9/11 reflections on a national security education lawyer
“Anyone who can blow up the Pentagon gets my vote.” That’s what University of New Mexico Professor Richard Berthold told about a hundred student freshmen, 12 years ago today, on September 11, 2001.
Raising a half-hearted defense, Berthold later acknowledged he was insensitive as people were dying, but added that he “referred to the Pentagon and said nothing about the World Trade Center.”
He stood by his words about voting for the Al Qaeda hijackers of American Airlines flight 77.
Few defenders in New Mexico – but one in Washington
Berthold later wrote that he “received very little support from the approximately fourteen hundred faculty” at UNM, was castigated by the Faculty Senate, and was practically anathematized by his own academic department. “The university administration never even hinted at termination,” he said, “not because of any commitment to principle, but because they knew full well it would go to court and they would lose.”
But Berthold did find one defender of note: a Washington-based education lawyer who sided with him, calling the legislator’s unsuccessful de-funding initiative a threat to academic freedom.
The lawyer brushed off Berthold’s words – “Anyone who can blow up the Pentagon gets my vote” – as nothing more than, as she put it, “a controversial statement.” (Click here for source, p. 11.)
That attorney was Ann H. Franke.
Meet IWP’s corporate counsel
Franke is the corporate counsel of The Institute of World Politics (IWP). She is the legal schemer behind IWP’s secretive investigation and termination of the faculty member most closely associated with the U.S. Army. Right now she is believed to be preparing for the termination of other IWP staffers. She also weighed in on a case involving an IWP professor, still on the faculty roster, who mistreated a U.S. Army officer studying at the school.
Even before her rhetorical defense of the defender of the Al Qaeda hijackers, Franke had built an odd track record to serve as corporate counsel of a school that stands for American founding principles and the western moral tradition.
Even more odd is the fact that one of her main boosters is IWP Board Chairman Owen Smith, a lawyer and former law professor who is the son-in-law of the late great CIA director William J. Casey.
What message does IWP’s employment of Franke as corporate counsel send to students seeking national security careers?
What message does it to send to students who already hold security clearances?
Those students volunteered to hold themselves bound – by oath – to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
What would Bill Casey say?
What would IWP students, alumni and donors say?
We know what IWP President John Lenczowski said. He hired Ann Franke.
Integrated into the dominant board faction
Ann Franke was Lenczowski’s personal pick to be the IWP corporate counsel. She has operated with the complete support of the dominant faction of the Board of Trustees, led by Chairman Owen Smith.
Smith, himself an attorney, re-wrote the IWP bylaws last year to provide himself with an unusual degree of control over the board. This point is important, because Smith has been Lenczowski’s chief enabler. As such, he is directly responsible for Franke.
Students who overheard the otherwise secret July 1, 2013 board meeting say that Franke held the gathering under strict attorney-client privilege, meaning that no trustee could reveal what was said. Her opsec was poor. Parts of the meeting were compromised from the neighboring kitchen, a public space from which meetings in the next room can easily be heard.
It is understood that Smith and Lenczowski essentially ceded control of the secret board meeting agenda to Ann Franke.
Here’s the bottom line: The IWP board meeting was entrusted to a defender of the person who said he would vote for the Al Qaeda terrorists who flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon.
Board members most connected with Franke
Not everybody on the board supports Ann Franke. The principal IWP figures most closely connected to the lawyer are:
- President John Lenczowski;
- Board Chairman Owen Smith;
- Board Audit Committee Chairman Francis X. Ryan; and
- Board Audit Committee member Tidal McCoy.
Ann Franke made her debut with the IWP faculty at about the time an important element of the board was mobilizing to oust Lenczowski over his mismanagement as president. Since that time, as Lenczowski continued to flail as CEO and he arranged the firings of three successive deputies, Franke has taken on a greater and greater role as Lenczowski’s chief maneuverer. She and her board allies hide behind “attorney-client privilege” and other legal mechanics, as if concealing some sort of wrongdoing.
Shortly before Lenczowski hired Franke as IWP corporate counsel, she had established herself in several areas of specialization with a niche peculiar for a lawyer to be selected to advise a school of national security affairs:
- Ann Franke defended professors at taxpayer-funded universities who seek the violent overthrow of the United States government.
- Ann Franke wrote in support of members of the Communist Party to serve as professors at public universities.
- Ann Franke claimed that the matter of a professor being a Communist is “irrelevant.”
- Ann Franke voiced support for Marxists and Communists in general to serve as professors at taxpayer-funded institutions of higher education.
