American academic community and CIA

Excerpts from The Final Report of the Select Committee To Study Governmental Operations With Respect To Intelligence Activities («Church Committee»), Book I, «Foreign and Military Intelligence,» U.S. Senate, April 26, 1976
The Church Committee on the CIA in Academia


Committee’s note: The material italicized in this report has been substantially abridged at the request of the executive agencies.

The Central Intelligence Agency has long-developed clandestine relationships with the American academic community, which range from academics making introductions for intelligence purposes to intelligence collection while abroad, to academic research and writing where CIA sponsorship is hidden.

The Central Intelligence Agency is now using several hundred American academics («academics» includes administrators, faculty members and graduate students engaged in teaching), who in addition to providing leads and, on occasion, making introductions for intelligence purposes, occasionally write books and other material to be used for propaganda purposes abroad. Beyond these, an additional few score are used in an unwitting manner for minor activities.

These academics are located in over 100 American colleges, universities, and related institutes. At the majority of institutions, no one other than the individual concerned is aware of the CIA link. At the others, at least one university official is aware of the operational use made of academics on his campus. In addition, there are several American academics abroad who serve operational purposes, primarily the collection of intelligence.

Although the numbers are not as great today as in 1966, there are no prohibitions to prevent an increase in the operational use of academics. The size of these operations is determined by the CIA.

With the exception of those teachers, scholars and students who receive scholarships or grants from the Board of Foreign Scholarships, the CIA is not prohibited from the operational use of all other categories of grantee support under the Fulbright-Hays Act (artists, athletes, leaders, specialists, etc.). Nor is there any prohibition on the operational use of individuals participating in any other exchange program funded by the United States Government.

The Committee is disturbed both by the present practices of operationally using American academics and by the awareness that the restraints on expanding this practice are primarily those of sensitivity to the risks of disclosure and not an appreciation of dangers to the integrity of individuals and institutions.

The Committee believes that it is the responsibility of private institutions and particularly the American academic community to set the professional and ethical standards of its members.

[ The CIA asked University of California administrator Earl Clinton Bolton, who was spending some time at CIA headquarters, to suggest ideas on how to improve relations between the Agency and academia. ]

Academia 01, p.1

5 August 1968
SUBJECT: CIA – Agency-Academic Relations

This is an attempt to make some observations and suggestions about Agency-academic relations. In doing so I am grateful for the stimulus furnished by your outline. Although I believe I have addressed myself to most of the questions you have raised I have done so in free form rather than by a point by point consideration. I have also used «head notes» for purposes of organization and in an attempt to highlight the crucial questions in the subject.

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