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Editorial: CIA prof a boon for UNM

It will be interesting to see how quickly David Berg’s classes fill up. After all, it’s not every day University of New Mexico students can take classes from an active-duty CIA agent.

News the UNM alum and intelligence officer will be teaching and researching at UNM next school year – reported in Sunday’s Journal – should be welcomed for the gift it is. Jobs with the spy agency are competitive and highly coveted, and Berg’s two-year placement will give students a real-world connection to a part of government most know only from movies. It’s fantastic synergy to build on UNM’s burgeoning Global and National Security Policy Institute.

As institute director Emile Nakhleh, a former CIA senior intelligence service officer, says, UNM students pursuing global security jobs are often going up against the Ivy League; experience in Berg’s classroom will give them an edge.

While William Stanley, director of UNM’s Latin American and Iberian Institute, says he is concerned the relationship between UNM and the CIA will jeopardize students working in Central and South America – where CIA involvement has been heavily criticized – those worries seem a bit tenuous. But they highlight another opportunity for UNM: the chance to involve students in a frank and honest discussion about the CIA’s role in our foreign policy, past and present.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.