- Ann Franke criticized a state legislator for attempting to prevent tax money from paying a professor who defended the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon.
Franke has a long trail of academic and legal writings. For brevity, we will focus on one: A paper titled “Sustaining Expressional Rights: Legislative Threats to Academic Freedom,” presented at the Stetson University College of Law in 2006.
In that paper [download Franke 2006 paper], Franke stated that she considered it a “threat” to academic freedom for professors at taxpayer-funded universities to be required to affirm under “oath” that they were not Communist. She claimed offhandedly that being a Communist was “irrelevant,” even though Lenczowski, Smith and any IWP student would be quite aware that being a Communist meant being loyal to the Soviet Union and advocating the overthrow of the Constitution of the United States.
Franke claimed on page 3 that the real danger is not the public university professor who advocates the overthrow of the U.S. government, but the restriction of Communists to teach at taxpayer-funded institutions. The “potential harms” of loyalty oaths at a taxpayer-funded institution, Franke argued, were that such a requirement “restricts on an irrelevant basis the pool of potential faculty candidates.” The potential harm also “inhibits free inquiry into study of communism,” and “inhibits free association to join groups.” (p. 3)
Franke also stated that “investigation” of faculty was a “type of threat.” She has no problem doing that on her own against faculty who displease her paying client (see the INA Record 2013.06.14x), but in her paper for Stetson University, she objected to the investigation of faculty who might be involved in subversion of the U.S. government. (p. 3)
As with the oath as a type of threat, she gave an example: “You are hereby subpoenaed to testify on Feb. 24 before my legislative committee. We will be inquiring into the subversive conference you recently attended on higher education legal issues.” (p. 3)
Investigation of academics who are involved with subverting the constitutional government, in Franke’s view, is harmful to academic freedom because it “disrupts current academic activity,” “inhibits exploration of controversial topics,” and “broadens administrative control over academic activities.” (p. 3)
What about Communist professors at Berkeley?
In Franke’s view, being a Communist Party member at, say, Lenczowski’s alma mater, the University of California at Berkeley, was just fine.
That view is doubtlessly at odds with the IWP President’s late father, Dr. George Lenczowski, who suffered at the hands of both the Communists and the Nazis who invaded his native Poland; and his late mother, who was shipped to Stalin’s concentration camps in Siberia.
In the 1950s, George Lenczowski went on to become a noted academic at Berkeley, but found that his anti-Communist views were so unpopular among much of the faculty that he was effectively under intellectual siege. He often quipped that there were two Republicans on the Berkeley faculty, but that he never knew who the other one was.
Soviet sympathizers at the time mercilessly harassed and persecuted scholars like George Lenczowski, but nowhere in her writings does Ann Franke ever criticize the tormentors or defend the George Lenczowskis of academia.
To the contrary: Franke defended the pro-Communist professors. She continued in her Stetson University paper:
“During the McCarthy era, some states adopted provisions requiring state employees to disclaim membership in subversive organizations. In a painful episode in 1950, 31 professors from the Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses of the University of California declined to sign an oath required by the university’s regents. The 31 were dismissed, not for membership in any subversive groups but merely for refusing to sign the oath. Later reinstated, one eventually rose to become the president of UCLA.” (p. 4)
Franke even criticized the practice of requiring professors at taxpayer-funded universities in Maryland, like all state employees, to take an oath that they were not party to “acts seeking the overthrow of the state or national government by force or violence.” Franke wrote that in 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court “invalidated the law on First Amendment grounds for imposing continuing surveillance on teachers.” (p. 5)
The irony here is that Franke directly participated in the surveillance of at least one professor at IWP, under the Audit Committee chairman’s private investigator probe. Perhaps conscious of the hypocrisy, she insisted that Lenczowski, Smith and Ryan deny that the investigation was an investigation, and that they should call it a “review.”
How extreme is Ann Franke? In fairness, she did acknowledge, “The violent overthrow of government might seem to be drastic and highly undesirable.” (p. 5)
“Might seem to be”?
Something to think about on this solemn September 11 anniversary.
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Footnote: In her writings, Franke shows other pet causes that people who style themselves as devout Catholics – to say nothing of Knights of Malta like Lenczowski, Smith and Ryan – would find patently offensive. Indeed, one might ask how a Knight of Malta could remain a member in good standing by employing such a radical attorney.
If IWP is running surveillance on its faculty, is it also spying on its students? (reprinted from ActiveMeasures.org, September 5, 2013)
The IWP provost’s report that Dr Lenczowski didn’t want the board to read (reprinted from ActiveMeasures.org, September 1, 2013)