- The Washington Times - Friday, September 29, 2000

The State Department suspended the security clearance of U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk after he ignored warnings from officials and continued mishandling classified documents, according to U.S. government officials.
In one case, Mr. Indyk used an unclassified computer to send an Internet message to Israel containing sensitive information, said officials close to the ongoing security investigation of Mr. Indyk.
The document was a memorandum Mr. Indyk had written to himself and investigators later determined it should have been classified at the "secret" level.
New details of the security investigation of Mr. Indyk were disclosed to The Washington Times by officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
A State Department spokesman declined to comment when asked about the details of Mr. Indyk's security problems. "There is an ongoing investigation," said spokesman Andy Laine.
The security violations are similar to those of former CIA Director John Deutch, who was found to have kept highly classified defense and intelligence documents on unclassified computers at his residence.
David Carpenter, assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, recently briefed members of Congress on the Indyk matter. Congressional oversight committees were only informed of the problem after an informant tipped off Congress that the State Department was trying to conceal Mr. Indyk's activities.
Investigators are looking into "flagrant, constant and serious" violations of mishandling sensitive material, including details of ongoing negotiations among Middle East officials, said officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Mr. Indyk was the first Jewish ambassador to Israel and began his U.S. government career in 1993 as a presidential assistant on the National Security Council staff.
Mr. Indyk at one time worked as a senior Australian government intelligence official and his foreign intelligence experience raised concerns among security officials who initially balked at granting him high-level access to state secrets.
He was ambassador to Israel from April 1995 to October 1997, and began a second tour as ambassador in January.
The suspension of his security clearance has forced Mr. Indyk out of ongoing peace negotiations. He was a key member of President Clinton's team of Middle East negotiators.
One official said the exclusion had lessened chances for a hoped-for breakthrough in the peace talks that Democrats wanted to help boost Vice President Al Gore's presidential campaign.
The security violations began during Mr. Indyk's work as an assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs from October 1997 to January 2000. They involved Mr. Indyk taking home stacks of classified documents without having any secure storage facilities in his home.
After the activities were reported inside the State Department, Mr. Carpenter personally warned Mr. Indyk about the security violations, the officials said.
However, sometime after the warning, Mr. Indyk was observed typing a memorandum that he planned to use for a future memoir on an unsecured laptop computer.
Additionally, Mr. Indyk is being investigated for mishandling classified documents in Israel. He took documents home to his residence in Tel Aviv, which contains storage safes for sensitive material. However, the suite he uses at the Hilton Hotel in Jerusalem had no safe, the officials said.
Mr. Indyk told investigators that he kept the classified material next to his bed.
Security investigators also are looking into whether Mr. Indyk discussed classified information in a cellular-telephone conversation that could have been intercepted by foreign intelligence services.
The State Department waited 10 days before cutting off Mr. Indyk's access to classified information on Sept. 21 and did so under pressure from Congress.
Mr. Indyk will be allowed to return to Israel for the upcoming Jewish holidays, but will be restricted from talking to diplomats.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher has said the investigation is related to "a question of security procedures that have not been followed."
New security rules were put in place after a Russian electronic eavesdropping device was found in a State Department conference room in December and a laptop computer containing classified information went missing.
Mr. Indyk could not be reached for comment but said in a statement last week that endangering national security is "absolutely abhorrent to me and I would never do anything to compromise those interests."
According to one official, the FBI is taking part in the investigation and contacted government officials in Australia and Israel as part of an effort to determine if intelligence information was compromised.

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