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Ethical Failure: Intelligence Agencies and U.S. Universities

GVER, Vol. 6 No. 3, (2012)

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.

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