Reagan Science Adviser Keyworth Quits : ‘Star Wars’ Advocate to Form Industrial Intelligence Company

Times Staff Writer

Presidential science adviser George A. Keyworth II has resigned, effective Dec. 31, to join Herbert Meyer, a CIA official, in a new firm that will strive to develop industrial intelligence systems for corporations, an aide said Friday.

Keyworth, active in developing President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, popularly known as “Star Wars,” disclosed the plan to White House Chief of Staff Donald T. Regan at a meeting Wednesday, according to Bruce Abell, spokesman for the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which Keyworth heads. Keyworth could not be reached, and Abell said he was unaware of the White House reaction.

Abell denied any conflict of interest in forming the new firm. Its intention, he said, will be to help corporations, especially those that operate internationally, to organize and gather information affecting their operations in such fields as the impact of new technology and the shifting shape of international markets.

“It would be a new field,” Abell said, “dealing not with intelligence about competitive operations but looking over the horizon to help companies prepare for future operations. His impression is that few corporations have such systems now. No firms supply these services.”


‘Invented a New Industry’

Meyer, vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council, which produces classified documents called “national intelligence estimates” to inform top policy-makers on a variety of subjects, told United Press International that, if the new project succeeds, “we’ve invented a new industry.”

Rejecting a suggestion of conflict of interest, Meyer told UPI: " We’re not selling information but the design and information system, which is a very different thing.”

Meyer, 39, is a former special assistant to CIA Director William J. Casey. Keyworth, who will be 46 today, trained as a nuclear scientist at Yale and Duke universities and served on the staff of the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1968 to 1981. He headed the laboratory’s physics division when President Reagan named him to the White House post.


In addition to his advocacy of SDI, Reagan’s proposed space-based, anti-missile system, Keyworth became a supporter of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s space platform program after publicly criticizing the project as premature.