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Mr. KASTENMEIER. I would now like to call on the president of the University of Minnesota, Dr. Magrath.
TESTIMONY OF C. PETER MAGRATH, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA; AND FRANK PRESS, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
Dr. MAGRATH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
As indicated, my name is C. Peter Magrath and I am privileged to serve as president of the University of Minnesota. I am also privileged to work in a State that has elected so many outstanding Members of Congress and the Senate, one of whom took time from his very hectic schedule, Congressman Oberstar, to come here this morning.
To Congressman Oberstar, I want to say that those of us in the university community, not only in the University of Minnesota, appreciate a person who understands what research universities are about and what the role of great private and public universities is about. We don't take that kind of understanding and support lightly, and I personally appreciate his support enormously.
I appreciate this opportunity to discuss with you the concern, Congressman Kastenmeier, that you have stated, because it is one that is shared by a large number of university presidents and their faculties. In broad terms, the concern is a conflict between openness and secrecy, between academic freedom and prior restraint, between the pursuit of knowledge and the definition of national security. More specifically, the conflict arises out of the administration's efforts to advance American defense interests-which are legitimate, of course, very legitimate-by restricting in various ways the free flow of information among scientists, researchers, and engineers.
The restrictions which have been issued by the Departments of Defense, State, Commerce, and Energy over the past 22 years take a variety of forms:
There are Presidential directives that authorize prior governmental review of any publication by individuals who ever had access to classified information, and presumably, this seems to include university scholars as well.
There are regulations that permit the executive branch to restrain the presentation, publication, or mere scholarly exchange of papers that are neither classified nor drawn from classified
There have been instructions to limit the access of certain foreign students and scholars to college classrooms and laboratories. And there have been surveillance requests to, in effect, gumshoe international visitors across the campus and the local community. Specific examples of the first two types of restrictions will be provided I believe by other witnesses, but permit me to offer first a personal experience that illustrates the latter two directives.
In 1981, the University of Minnesota received a number of letters, phone calls and campus visits by Federal agents regarding a visiting scholar from the People's Republic of China by the name of Qi Yulu. The State Department had previously approved Mr. Qi's study plans under a national policy that expressly-and I quote
"encourages the training of Chinese scholars in modern technology and science." Subsequently, the policy seemed to change, for the University of Minnesota was asked to curtail the academic program of our visitor.
According to the State Department, Mr. Qi was to have no access to unpublished or classified Government-funded research, no access to computer hardware design or maintenance, and no access to source codes or their development. In addition, we were to limit his access to published software alone, provide him minimal involvement in applied research, and report, in advance, any visits he might make to industrial or research facilities. Ironically, within these constraints, we were told to offer Mr. Qi Yulu as full an academic program as possible.
The directives were confusing to say the least. For example, the State Department proposed limiting the scholar's access to classified research, yet in common with virtually all of higher education, the University of Minnesota accepts and conducts no such research. There was to be only minimal involvement in applied research, but a definition of either "minimal" or "applied" was never given. There was to be a full academic program, yet for this computer scientist most of our computer technology was to be off limits. And, of course, there was the problem of advising Federal officials as to the constant whereabouts of Mr. Qi Yulu, an assignment that would force us to confine him or else contact the Department of State several times a day as to his on and off campus itin
Much more disturbing perhaps than the confusing nature of these directives were their chilling implications. They struck I believe at the very heart of a free university, if not a free society, for they advocated secrecy and surveillance, the restraint of expression, and the disregard of academic freedom. Scholarship simply cannot thrive in secrecy; research cannot be advanced under wraps. Instead, scientific progress flourishes best in the free competition of ideas. It is that openness and competition which explains why the United States is preeminent in most scientific fields. It is the absence, I submit, of openness and competition in the Soviet system that confirms an observation made by the Nobel Laureate P.W. Anderson, namely, "Security and secrecy impede scientific and technical progress tending to cloak inefficiency, ignorance, and corruption more often than it hides genuine technical secrets."
This is not to imply that the protection of "genuine technical secrets" is an inappropriate concern of our Government. That concern is understandable, and the objectives legitimate. Few Americans, and even fewer members of the research community, advocate the dissemination of information that directly compromises national defense. However, what is questionable and alarming are the means by which these legitimate objectives are pursued.
To attempt to plug national security leaks by muffling those who pose no security risks at all makes little sense. It amounts, if you will, to caulking the wrong part of the ship, and of the wrong ship at that, and in the end the efforts prove to be unnecessary, intimidating, and counterproductive.
I think there are at least four issues that merit your consideration. First, most scientific investigations that are carried on 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, chaired by the very distinguished former president of Cornell University, on "Scientific Communication and National Security" reached precisely this conclusion when it reported that "Universities and open scientific communication have been the source of very little of America's technology transfer problem." That view was reinforced in testimony delivered last year by former CIA Deputy Director Bobby Inman. Admiral Inman concluded that "only a small percentage" of the Soviet acquisition of militarily relevant information comes from communications involving scientists and students.
Second, to force scholars to clear studies prior to publication presents I think 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 absolutely 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 intimidating. There is a price to be paid for compliance as well as noncompliance. 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 noncompliance 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, not a governmental, but from a private foundation. The 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. The University of Minnesota was one of those five universities.
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 America scientists are restricted in the Soviet Union." At best, the rational is ironic; at worst, it's counterproductive.
It is ironic that the secrecy of a governmental system we disdai should become a model for our own research policies-a standard by the way, that has been applied not only to Soviet scholars but t visitors from the People's Republic of China, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.
It is counterproductive in that much of our own knowledge abou Soviet advances in metallurgy, astrophysics, robotics, cancer re search and other fields is a direct result of communications be tween U.S. and Soviet scholars. Also there is the assumption that we are the ones that are giving something away and that we aren't smart and we don't learn and pick up things. The contrary is true, I believe. To restrict those exchanges is to forfeit an invaluable information conduit and to overlook those areas where American science has been furthered through exposure, in this case 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 suggestions:
First, the majority of the restraints upon scholars and scientists appear to be unilaterally imposed by the executive branch, rather than flowing from expres 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, ony in the most exceptional and limited cases should be 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 our 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 University Forum, an advisory body that was established 20 months ago and includes representatives from DOD and the university community. Even as I strongly 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 dialog, 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 nonuniversity 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 individuals who are to come to the United States under the cloak of being a visiting scholar, then it is the responsibility, I suggest, of the Department of State 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 agency.
Sixth, if there are to be restrictions on certain types of scientific activities-in other words, secret research-then such activities should 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 called "sensitive compartmented information" to sign prepublication 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. Scholars 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. To 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.
Thank you for hearing my remarks.
Mr. KASTENMEIER. Thank you, Dr. Magrath. I want to compliment you for a splendid and clear statement. Before we go to questions, however, we will hear from Dr. Frank Press.
Dr. PRESS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Many of my comments today will be based on a report of the Academy, the Corson Report on "Scientific Communication and National Security", which President Magrath referred to.
The subject of this hearing has become a national issue basically because advancing scientific knowledge-and, more importantly, the technology that is founded on that knowledge-has brought two legitimate social objectives into conflict: the advancement of knowledge and the Nation's military security.