To the editor:
An article entitled, "U. Library Refuses To Inform The FBI On Patron Suspected on Being A Spy," appeared in June 7 edition of the Deseret News.The article stated, in part, that "The FBI recently asked the Marriott Library at the University of Utah for confidential information about a library request made by a suspected Soviet spy."
The article also stated that the director of University Libraries said that, ". . . he thinks that request is related to the FBI's controversial `Library Awareness Program' . . ." even though that statement was somewhat refuted elsewhere in the article by comments attributed to the ". . . director of the Library's Documents Division. . ." who is quoted in part as saying, ". . . But that program normally is different than this inquiry . . ."
The FBI's inquiry at the Marriott Library was not a part of the `Library Awareness Program.' Library Awareness contacts have only been made in the New York City area, to educate librarians to activities of Soviet Intelligence agents in United States specialized scientific and technical libraries.
It is important to note that approximately one-third of all Soviet diplomatic personnel in the U.S. are known officers of the Soviet Intelligence Services, either the KGB or GRU, and assigned under diplomatic cover.
In the present case, information obtained from Marriott Library personnel revealed that a Soviet diplomat requested of the Marriott Library information from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. NTIS is a repository and clearing house facility of U.S. Government-generated scientific and technical research data.
Soviet diplomatic personnel are specifically precluded from accessing NTIS data pursuant to a 1980 embargo implemented by former President Carter.
If the Soviet in question was not blatantly attempting to circumvent the above restriction, he simply should have made inquiry of NTIS' main office, which is located in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Springfield, approximately fifteen miles from the Soviet Embassy, instead of making his inquiry with the University of Utah's Marriott Library which is over 2,000 miles from the embassy.
The investigation conducted by the FBI in this matter clearly demonstrated that the Soviet diplomat in question failed to identify himself as a representative of the Soviet Government during his dealings with Marriott Library personnel.
The FBI is charged under Presidential Executive Order 12333 with conducting counter-intelligence investigations and operations within the United States.
The aggressive pursuit of the counter-intelligence investigations while still preserving and protecting U.S. individuals' rights of privacy is oft-times a delicate balancing act for the FBI.
However, such a delicate balancing act is certainly not involved when a Soviet diplomat, who fails to identify himself as a Soviet representative, attempts to access a repository of restricted U.S. technical information.
In countering such attempted Soviet acquisitions, the FBI can only be successful with the cooperation of an informed U.S. citizenry.
Robert M. Bryant
Special Agent in Charge
Salt Lake City
Federal Bureau of Investigation