NYU involved in Department of Defense supercomputer project

No to militarism and surveillance! NYU must reveal all ties to military and spy agencies!

By Isaac Oseas—IYSSE candidate for NYU GSAS Student Senator
16 May 2017

Isaac Oseas is the president of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) at New York University. He is currently a candidate for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Student Senator position, as part of the IYSSE’s fight to build a socialist movement on campus and in the working class.

NYU GSAS students will be able to vote Oseas from May 15 to May 19 by going to the link StudentVote.nyu.edu and logging in with his or her NetID and Password.

Below is a statement from Oseas in opposition to militarism on campus.

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The revelation that NYU has been involved in developing a code-breaking computer for the US Department of Defense (DoD) further exposes the close ties between the university and the military.

According to The Intercept, an American digital security researcher came across hundreds of pages of documents hosted on an insecure server inside NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering. The documents included a detailed description of a supercomputer, codenamed “WindsorGreen,” that was administered by NYU, the DoD and IBM.

Many of the documents discovered by the researcher were marked with warnings such as “DISTRIBUTION LIMITED TO U.S. GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ONLY,” “REQUESTS FOR THIS DOCUMENT MUST BE REFERRED TO AND APPROVED BY THE DOD,” and “IBM Confidential.”

The supercomputer is far more advanced than what is commercially or academically available, and is clearly designed to crack encrypted emails and texts.

Gregory and David Chudnovsky, world-renowned mathematicians that head Tandon’s Institute for Mathematics and Advanced Supercomputing, authored many of these documents and maintained correspondence with members of the US military, according to The Intercept’s source.

The leak provides students and workers at NYU and across the country a rare insight into the intersection between academia, Wall Street and the US military and spying apparatus.

While the NYU administration has since denied any knowledge of the Windsor program, the university has developed a specialization for training future NSA agents and crafting legal justification for mass surveillance.

The Tandon School has remained one of only 16 institutions in the country to be designated a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) by the NSA, which allows schools to apply for grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

NSF funding is used for scholarship for service programs, such as ASPIRE (A Scholarship for Service Partnership for Interdisciplinary Research and Education).

Students who receive the scholarship must spend two years in government service. According to a 2015 article by the Guardian, roughly 29 percent of the students who receive the scholarship are placed in the NSA. Most of the rest are slotted into other intelligence, spying, police or military agencies.

The NYU School of Law also houses the Center on Law and Security, which works to “make our national security policies more effective, legitimate, and sustainable.” The center’s Board of Advisors is comprised of former and current CIA and State Department Officials and their corporate backers. This includes figures such as David Cohen, the former deputy CIA director under Obama; Gus Coldebella, former General Counsel for the Department of Homeland Security; Rajesh De, former General Counsel for the NSA; Randal Milch, former Verizon executive vice president; and Elizabeth Rindskopf-Parker, who between 1984 and 1995 worked for the CIA, the NSA and the State Department.

The intersection of corporate and military/state personnel is not limited to any single college or program, but influences the entire institution. In 2009, Cheryl Mills, the former chief of staff to Hillary Clinton, negotiated the establishment of the Abu Dhabi campus while employed by both the State Department and NYU.

In 2015 NYU convened a group of government officials, academics and members of the defense industry to develop a public-private partnership for the DoD. The group put out a report as part of the summit titled “National Security Technology Accelerator: A Plan for Civil-Military Industry Innovation.”

Many of the NYU Board of Trustees are also members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a think tank with close ties to the US government. This includes Laurence Fink, founder and chief executive officer of the world’s largest hedge fund, BlackRock, Inc.; Boris Jordan, President and CEO of the Sputnik Group, Ltd., which manages the largest foreign private equity funds invested in Russia; and John A. Paulson, a leader of the Paulson & Co. hedge fund management firm.

Kenneth Langone, a co-founder of supply and retail company The Home Depot, is a trustee for both NYU and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a leading imperialist think tank. In 2016 CSIS was commissioned by the DoD to draw up a report that detailed plans for a military confrontation between the US and China.

As a member of the IYSSE and GSAS Student Senator candidate, I put forward the following demands:

First, complete disclosure from the NYU administration of all ties between the university and the military and spying agencies. The severance of all ties between the university and the military and the state. Universities must be centers of learning, not government propaganda and research in the service of war.

Second, the student government must establish a student-led committee to evaluate the impact of the military and surveillance agencies on academic decisions made by the administration.