|Paper||University of Utah Student Newspapers|
|Rights||No Copyright - United States (NoC-US)|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Article Title||Germ War Film Sparks U Debate|
|Paper||University of Utah Student Newspapers|
I Germ war film sparks U debate By Sylvia Kronstadt Staff Writer copyright 1969 University officials have condemned as "irresponsible" and unwarranted" a nationwide NBC broadcast of Feb. 4 which explored the University's role in biological warfare research. Entitled "First Tuesday," the documentary implied the existence of highly classified and secret research on this campus irt conjunction with Dugway Proving Grounds. In fact, the University has been 'contracted for over 16 years by the Department of Defense to conduct research which may be related to biological warfare. However, the viewpoint expressed in the film was "a gross misrepresentation of fact," according to Dr. Paul Nicholes, chairman if the research program's academic committee. Other University representatives conveyed similar sentiments. President James C. Fletcher expressed his concern over the inaccuracy and misleading implications of the film in a KALL radio newscast Wednesday. Academic Vice President Thomas King voiced surprise at the program's slanted approach. "When NBC's Tom Pettit was here last fall he told us that of 50 universities conducting such research, Utah was the only one willing to discuss ' ' ... , ,v . I r -..... ...,.; . . . .Y'. . ' . iB -s ; s -: :.' ;' i . ' ' " . ; ' ' . V , '! K : - - n ! y U f ' .'. . . ; ' r'' :, . ) " "!-ir.w.wwJ." 2'. J' ' " ' ' , 1 Photos by Lynn Feveryear NBC's Tom Pettit never got past this door, but Chronicle reporter and photographer made complete tour of "secret" research area. Such precautions as a negative air system, personnel showers and special research clothing prevent bacteria leakage. Operations openly. Dr. Donald Bode, former director of the research program, commented some of the film's implications were "utterly false." "We are not doing anything secretive, and our doors are open to anyone who is interested," said Dr. CM. Gilmour, present director of the research. KUTV program director, LaMar Smith, declined to express an opinion on the program. An NBC affiliate, the local station had no role in production of the film. Of 50 universities conducting such research, Utah was the only one willing to discuss it openly. Ray McNamara, information officer at Deseret Testing Center, said he had been instructed by the Department of Defense not to discuss the program. He remarked he Md provide written answers to questions posed by the Chronicle but clearance by the Department of Defense would take 30 days. The Pentagon expressed "no official reaction to the program" in a Chronicle interview with Col. Rose, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. The University program to which the NBC presentation referred is Ecology and Epizoology (E. and E.) research, conducted under the University Department of Environmental Biology. The program was initiated in 1951 when concern was expressed by public health officers and government officials over the possibility of pathogenic bacteria leakage from the Dugway testing area. The University was approached by the State of Utah, the Public Health Service and Dugway representatives, who requested the University act as an impartial surveillance unit for the protection of area residents. A classified Army contract was negotiated in 1952 and the E. and E. research group was established. In order to ascertain whether leakage was occuring, the team was to tackle a vast area of study. By determining the normal incidence of various disease organisms in native animals, the group could record increases in incidence attributable to possible leakage from Dugway. In conjunction, they were to do extensive studies on patterns of transmission, control, ecology and geographical distribution of pathogens, Dr. Gilmour explained. Today the contract involves an annual sum of $480,000. Nearly 40 personnel, including 12-14 graduate students, participate in E. E. research, submitting quarter annual and annual reports, plus interim statements, to the Army. These reports are available in the University Library, according to Dr. Gilmour. The campus fire marshall was told to "let the building burn down" rather than ever enter. Research specifically concerns diseases endemic or natural to area animals. Such 7rtfnn tularemia, rockv mountain research in Utah even without the Army contract, but it would not be anywhere near the size of our current study," said Dr. Gilmour, principal investigator. The public health aspects of the program have not been adequately recognized, according to Dr. Gilmour. "In our systematic, detailed measurement of disease levels we are providing a valuable public service," he said. The academic committee heading the research includes Dr. D.M. Rees, Dr. Albert Grundman, Dr. Louis Gebhardt, Dr. D.W. Hill, Dr. Gilmour and Dr. Nicholes, chairman. Although Dugway Proving Grounds, an arm of Fort Douglas' Deseret Testing Center, deals in chemical as well as biological warfare research, the University team is involved only with the biological aspect, said Dr. William S. Partridge, research vice president. When various University administrators and researchers were asked . n : ' ." . . , ... -e .v, ' spotted fever, bubonic plague, anthrax and parrot fever exist naturally in Utah's wildlife population. All are capable of being transmitted to man. Researchers are attempting to clarify the role of "vectors," or carriers of pathogens, and to determine patterns of transmission that would enable control in case of disease outbreak, Dr. Nicholes explained. There has been some inconsistency as to the type of diseases that are actually studied. Administrative officials as well as several research personnel assert that only diseases endemic to the area are studied. "We would be experimenting with these same pathogens whether Dugway were here or not," one claimed. However, Dr. Bode remarked that the concern is with those that are "primarily