Secure in the knowledge

December 6, 2012

In the past two weeks Times Higher Education has been running with two interesting items that appear to be completely separate. One concerns the Council for the Defence of British Universities ("White knight defence", Opinion, 22 November and "Join us in the big tent", Opinion, 29 November). The other relates to academic involvement with and in the security services ("Smiley's people", Opinion, 22 November and "Scaring the spooks away", Letters, 29 November). But what if these two stories are interrelated?

Since Mary Margaret McCabe wishes her steering committee to represent the "whole academic constituency" on behalf of the CDBU, might we ask if her committee contains any person (or persons) who has or has had a working relationship with British security services? Perhaps THE could ask the same question of the 66 founding members of CDBU on behalf of those enjoined to support their defence enterprise.

Gibson Burrell, University of Leicester

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