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Reaction Mixed

By Kristin A. Goss

Reaction was mixed in recent days to Dean of the Faculty A. Michael Spence's report on the Nadav Safran's handling of two Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) grants.

Richard N. Frye, one of three members of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies Executive Committee who in October called for Safran's resignation, called the report a "whitewash" in which larger moral issues were not raised.

"We [the executive committee] are fired and slapped on the wrist, and our reaction as individuals is outrage. We're being condemned for being carriers of bad news," said Frye. The Spence report disbands the committee and shifts its power to another body.

"Safran has a lot of energy, but Mussolini made the trains run on time," Frye said.

Executive Committee member Abdelhamid I. Sabra, who also called for Safran's departure, said, "The upshot is something I have to view positively since it means everybody has recognized that Nadav is a liability in the center."

Joseph S. Nye, Dillon Professor of International Affairs, called the report "pretty fair," saying those calling for harsher judgement would have "missed the point."

Government Department Chairman Robert D. Putnam, a member of the standing committee on Middle Eastern studies that Spence has said will now oversee the center, said: "I respect Safran's decision to step down. I think some errors of judgement were made. But he's still a distinguished scholar and was subject to some scurrilous attacks."

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