Feinstein says FBI hasn’t answered questions about UC investigations

Monday November 18, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO – Sen. Dianne Feinstein says she wants a congressional hearing to find out whether the FBI used unlawful methods of obtaining information from the UC Berkeley five decades ago, a newspaper reported Sunday. 

Feinstein said she asked the bureau to respond to activities it allegedly used on campus during the 1950s and ’60s following a June 9 article by the San Francisco Chronicle. Feinstein has said the article pointed to “significant misuses of FBI power.” 

She said the FBI failed to respond adequately to her inquiries in a five-page letter she received last week. 

“I found the response frankly disappointing in its inadequacy,” Feinstein told the Chronicle. 

Feinstein is a ranking member of the U.S. Judiciary Committee, which oversees the FBI. Her inquiry drew support from Congress and on campus. 

A spokesman for FBI Director Robert Mueller reached late Sunday declined to comment. 

Following a 17-year legal fight involving numberous Freedom of Information Act requests, the Chronicle reported the bureau, among other things, worked to have then-UC President Clark Kerr fired, worked in cooperation with the CIA to pressure the Board of Regents to get rid of liberal faculty members and gave then-Gov. Ronald Reagan’s administration information that could be used against campus protesters. 

The letter Feinstein received did not address whether the FBI worked to remove Kerr, but it said he had been investigated five times only after the White House requested it when he was being considered for a federal job or to receive access to classified information. 

Kerr was fired in 1967 and has told the Chronicle he was surprised to learn about the FBI’s alleged involvement.