WHAT'S NEW, Friday, 10 November 1989 Washington, DC
CRITICS OF THE FBI'S "LIBRARY AWARENESS PROGRAM" WERE TARGETS
of background checks, according to FBI documents just released
under a court order. WHAT'S NEW first reported attempts by the
FBI to recruit science librarians as snitches three years ago (WN
5 Sep 86). Librarians were asked to report on the reading habits
of "foreigners" and people who "behave strangely." (A Brookhaven
librarian complains that all physicists behave strangely.) When
the New York Times discovered the story a year later, the FBI was
widely criticized by librarians, Capitol Hill and the public.
Stung by the criticism, the FBI ran checks on 266 of its critics
to determine whether they were part of a "Soviet active measures
campaign" to discredit the Library Awareness Program. Although the confidentiality of library records in 39 states is protected
by law, it now seems that the FBI did not bother to look into the
state laws until eight months after the story broke. These latest
revelations were in 1200 pages of internal FBI files obtained by
the National Security Archive, which, with the American Library
Association, seeks full disclosure of the FBI visits. Much more
information was withheld or was excised from the documents.
. THE APS CONGRESSIONAL SCIENTIST FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
is seeking candidates. The program offers physicists an opportunity to spend
a year in Washington working in a congressional office. In the
sixteen years of the APS program, about 50% of the fellows have
elected to remain in Washington, where they continue to have an
important influence on technical assessment of political issues.
Many other scientific societies have similar fellowship programs.
Fellows will receive a maximum stipend of $40,000, plus allowance
for relocation and travel. Completed applications must be
received by 16 Feb 90. Contact Mary Shoaf at (212) 682-7341.
3. THE CHINESE STUDENT IMMIGRATION RELIEF ACT HAS BEEN HELD UP
by anti-abortion forces. A bill was agreed to in conference, giving
J visa holders four years to change their status to F,M or L if
they are still studying, or to H if their studies are complete.
But the conference report couldn't be filed without the signature
of the Chairman, Rep. Brooks (D-TX), who was hospitalized. After
20 days the bill automatically became subject to motions from the
floor. Sen. Armstrong (R-CO) was ready with an amendment to
grant asylum to any person wishing to escape "coercive population
control policies." That sends the bill back to conference.
4. IS THERE ANY HOPE FOR THE AMERICAN SEMICONDUCTOR INDUSTRY?
In hearings yesterday, Ian Ross, Chairman of the National Advisory
Committee on Semiconductors and President of AT&T Bell Labs,
argued that not only has the US lost the lead in chips, American
supercomputer companies have been unable to purchase the fastest
foreign chips. Moreover, American chip makers cannot even obtain
the latest chip manufacturing equipment, which is also foreign
made. We are even losing control of semiconductor materials.