Report: Ex-CIA chief now faces Defense Department allegations

WASHINGTON - Former CIA director John M. Deutch is under investigation by the Department of Defense for the same type security violations he has admitted to while heading the CIA, according to Pentagon documents.

The breaches allegedly occurred during the mid-1990s while Deutch was a high-ranking official in the Defense Department, before he went to the CIA. They involve classified information accessed from unsecured computers in Deutch's home and, in one case, computer cards containing a 1,000 page journal with classified information Deutch carried in his shirt pocket, according to the documents, obtained by The Associated Press.

Deutch, the papers said, also turned down departmental requests to install security systems in his home. The documents said he continued handling data on unsecured computers even after signing a February 1995 memorandum on ''the need to properly safeguard information.'' The documents noted he was the deputy secretary of defense at the time of the memo.

''We find his conduct in this regard particularly egregious in light of existing (Defense Department) policy directives addressing the safeguarding of classified information,'' an internal Pentagon memo said.

''The evidence we obtained clearly establishes that Dr. Deutch failed to follow even the most basic security precautions.''

Deutch left the CIA in 1996; he now teaches at MIT. A message left for him at his office seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, confirmed Saturday that the probe had been widened. He said the Justice Department has also expanded its probe to include Deutch's activity at the Defense Department.

''Mr. Deutch should be treated as any other commoner and held accountable for what he did,'' Grassley said.

Justice Department spokesman Myron Marlin would not comment on the scope of his department's criminal investigation of Deutch.

But a senior Justice official, requesting anonymity, said no decision is imminent on whether to charge Deutch for mishandling secret data on unsecured computers. The inquiry is still in the department's criminal division and no recommendation has been sent to Attorney General Janet Reno.

A veteran criminal division executive, Paul Coffey, was recalled months ago from retirement to conduct a comprehensive new look at the Deutch matter. While Coffey was certain to examine any data gathered by Pentagon officials about Deutch, the statute of limitations in most of the relevant laws would probably prevent him from bringing any charges for activities that occurred more than five years ago.

The Justice Department initially decided not to prosecute Deutch. But, after criticism earlier this year that Deutch was treated more favorably than former Los Alamos nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee, Reno decided to review the matter.

Grassley also invoked Lee, accused of downloading nuclear secrets but freed last week.

''Mr. Deutch is being investigated for not just downloading CIA information but also Defense Department information while he was at (the Pentagon),'' Grassley said. ''Yet, I don't see him in solitary confinement with no bail, even though he downloaded information that Wen Ho Lee could never get access to.''

There is no evidence that computer hackers or spies obtained classified information because of Deutch's actions. But the papers said Deutch used his America Online account to download Pentagon data, an ''extremely risky'' practice that could have left his computer susceptible to a computer hacker.

When allegations first arose concerning Deutch's use of computers while at the CIA, the Pentagon said it would try to determine whether similar problems had occurred while Deutch was there.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Tim Taylor, said that as recently as Thursday, officials had said no results of that investigation were available. He had no other comment on the Post report.

CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield declined to comment.

Deutch served as defense undersecretary for acquisitions and technology from April 1993 to March 1994, when he became deputy defense secretary. He was appointed CIA director in 1995, and left the CIA in December of the following year.

Two days after Deutch retired from the CIA, agency personnel discovered classified information stored on government computers at Deutch's home.

Deutch eventually admitted the security breach, apologized and was stripped of his security clearances, though there is no evidence that computer hackers or spies obtained classified information as a result of Deutch's actions.


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