endemic," while Dr. Parker said "We study endemic diseases, plus any that Dugway might introduce into the animal population." And Dr. Peter Olsen, who Supervises the E. and E. crew at Dugway said "Our research has nothing to do with the chemical agents or pathogens the Army might be testing." "Faunal colonies" at Dugway and on campus are maintained, containing several thousand experimental animals, ranging from coyotes and foxes to field mice. "We would be carrying out similar how Dugway is policed lor possiDie leaxage of chemical agents such as nerve gases, none knew the answer. Perhaps the most controversial question raised by NBC's program was not the research itself, but its alleged "secret" nature, to which several incidents last year alluded. In August, Dr. William Hanly, professor of biological sciences, was told that he would be required to get security clearance before he could enter the E. and E. labs. And the campus fire marshal was instructed to "let the building burn down rather than ever enter the area." according "Like atomic power, findings can be used for good or bad." to Dr. Hanly. Question has been raised as to how a fire in the building would be handled, and what danger there would be to are? residents if the pathogens stored in the labi were thereby released. Battalion Chief Hasslefeld at the Salt Lake Fire Depanmen admits that E. and E. research heads ha.e ordered the Fire Department not to enter the area. "But during a fire, our own judgment is the deciding factor." he said. The studies were initially ..ontrac'.ed at i time when "it was not at a!! ufua'i'''u;i' or unusual to do classified nrseirrh.' (Continued on Pae .'!) iSne of thousands of animals in "faunal colonies" on U campus and at Dugway for I 1 "n and experimentation, ranging from field mice to covotes. Biological warfare : NBC program implies secret U research mC iMiiy mah Chronicle, Fehruar; It has been suggested that the existing contract's 1.) requirement for clearance prior to publication, and 2.) provision allowing access to and use of classified material, subject to publication restrictions, are in conflict with these policies! An issue indicative of the contract's ambiguity concerns the responsibility of the University research team to the public. If the team were to discover an epidemic level of disease, which could constitute a threat to area residents, would they have the right to inform the press directly and immediately? "We don't give adamn about the press," Dr. Bode y 10, 1969 r j research on a university campus and the ethicality of aiding or participating in biological warfare research. "Absolutely none of our research is directly related to warfare," Dr. Nicholes asserted. "But it indirectly aids in the development of a weapons system," said Robert A Wolbach, professor of physiology. "We do generate knowledge that could form an interpretive basis for such research," admitted G. L. Mauldin, E. and E. research virologist. "The findings themselves are neutral," remarked Provost "Any information pertaining to the contract, whether of a classified or unclassified nature, is not available for public dissemination except through Security Manual." Every governmental agency eviews material generated by its research contracts prior to Kose The only right we have is to clear it for security purposes where classified data may "hav been involved," Col. J We cannot otherwise stop publication." p iT, WLh6n cont--acts were classified, there was scarcely any control of publications exercised Dr. Nicholes said. "Publication to my knowledge has never been stopped in relation to our E. and , contracts, although some classified, unpublished government work has been done m our facilities," he said. "Some deletions and word changes have been made under our contract, but the alterations were technical rather than substantive." Both the administration and research personnel emphasize that the contract research has never been secret. All of the 140 papers published by the group are available in the University Library according to Dr. Partridge. They have also been widely distributed to government agencies universities and hospitals. "If we had been involved in secret research the government would never have allowed publication of the research findings," Provost Emery said. In addition to the DD254 clause, the new contract's section on "reporting requirements" has raised some question. In reviewing the new contract prior to its acceptance, a faculty member said in a written statement, "I think we need to be clear that the (Continued From Page 1) according to an administrative spokesman. But in 1968, as a result of inquiries by Dr. Gilmour and Provost Alfred C. Emery, and later by NBC's Mr. Pettit and others, the University began looking more closely at the classified status of the E. and E. contract. The administration concluded that the contract "specified restraints on information which were inconsistent with University goals," according to Provost Emery. Two letters were mailed to the Army requesting permission to release information to NBC and to make the contracts public. Eventually the Army agreed. When the contract came up for renegotiation in October, the University requested a contract with no restraints on disclosure The present Contract Security Classification Specification (DD254) reads, "This contract is unclassified .... Reports generated under this contract will be unclassified." "The only way we changed the contract in October was to declassify it," said Dr. King. classification, according to the form. According to security officer Mrs. Fay Brown, and Dr. Nicholes' the military definition of classified" implies stringent restrictions. All personnel must obtain security clearance; classified data must be kept in special locked containers; no data or notes of any kind may leave the premises; and many other rules and safeguards must be observed. "But by this definition our work has never been classified," said Dr. Nicholes. One explanation given for the initial "classified" status of the contracts is that researchers needed access to