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At least four issues merit your consideration here. First, most scientific investigations that are carried out in campus laboratories offer no immediate applications. Consequently, the sharing of such research, even with foreign scholars, poses virtually no threat to U.S. technological or military interests. A National Academy of Science panel on "Scientific Communication and National Security" reached just such a conclusion when it reported that " (U)niversities and open scientific communication have been the source of very little of (America's) technology transfer problem." The view was reinforced in testimony delivered last year by former CIA Director, Bobby Inman. Admiral Inman concluded that "only a small percentage" of the Soviet acquisition of militarily relevant information comes from communications involving scientists
Second, to force scholars to clear studies prior to publication presents an impossible burden for researcher and reviewer alike. That task is to define the importance of undefined knowledge, to predict the outcome of incomplete investigations, and to articulate the possible consequences of unknown applications. On the part of a scientist, it is akin to requiring Albert Einstein in his early spectroscopy research to foresee the creation of laser technology some half century later. On the part of government review teams, it is to encourage restrictive decisions, because without a clear understanding of possible applications, there is an inevitable tendency to err on the side of caution and censorship.
A third problem is that of interpreting vague and sweeping regulations. The task is not only confusing, but it is also intimidating. There is a price to be paid for compliance as well as non-compliance. For example, current State Department regulations can require a university to supply background information on students, yet in releasing such information, the school runs
the risk of violating the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act as well as State privacy statutes. Similarly, cooperation could force a university to adopt a policy requiring its faculty to submit certain publications to government review, yet in so doing, the institution runs the risk of being a willing party to prior restraint and First Amendment violations.
On the other hand, the price of non-compliance is no less threatening. A university that misinterprets the complex International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) or the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) exposes itself to administrative and civil penalties and fines not to mention the forfeiture of federal contracts. The loss to the uncooperative institution is further compounded by the possibility of being "blacklisted." I know of five university presidents who received just such a warning from a private foundation. foundation promised to sponsor adverse shareholder resolutions at corporate and philanthropic meetings, because it determined that resistance to intrusive regulations was itself a threat to national security.
A fourth issue
the imposition of restraints upon scholarly exchanges
is equally disturbing. One justification, at least according to the Director of the Office of Military Technology in the Defense Department, is "to restrict Soviet scientists in the way American scientists are restricted in the Soviet Union." At best, the rationale is ironic; at worst, it is counterproductive.
It is ironic that the secrecy of a governmental system we disdain should become a model for our own research policies a standard, by the way, that
has been applied not only to Soviet scholars, but to visitors from the People's
Republic of China, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.
It is counterproductive in that much of our knowledge about Soviet
advances in metallurgy, astrophysics, robotics, cancer research and other fields is a direct result of communication between U.S. and Russian scholars. To restrict those exchanges is both to forfeit an invaluable information conduit and to overlook those areas where American science has been furthered through exposure to Soviet contacts.
In short, Mr. Chairman, the issues and problems I have raised require a greater sensitivity on the part of this Administration. To that end, there
have been a number of recent discussions among university and cabinet representatives. However, because change is so slow in coming, Congressional action might well have to be taken if the concerns of the research community are to be taken seriously. In prompting such change, let me conclude with the following recommendations:
First, the majority of the restraints upon scholars and scientists appear to be unilaterally imposed by the Executive Branch, rather than flowing from express grants of legislative authority. In the absence of any modification in those restraints, Congress must give serious consideration to imposing clear structural limits upon administrative interpretations.
Second, only in the most exceptional and limited cases should the communication of unclassified scientific information be restricted. Any other course would not only transform much unclassified information into classified information, but even more significantly, it would impede the very avenues for scholarly communication that are so vital to national security.
Third, if certain research is to be classified, then a mandatory review mechanism should be implemented. One framework for such review has been proposed by the Department of Defense Forum, an advisory body that was established twenty months ago and that includes representatives from the DOD and the university community. Even as I applaud certain DOD officials for taking the initiative in establishing this communication channel, I would encourage other Cabinet departments to follow the Defense Department's lead. By institutionalizing dialogue, some of the differences between the Capitol and the campus can be resolved in advance of regulatory overkill and public disputes.
Fourth, the university community recognizes that under exceptional and narrowly defined circumstances, restrictions on foreign scholars may be appropriate. These restrictions should not, by definition, be targeted at our open universities, but would apply to such non-university activities and locations as classified laboratories operated by defense contractors. Clearly, in the vast majority of cases, restraints on scholarly exchanges must be avoided if this nation is committed to improving relations with foreign countries, to reducing bureaucratic expenses, and to enhancing our own scientific capacities.
Fifth, if there are reservations as to the activities of certain visiting scholars, then it is the responsibility of the State Department to resolve those reservations before the scholars are granted permission to enter the country. It is not the function of the academy to be a surrogate surveillance
Sixth, if there are to be restrictions on certain types of scientific
be classified in advance, thereby putting universities on notice of the restrictions before they apply for the contract. Alternatively, serious consideration should be given to a policy of conducting all secret research in government laboratories or private institutions rather than universities. If
the price of government research contracts is the forfeiture of open scholarly communication, then the tradeoff is simply too high.
Seventh, there should be an immediate clarification of the executive orders requiring individuals with access to what is now labelled "sensitive compartmented information" to sign pre-publication clearance agreements and to submit to lie detector tests under certain circumstances. To the extent that these orders are intended to apply to universities and faculty members in their roles as federal contractors, such orders should be rescinded. who contribute a period of their careers to government service or who carry out federal research should not be forced to take lifelong vows of silence. The laboratory is not the monastery; the scientist is not a Trappist monk. misunderstand these differences is to discourage the best and the brightest from lending their talents to national objectives, and, in that case, our security will truly be jeopardized.
In short, Mr. Chairman, if the question is whether our national interests are better served by openness and technological progress or by secrecy and scholarly restraints, then I would urge you to choose the former. The history
of this nation is one of security by scientific accomplishment It has enabled us to outpace our adversaries in the past, and it will permit us to continue our lead in the future. America simply does not need the Soviet model of science or the Soviet system of secrecy and surveillance!