Academic journal article Global Virtue Ethics Review

Ethical Failure: Intelligence Agencies and U.S. Universities

Academic journal article Global Virtue Ethics Review

Ethical Failure: Intelligence Agencies and U.S. Universities

Article excerpt


Public Law 108-177, "The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 resulted in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence establishing grants to predominately minority serving institutions to establish "Intelligence Community Centers for Academic Excellence. These centers were to create academic programs related to careers in intelligence, and to serve as a means of recruiting predominately minority students into careers with U.S. intelligence agencies. Congresswoman Jane Harman (D California), who, at the time, was a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, stated the bill's purpose was to recruit "... spies that (sic) look like their targets...". At least theoretically, our colleges and universities are supposed to be independent institutions of learning, not pipelines for recruiting people into professions that diametrically opposed the long-standing principles of the Academy. Although U.S. intelligence agencies have penetrated our colleges and universities on numerous occasions both to recruit students into intelligence careers and to conduct research, these precedents lend credence to the undesirable and ultimately detrimental effects such penetration has had on academe. The history of many U.S. intelligence agencies in engaging in unethical, immoral, and blatantly illegal conduct further justifies the argument our college and universities should not participate in programs funded by U.S. intelligence agencies.

...[T]he free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. ... The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

President Dwight Eisenhower

Intelligence Agencies and the University

In December, 2003, Congress passed Public Law 108-177, "The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004". Section 318 authorized funding for a "pilot program" to establish the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program (PRISP), named for the Republican Senator from Kansas. Graduate students willing to commit to employment in an intelligence agency upon completion of their studies can receive stipends of as much as $40,000 per year. Those who change their minds must repay the stipends. Limited during the pilot period to no more than 150 students, the program, now in place for six years, has been extremely secretive. No list of persons receiving scholarships has been released and persons involved in administering the scholarship program routinely have dissembled with respect to the transparency (actually, the lack of transparency) in the program. (Price, 2005)

Section 319 authorized establishing a program to recruit a more diverse population into intelligence agencies. To achieve that end, the Director of National Intelligence decided to establish "Intelligence Community Centers of Academic Excellence" (IC-CAE) at primarily minority serving colleges and universities within the United States. The purpose of PRISP and IC-CAE, in the words of Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA) who strongly advocated establishing these programs is to use our nation.s colleges and universities to recruit "... spies that (sic) look like their targets; CIA officers who speak the dialects terrorists use, and FBI agents who can speak to Muslim women who might be intimidated by men." Through PRISP and IC-CAE, our colleges and universities are to become devices to recruit "spies that look like their targets", that is operatives who will work in countries of their ancestral origin.

Certainly we need intelligence agencies capable of working at home and abroad to gather actionable intelligence not only to protect the United States from enemies "foreign or domestic", but also to protect citizens against individuals who would commit crimes, whether those crimes be violations of citizens. …

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