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Pennsylvania

Former PSU president Spanier lands job in national security

| Thursday, April 12, 2012

Former Penn State University President Graham Spanier, who was forced from office in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal, is working in Washington on a national security project.

A Penn State spokeswoman confirmed on Wednesday that Spanier, who is listed in the university's online directory as president emeritus, took on the project during a year-long sabbatical from his post as a tenured professor in Penn State's College of Health and Human Development.

"The project is an effort to continue to bridge the gap between our nation's national security agencies and other entities," said Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers.

Spanier, who was paid $1.1 million in his final full year as Penn State president, is a marriage and family therapist. He earned a doctorate in sociology from Northwestern University.

"For the next several months, as I transition to my post-presidential plans, I will be working on a special project for the US government relating national security," Spanier told the Patriot-News in Harrisburg. "This builds on my prior positions working with federal agencies to foster improved cooperation between our nation's national security agencies and other entities."

University officials could not confirm which agency is overseeing Spanier's national security project.

Spanier's interest in national security issues was no secret. He was chairman of the FBI National Security Higher Education Advisory Board until his ouster from the Penn State presidency last November and sat on several advisory boards including the National Counterintelligence Working Group, the Board of Advisors of the Naval Postgraduate School and the Navy College of War.

Attempts to reach the FBI in Washington for comment yesterday were unsuccessful.

Earlier this week, Bloomberg News reported that Spanier approached representatives of the FBI, CIA, Secret Service and Naval Criminal Investigative Service, among others, shortly after taking over as Penn State president in 1995 and initiated a relationship that ultimately blossomed into the National Higher Education Advisory Board in 2005.

In a 2009 press release, Spanier described the work of 19 college presidents who sit on that board as an effort to "help universities and government work toward a balanced and rational approach that will allow scientific research and education to progress and our nation to remain safe."

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