classified information from the Dugway library and were thus required to obtain clearance. Under the new "unclassified" contract, however, access to classified documents is still granted with the same prerequisite. In addition, the 10-man University research team which is stationed at Dugway as part of the program must be cleared. A large percentage of the research team does not have clearance presently, whereas in the said. "All such information goes to the Public Health Service and they decide how to use it." Dr. Nicholes agreed that "the Public Health Service would have to handle it." Dr. Dale Parker, executive director of the research, said, "I don't know if we could' give it to the press. We could include it in a scientific paper." But according to Dr. Gilmour, information on a dangerous pathogenic outbreak could be given to the press "immediately, at our own discretion." Of particular interest since Tuesday's program has been a widespread discussion of the contract's moral implications. Basic issues have centered around the appropriateness of classified Emery. "Like atomic power, they can be used for good or bad ends." "E. and E. research is tied just as closely to warfare as if they were building a battleship," said Carl Christensen, professor of chemistry and former University Director of Research Programs. Neither the state, nor the governor nor the University can do anything about the presence of the Dugway base, said William J. Lockhart, professor of law. "So, as a practical matter, as long as the Army engages in biological experimentation only 80 miles from Salt Lake, it is invaluable to have an objective, skilled surveillance team to safeguard our welfare." "If we had been involved in secret research the government would never have allowed publication of findings." censorship rights (of the contract) are complete." He was referring to sections G and H, which read: "G. Data, or excerpts from data generated through this contract, will not be presented laterally to any other contractor nor will any paper or manuscript be presented to any scientific society, organization or foundation without editorial approval, by the contracting officer. "H. Any paper, manuscript, photograph or film which is being considered for presentation to the scientific community or to be published in the open literature, will be submitted in its entirety, to the project officer and the cover letter will explain the facts surrounding the intended oral presentation or publication." These implied and stated restrictions were questioned, but the contract was accepted with the clauses intact. These requirements are in possible conflict with at least two University policies. In a letter to Mr. Fred Gillette, contracting officer at Deseret Testing Center, Sept. 23, 1968, Dr. Partridge cited University policy governing research programs; "In conformance with tne academic purpose of research it should be "Declassification has been a policy f of this administration." There has been little agreement on the definition of the word "classified." Does "classified contract" mean that the contract itself is secret, or that the work to be done is secret, or neither, or both? Does access to classified material require a classified contract? Does a classified contract necessarily generate secret, classified material? These questions have not been adequately or consistently answered. Dr. Bode, former director of E. and E. research, claims the contract was never classified. The DD254 form referred only to personnel clearance requirements, I he said, "but our work was never ' secret." However, on the DD254 form, to which his research was subject, appeared the statement, "Facility security requirement for contract performance or for access to classified information," clearly marked "Secret." And technical reports under the contract were to up to and including Secret" past even graduate students working on the project required clearance, Security Officer Brown said. In relation to the question of classification, the issue of publication censorship by the Army has arisen. Past and present DD254 forms state that any information pertaining to the research, whether of a classified or unclassified nature, is "not available for public dissemination" except as provided by the Industrial Security Manual. This manual makes reference to the provisions of Public Information Security Guidance No. 16, which states, in part: "Contractors will not release to the public information of the following nature concerning such contracts, unless specifically approved and cleared by the Security Review Branch, Office of Public Information, Office of the Secretary of Defense 4. Information on any research andor development contracts." The DD254 clause has been described as "routine" by military personnel here and in Washington. f "'""-j j ' I I i. ?J -. i t w. . .? i 1 . ' i ; ' ' ' 1 I.. " . I " .,-' i V ' i -.; " I . i V , I ..... ' ' .. j. .... ,v)tMiKi,; i"w . ... .- .... . . . .. -t u ' M.'--- ' ' ' - -' " ' .. j understood inai, mere is peer access to the information generated within the accepted practice of scientific privacy." Dr. Partridge continued that any contract should "freely permit, according to contract terms, the publication of any report or information." An even more strongly worded Statement of Academic Policy Governing University Research Contracts was requested by the administration, according to President Fletcher. On Jan. 21, 1969, the Academic Policy Advisory Committee submitted the completed statement. It reads, in part: "The University shall not participate in any research contract or like project for which any limitation or restriction exists with respect to full and open discussion of the purposes and goals . . . findings and conclusions (of the project) or which limits rights of publication in appropriate journals ... "An academic irivestigato'r shall '' be regarded , as' the sole 'judge' of ' the appropriateness of his own finding f, , ' " pla8ueS tulata,n- organisms causing such virulent diseases as black ' arem'a and anthrav for injection into test animals.