Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Many moons ago I worked as the Photo Editor at award-winning Wayne State University student newspaper - The South End. When securing credentials for events, staffers could proudly say we were the third largest daily newspaper in Detroit.

The South End
newspaper had a long history of rebellion against the establishment. In the late 1960's the paper had ties to the Black Panthers and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers (LRBW). One of the more prominent members of the LRBW was Ken Cockrel, father of the acting mayor of Detroit, Ken Cockrel Jr.

A few years prior to joining The South End staff the editor-in-chief Patricia Maceroni took a stand against against running advertising from branches of the U.S. military. She was fired from her position only to win it back after challenging the firing in court. Maceroni currently works as a Criminal Defense Attorney in Mount Clemens, Michigan. The paper was suddenly radical again.

My tenure at The South End newspaper was from 1987-1991 - the same years the WSU was listed in Ami Chen Mills' book "CIA Off Campus" as a college where anti-CIA actions took place. The main story at Wayne State was in the 1988-1989 time frame when roughly 200 students had a 12-day "sit-in" at the administration building protesting racist incidents that occurred on campus. Steve Herppich, the towering Photo Editor who hired me, covered most of the sit-in and thrived on the stand-off.

Robert "Rob" Lasker was the Editor-in-Chief during most of this era. He was a brilliant, understated, conscientious friend who taught me a lot about writing while at the paper. Rob loved volunteering time at WDET (at that time in the same building) and also had a nice showing on the game-show "Jeopardy." The military advertisements and CIA recruiting were a big deal then, but my memory is jaded since I was taking Army ROTC rifle and pistol classes at the University of Detroit. Perhaps my own form of rebellion as a conservative?

A recent article "Has the Intelligence Community Tamed American Colleges?" written by Isaac Eister of The South End newspaper touches on the government in colleges topic once again.

According to Eister, the Intelligence Community, or IC, is made up of the CIA, FBI, and fifteen other gov't agencies - are hoping to expand their presence at Wayne State University and other college campuses across the United States.

Ten U.S. colleges are marked for the strategic launch of the recruiting program: Wayne State University, California State University - San Bernardino, Clark Atlanta University, Florida International University, Norfolk State University, Tennessee State University, Trinity University, University of Texas - El Paso, University of Texas - Pan American and University of Washington.

Of course Wayne State is highly coveted because of its rich Middle Eastern community. WSU's program is called the Center of Academic Excellence-National Security Intelligence Studies. That's a mouthful.

Kenneth Love, Rochester Institute of Technology student and member of the National Coordinating Committee of the Campus Antiwar Network is a former Army ROTC cadet. He stated in Eister's article,
“I know students that created technology using mathematical algorithms to detect terrorist activity among radical minded students on the popular social networking website Facebook … students who created through computer science technology better programs to catch dialect on the telephones, especially Arabic.”
Advertising Age had a story, "CIA Turn to Mainstream Media for Recruiting" that highlighted the CIA is currently recruiting for its National Clandestine Service Unit. With the economy in such rough shape, it will be easier to reach out to a traditionally hard-to-reach Middle Eastern community. According to the Adage article,
"The agency has not only tried what it previously called peer-to-peer marketing by being on Facebook -- a move that was promptly met by a Facebook group called "CIA Out of Facebook" -- but its presence back on college campuses has actually gone better than expected."
The South End newspaper interviewed Vanee Vines, a spokesperson for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence about the new program. According to Vines,
"...the nation faces increasingly complex global threats. As a result, the Intelligence Community must have a work force that reflects America's diversity and has a deep understanding of global cultures; foreign languages; science, technology, engineering, math, and economics; plus other key issues."
Many of my friends work for the U.S. Government and others have multiple applications in process at TACOM and other agencies. The word is the government jobs are more stable and "economy proof." This is especially true in the Detroit metro area with its heavy dependence upon the automotive industry. If we can prevent another 9/11 by recruiting spies at WSU - bring it on.

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