Michigan State University

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Group.png Michigan State University  
(UniversitySourcewatch WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
MottoAdvancing Knowledge. Transforming Lives.
TypePublic Land grant Sea grant
Other nameSpartans

Academic cover

From 1955-59, Michigan State University had a $25 million contract with the CIA to provide academic cover to five CIA agents stationed in South Vietnam who performed such jobs as drafting the government's constitution, and providing police training and weapons to the repressive Diem government. The constitution included a provision requiring the South Vietnamese to carry voter identification cards. Citizens without such cards were assumed to be supporters of the Vietcong, and faced arrest or worse by the regime's police.[1]

In 1956, while the MSU operation was in full swing, the CIA established the Asia Foundation, providing it with approximately $88 million in funding each year. The foundation sponsored research, supported conferences, ran academic exchange programs, funded anti-communist academics in various Asian countries, and recruited foreign agents and new case officers. Large numbers of American academics participated in the program. [2]

In 1968, George Rawick, a sociology professor at Oakland University was approached by James R. Hooker, of Michigan State University's African Studies Center for recruitment into the CIA. Hooker, a professor with a liberal-left reputation, used an interesting argument. Hooker's rationale for working with the CIA was, "None of us are ever going to get an intelligent approach unless we get trained intelligent people in there to tell us what's going on. If we rely on yahoos, look what we're going to get."[3]


Related Quotations

Victor Marchetti“To the Clandestine Services the universities represented fertile territory for recruiting espionage agents. Most large American colleges enrolled substantial numbers of foreign students, and many of these, especially those from the Third World, were (and are) destined to hold high positions in their home countries in a relatively few years. They were much easier to recruit at American schools — when they might have a need for money, where they could be easily compromised, and where foreign security services could not interfere — than they would be when they returned home. To spot and evaluate these students, the Clandestine Services maintained a contractual relationship with key professors on numerous campuses. When a professor had picked out a likely candidate, he notified his contact at the CIA and, on occasion, participated in the actual recruitment attempt. Some professors performed these services without being on a formal retainer. Others actively participated in agency covert operations by serving as "cut-outs," or intermediaries, and even by carrying out secret missions during foreign journeys.”Victor Marchetti1974
Victor MarchettiHelms asked his staff to find out just how many university personnel were under secret contract to the CIA. After a few days of investigation, senior CIA officers reported back that they could not find the answer. Helms immediately ordered a full study of the situation, and after more than a month of searching records all over the agency, a report was handed in to Helms listing hundreds of professors and administrators on over a hundred campuses. But the staff officers who compiled the report knew that their work was incomplete . Within weeks, another campus connection was exposed in the press. The contact was not on the list that had been compiled for the Director.”Victor Marchetti1974


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Weekend Clashes Emblematic of Political Violence Around the CountryArticle16 October 2018Anti-Defamation LeagueThis ADL blog post from 2018 outlines instances of "terrorism", blamed mainly on the Proud Boys during first two years of the Presidency of Donald Trump. Since then, they were revealed to have links to FBI informants.


Alumni on Wikispooks

Thom Hartmann7 May 1951USAuthor
Radio host
US businessman, author and liberal pundit.
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M. Peter McPherson27 October 1940
James Quello21 April 191424 January 2010USBureaucracy"A pawn of the radio and broadcasting industry".
Larry Thompson15 November 1945Lawyer
Alexander Trotman22 July 193325 April 2005US
BusinesspersonUK/US businessman. Attended Bilderberg 1996 as CEO of Ford Motor Company.
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  1. William Blum, The CIA: A Forgotten History (London: Zed Books, 1986), p. 140.
  2. Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks, CIA and the Cult of Intelligence (New York: Dell Publishing, 1974), pp. 150-151.
  3. Ken Lawrence, Academics: An Overview," in Dirty Work II: The CIA in Africa , Ellen Ray, et. al. (eds.) (Secaucus, NJ: Lyle Stuart, Inc., 1980), p. 81.

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