An Open Letter to President Vest

Dear President Vest,

In 1988 then-MIT Provost John Deutch sought and was rejected for the
presidencies of MIT, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, and Carnegie-Mellon
universities. A man with Deutch's academic credentials should have
easily been offered one of these positions. Indeed only a few months
before Deutch withdrew his name for the MIT presidency he had been
considered a shoe-in for the job. Two events that spring brought
Deutch quickly into disfavor across academia. First his dictatorial
administrative style came to light when he decided practically
overnight, and without consultation to dissolve MIT's Department of
Applied Biological Sciences. Then two months later a lengthy exposé
was released, detailing Deutch's close military ties, conflicts of
interest, and highly questionable ethics. The report showed that
Deutch spent more time and earned more money as a Pentagon and defense
industry consultant than in performing his duties as MIT's Provost. It
also revealed that Deutch not only supported research into
chemical/biological weapons, but that he pressured junior faculty into
performing this research on campus.
	His flagrant lack of respect for his colleagues, for academic
principle, and--in the case of biological weapons research--for life
itself, has rightly barred John Deutch from advancing up the academic
ladder. But now he has become Director of the CIA.
	Far from its stated purpose of merely gathering intelligence
to aid US foreign policy, the CIA has a well-documented history of
engaging in assassinations, bombings, drug-smuggling, illegal
gun-running, coup d'états, sabotage, and funding and training
terrorist forces. The CIA has overthrown dozens of elected governments
and orchestrated military actions that have resulted in the deaths of
millions of people worldwide. This published record easily makes the
CIA the world's most powerful terrorist organization.
	Deutch has stated that he will bring some administrative
changes to the CIA and work to improve the Agency's morale. But if
Deutch's record is any indication, he will likely continue the CIA's
unsavory activities. Deutch has been a Pentagon advisor since the
1960's. He has provided unwavering support for the build-up of the US
nuclear arsenal. Additionally, he has advocated maintaining the US
chemical weapons stockpile, and researching the possible synergistic
effects of combined chemical and biological weapons. His own research
involves fuel-air weapons, the most powerful non-nuclear explosive in
existence. Deutch has never been a peacemaker. It is inconceivable
that he will suddenly stop the CIA's unseemly activities and lead it
on a mission of benign spying.
	Allowing Deutch to remain in his respected position as
Institute Professor gives an implicit institutional nod to his CIA
actions. We at MIT should have standards of conduct and ethics that we
demand of our faculty. If a faculty member chooses to lead an
organization which engages in spying, murder, and terrorism, then that
is their choice, but we do not have to condone their activities by
continuing our association with them. Similarly, if a faculty member
commits egregious harassment or abuses their influence over graduate
students, they should be fired by MIT. How should MIT treat an
Institute Professor who has just been chosen to lead a terrorist
group?
	It is time that MIT fired John Deutch.

Sincerely,

The Alternative News Collective

[thistle homepage] [Volume 9] [9.7 - contents]