National Security

Published — March 17, 2005 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Response: Mercyhurst responds


Dear Bob:

While it has been interesting to observe the political fray developing in Washington, D.C., over a single intelligence training contract we recently earned with DHS, we are not going debate you over this.

We will, however, clarify a few facts.

We welcome you, and anyone else who has questions about our capabilities, to visit our campus and watch the fundamental intelligence analysis training that is part of the day-to-day operations here, and draw your own conclusions. It is a beautiful six-hour drive to Erie, Pa., from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Md., and I am confident you’ll find a visit to our program worth the time investment.

Meanwhile, Mercyhurst College stands by our intelligence studies program, its faculty, and students, many of whom have gone toe-to-toe with graduates of the well-respected universities found inside the Beltway – for both internships and jobs – and gotten the hire. The reality is our graduates have proven themselves as critical thinkers with the technical skills that enable them to hit the ground running.

That is why they choose to study at Mercyhurst, and that is why we got the DHS contract. We were the program flexible enough to meet the needs of the intelligence community in this particular case. To imply Mercyhurst is better connected in Washington, D.C., than the behemoth universities whose programs we’re being compared to is, while flattering, absurd.

We are certainly disappointed that you chose to omit much of the background information we provided from your final article – facts that would have given your readers a great deal of insight into why Mercyhurst can handle intelligence training contracts. That was certainly not due to “secrecy” on our part. Rather, in supplying background information and contacts about both our college and our intelligence studies program, we were extremely cooperative and open.

That is more than I can say about your choice to include quotations from Mr. Alan Grayson without noting Grayson’s ties to George Washington University ( A coincidence, I’m sure, but an affiliation worth including in the name of ethical journalism.

And lastly, your characterization of a tool in the war on terror – a handy deck of cards used by military in the field to identify wanted Iraqi militants – as “infamous,” (having a reputation of the worst kind; notoriously evil) is simply inaccurate.

We would very much welcome you to explore the best-kept secret in intelligence studies, and see for yourself the real story behind this extraordinary program and how we believe it is changing the future of intelligence for the better.

Please feel free to contact me with any further questions.


[Editor’s note: We agree with Gennifer Biggs’ qualms about the word “infamous” and have deleted it from the article published yesterday.]

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