"COMPROMISED CAMPUS: The Colloboration of Universities with the Intelligence Community, 1945-1955" by Sigmund Diamond

"COMPROMISED CAMPUS: The Colloboration of Universities with the Intelligence Community, 1945-1955"

Email this review


A detailed investigation of the extent to which American universities, Harvard and Yale in particular, collaborated with government intelligence agencies in monitoring and suppressing political dissent in the early cold war period. In 1954, Diamond (Sociology and History/Columbia) was fired from Harvard by Dean McGeorge Bundy for failing to show ""complete candor"" about his past association with the Communist Party. The issue resurfaced in 1977 with the publication of Seymour Martin Lipset and David Riesman's Education and Politics at Harvard, which portrayed the university as standing firm against the anti-communist hysteria of the McCarthy period. A long-running controversy ensued when Diamond charged in The New York Review of Books that his experience placed Harvard's integrity on this point in question. Here, Diamond looks beyond his own case to the broader question of how far Harvard and Yale were complicit, despite their official neutrality, in FBI and CIA surveillance and manipulation. The existence is alleged of an ""intelligence-university complex,"" a discreet but active partnership between university authorities and the intelligence agencies. At Harvard, the Russian Research Center was intimately linked with the CIA, Diamond argues, while at both Harvard and Yale the FBI recruited college officials, faculty, and students to inform the agency of any left-tending unorthodoxies in the political views of their fellows. A glittering cast of informants includes Harvard President James B. Conant, Henry Kissinger, and William F. Buckley, Jr. (Buckley is given star billing, with a chapter all to himself describing how he could not find God at Yale, but found J. Edgar Hoover instead). Diamond's evidence is carefully assembled, and much of it comes from the FBI's own files, despite the limitations of the Freedom of Information Act. (The book is interesting for its account of these censorship difficulties alone.) Persuasively argued and thoroughly documented, this is clearly no mere set of unfounded allegations.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1992
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press