FOIA documents reveal UARC's security plan -- and much more
The Oct. 13 "Another View" column
by Vice Chancellor Gary K. Ostrander, contradicting assertions I made last month
in the Star-Bulletin, deserves refutation because of the crucial, fast-approaching deliberations on whether the University of Hawaii at Manoa should enter into a contract with the U.S. Navy to establish a University Affiliated Research Center .
Amid rising tensions on the Manoa campus, the contentious issue is scheduled to be discussed in November by the Manoa Faculty Senate. It in turn will send its recommendation to the Manoa chancellor and from there to interim UH President David McClain, who will make a recommendation to the UH Board of Regents for final action.
Ostrander, Manoa's vice chancellor for research who is spearheading the administration's drive to establish the UARC, contradicted my statement that the future UARC headquarters at the Manoa Innovation Center "is already being renovated for securing classified information with installation of sensors, surveillance cameras and safes." (The vice chancellor mis-stated my quotation by using the past tense, writing instead that the center "has not been renovated for the proposed UARC.")
My statement was based on a foot-high stack of UARC records received from the UH administration under Hawaii's Freedom of Information Act and studied before drawing my conclusion published on Oct. 2 in the Star-Bulletin article titled "UARC would not bring big money, just big secrecy." The FOIA request was made by the "Save UH/Stop UARC" group, a broad coalition of students, faculty and community members who had earlier occupied McClain's office for a week.
One FOIA document labeled as "proprietary information" and dated Feb. 24, 2005, reveals the security process already under way by then at the Manoa Innovation Center. "Planning bids for a photo ID system, visitor control system, document control system, facility access control system, facility alarm system (supplemental controls) classified storage to the Secret level, secure facsimile equipment, and secure telephone equipment are being obtained," the document read. On the same page, Ostrander is named as the UARC's interim executive director whose military security status is "pending."
DOCUMENTS COURTESY BEVERLY DEEPE KEEVER / STAR-BULLETIN ILLUSTRATION
This illustration shows purchase orders for security equipment for the Manoa Innovation Center and a diagram of a "restricted area" room in the center. (Click the image for a larger version.)
These FOIA records also show that just a month after Ostrander took over his job in January, UH filed on Feb. 8 a purchase order amounting to $19,590.61 for "miscellaneous alarm and signal systems-audible/visual warning/signaling devices" and other services "relating to security/facility management systems" that are clearly labeled for the Manoa Innovation Center at 2800 Woodlawn Drive.
Another record, with the date blotted out, also names the Manoa Innovation Center as the "customer" for security equipment amounting to $114,632.35 and covering not only "alarm and signal systems" but also door-entry-by-card access apparatuses and closed-circuit television.
Other security preparations in the FOIA materials include:
» an overview diagram dated Feb. 10, 2005, sketching out the first floor of the Manoa Innovation Center and showing Room 161 with its safe and three cabinets for classified files in the middle of the building, flanked by offices for the UARC executive director, project directors, laboratories, workstations and copy/fax machines;
» a sketch of the UARC security plan for Room 161 showing the safe, the solid core wood door that must have a deadbolt lock installed, a door to another tenant's space that must be soundproofed and reinforced, secured phones and faxes and a workstation for classified activity. "Contractor and subcontractor planning bids have been obtained to convert" this room into a military "restricted area" that "can then be used to host classified meetings, briefings, classified proposal efforts and classified discussions via secured communications," a document dated Feb. 24 read;
» sketches of employee badges containing the seal of the Naval Sea Systems Command, the Navy's weapons- development arm that would manage the "task orders" performed by UH's researchers.
» Sketches of visitor badges embossed with the official UH seal above a large letter "V."
These sketches and "proprietary information" were contained in a 136-page "business and management plan" that is far more extensive and informative than is the 18-page "business and management" plan made available to the public via posting on the Web site that Ostrander urged readers to study.