But reports of the CIA funding were confirmed last night by sources familiar with the book. The Boston Globe also reports today that it has obtained a copy of the CIA contract with Safran, dated April 13, 1982, and reportedly signed by him.
Safran, Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, refused to discuss the book's funding in an interview last night.
Safran, a member of the Government Department faculty, has come under investigation by Harvard officials for failing to inform the University of an approximately $50,000 CIA grant, which Safran said he accepted for a closed conference next week on Islam and Muslim politics.
Faculty rules require Harvard professors to inform it of all outside funding in advance. Rules also require professors to pay the University a two-third share of all outside grants to help defray overhead costs incurred by the University.
Safran met with Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences A. Michael Spence yesterday to answer the dean's questions about the conference funding, which Spence said Wednesday were "a matter of serious concern to me."
Safran said yesterday that he told Spence that he "was at fault in not informing the University that we are holding the conference."
"There is no attempt to cheat the University out of any money, but it is a convienient way of getting funding for the center with no strings attached," Safran said.
Harvard officials said that the fact of CIA sponsorship was not of unusual concern, since the CIA is but one of numerous federal agencies which support campus research projects.
But, officials with the Office for Sponsored Research said Wednesday, they have no record of any communication from Safran informing them of the CIA conference grant.
Officials indicated that Safran might have violated Harvard funding routines by failing to inform them of the grant, but it is unclear whether Spence or any other official has determined this for certain.
Safran last night disputed the statements of officials who say they have been unaware of the CIA conference grant, saying that he informed Harvard of the grant last month. He said he received the grant in the spring, after discussing his idea for the conference with "an agency man who was around at the time."
Safran also said Wednesday that he accepted CIA funding for a conference last year on the Persian Gulf. But last night, Safran reversed himself, denying in an interview his initial statements and saying that the Persian Gulf conference was not funded with CIA money. He would not say where money for that conference came from.
In today's Boston Globe, Safran is quoted as saying that yesterday's Crimson story about the CIA funding of the conference made "gross distortions." The Globe said he declined to confirm or deny any specific statements published in The Crimson's account.
Spence refused any comment yesterday beyond his Wednesday statement in which he said he was investigating the conference funding. Spence told The Globe, however, that he would widen his probe of Safran's handling of the initial CIA grant to investigate additional concerns about the grant for the book.
The CIA has refused to comment about the grants.
Gary Samore, a former Harvard graduate student credited by Safran in the book's preface, said last night that during the three-to-four-year period he worked for the professor, Safran did not tell him he had received CIA money.
Samore, who now lives in California, said he was only aware that the Rand Corporation, a California think-tank, had provided money for the book.
Samore said that when he began working on the book around 1980, the Rand Corporation provided his salary. Subsequently, Samore said, he entered a Harvard graduate program, where he worked as a research assistant on the book for Safran and was paid out of Harvard coffers.
According to Safran, the CIA-funded conference scheduled for the Faculty Club next Tuesday and Wednesday will draw about 90 prominent Middle Eastern scholars from around the world. Conference proceedings will be off-the-record and closed to the public and press, but Safran said results of the meetings will eventually be published.
Nearly a dozen conference participants contacted this week said they were unaware that the CIA had provided funding for the event. But one participant, Daniel Pipes, a former Harvard junior faculty member now teaching at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., said he has been aware of the source of the funding but that it was not of concern to him.
In light of the Spence investigation of Safran's CIA funding, however, several Harvard scholars connected with the Middle Eastern Studies Center said yesterday they were surprised and concerned that Safran would have solicited CIA funding.
The scholars, some of them former directors of the research center, said they do not believe the center had accepted funding from the CIA in at least a decade. They said that grants from the CIA, Middle Eastern governments and other "interested parties" were rejected by the center because of a perceived "conflict of interest," one source said.
Gilbert Fuchsberg assisted in this report.
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