The often-violent activism of the 1960s took a new twist at the start of the new decade when a bomb exploded in Harvard's Center for International Affairs (CFIA) in the early hours of October 14, 1970.
Less than an hour after the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) received an anonymous warning about the blast, a bomb exploded at 1:02 a.m. in the desk of U.S. Army Col. Donald Bletz, a fellow of the CFIA.
The CFIA building was empty at the time of the explosion, and no people were injured.
Although the blast blew apart three offices in the CFIA, the overall damage was minimal as no books were lost and no private files were destroyed.
The total damages were estimated by the Department of Buildings and Grounds to be approximately $25,000.
Further investigation revealed that the bomb was made in a cast-iron pipe similar to those used in other bombings in Massachusetts at the time.
The Proud Eagle Tribe, a women's revolutionary group, claimed responsibility for the bombing in a letter published in several newspapers--including The Crimson--on October 15.
"Tonight the Proud Eagle Tribe, a group of revolutionary women, bombed the Center for International Affairs at Harvard," the letter reads. "The Center figures out new ways for the Pig Nixon to try to destroy people's wars in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, and grooms toads like Henry Kissinger ['50], who left the Center to join Nixon's death machine."
While the FBI worked to analyze a partial fingerprint on a fragment of the bomb, the Cambridge police department searched for a suspect but never found one.
Working from descriptions from professors and librarians who had seen several suspicious-looking women in the CFIA the day before the bombing, the Cambridge police had one female suspect under surveillance.
One CFIA librarian reported seeing two women with a metal box that could have been a bomb enter the library on the 13th.
The librarian attempted to reach CFIA Secretary Laurence S. Finkelstein to warn him of the women, but Finkelstein never received the message.
Despite the claims of the Proud Eagle Tribe, Cambridge Police Sgt. James A. Roscoe said at the time that he did not believe the bombing was done by the women alone.
Target of Controversy
After the bombing, the CFIA was increasingly criticized by student groups for its involvement in U.S. foreign policy.
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