Colleges Put on Spy Alert
BOSTON, June 12, 2007 -- Universities have been warned to be on the alert for "foreign spies or potential terrorists who may be trying to steal unclassified, yet sensitive, research," the Associated Press (AP) reported today.
The AP said agents from the FBI's Boston office have met recently with officials at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Massachusetts and other schools to train professors, students and security staff how to recognize those who may be trying to exploit research, and that more visits are scheduled in the near future. The local efforts are reportedly part of a larger nationwide program.
Special Agent in Charge Warren Bamford told the AP that the FBI is not seeking to censor information or stop the free flow of information, just raise awareness.
"Researchers were told to protect laptops, especially in foreign countries, and to be wary about who contacts them about their work," the AP said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts' legal director, John Reinstein, has expressed reservations about the FBI iniative, it said. "Are you going to ask all the questions you want to ask if someone is out there taking notes and reporting to the FBI that you asked the question which they perceived as suspicious?" he was quoted as saying.
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