- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 17, 2000

The Pentagon is investigating whether ultrasecret "black programs" were compromised by former CIA Director John Deutch after he put details about some of the Defense Department's most sensitive activities on his home computers.
Defense and intelligence officials said the Pentagon recently set up a special panel to examine a personal diary containing highly classified defense information that was kept improperly on Mr. Deutch's home computers desktop and laptop systems that were used to access the Internet and had received e-mail messages from abroad.
The CIA, meanwhile, launched a "damage assessment" to determine whether its secrets were compromised by Mr. Deutch, who was CIA director from 1995 to 1996.
The CIA withheld information from the Pentagon about what are known as "special access programs" for more than a year and only provided it after news reports highlighted the security breach earlier this month.
Special-access programs are so secret that officials privy to them are authorized to lie to keep them from becoming public. Most are kept secret from the CIA and only disclosed to the Pentagon's top three or four officials.
Mr. Deutch was briefed on many of these programs when he was undersecretary of defense for acquisitions and later deputy secretary of defense from 1993 to May 1995, when he became CIA director. Most of the programs have been ongoing for the past seven years.
Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, a Pentagon spokesman, said a team of defense security officials was set up 10 days ago to review the material first uncovered in Mr. Deutch's diary by CIA security officials in January 1997.
Adm. Quigley said a damage assessment could result from the investigation but that none had been launched yet.
"Let's just see what we find," he said.
An intelligence official said the information on the black programs "was in some ways even more sensitive than the CIA" secrets kept on the home computers. The CIA information included details of agency covert action programs.
Among the black programs currently under way are efforts to develop new weapons and methods of warfare, including electronic "information warfare" and how the U.S. military plans to conduct it in the future. They also include highly sensitive intelligence and collection development programs for future operations.
That information is known to be a major target of foreign intelligence services from Russia, China and other nations.
Other defense officials said privately the fact that details of special-access programs were kept on computers that are not secure is a security breach because of the sensitive nature of the programs.
They said both Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre have resisted calls from officials involved in the programs to conduct a damage assessment. They did not say why.
However, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is investigating whether the CIA covered up the Deutch affair to protect the nation's top intelligence official from punishment for mishandling secrets.
Mr. Deutch declined to comment through his lawyer, Terry O'Donnell.
The CIA recently launched a damage assessment of whether its secrets were compromised by Mr. Deutch's use of home computers to keep highly sensitive information after leaving the agency in December 1996, an intelligence official said.
According to officials who have seen an inspector general report on the matter, the home computers were not secured and had been used to access pornographic Internet sites by someone in Mr. Deutch's household. Investigators also found that one of Mr. Deutch's computers had received an e-mail message from a Russian scientist living in Western Europe.
In addition to the review team looking into the Deutch diary, Adm. Quigley said the Pentagon inspector general recently started an investigation into how the material ended up on four removable computer cards used by Mr. Deutch's Macintosh computers.
"They're both ongoing," Adm. Quigley said of the investigations.
In a related development, senior CIA officials failed to notify the Justice Department about possible criminal and ethical violations by Mr. Deutch shortly after the secrets were found on his home computer.
CIA security officials uncovered "clear evidence" in early 1997 that Mr. Deutch may have violated three laws in using CIA-supplied home computers for personal use and for keeping and deleting secret information, said agency officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
However, the Justice Department was never notified of the violations until months later.
The FBI was first told about the security breach by Michael O'Neill, the CIA general counsel and friend of Mr. Deutch, in a telephone call. However, the FBI did not investigate the matter because there was no evidence of foreign government involvement, the officials said.
When the Justice Department was notified in April 1998 of possible crimes, only one of the three laws was cited.
A CIA official said senior agency managers deliberately focused on the possible disclosure of secrets to foreign powers because they knew those charges would not be pursued. The managers were not identified by name.
"Nobody here ever claimed that he sold secrets to the Russians or even gave them anything," the official said. "Senior CIA officials knew nobody would prosecute him for that… . And the Justice Department didn't want the bad publicity so they went along with the charade."
The "crime report" sent to Justice from the CIA inspector general in 1998 also referred to a possible espionage-related offense that the official said was a "red herring" meant to distract attention from other serious crimes.
Investigators planned to notify the Justice Department about "three crimes we knew were sure-fire violations with clear evidence, but the chiefs said 'no,' " the official said.
The three violations included:
* A law that provides for up to one year in prison for unauthorized removal or retention of classified documents.
* A law that provides for up to three years in prison for concealing or attempting to destroy or remove government documents.
* A law making it illegal to work on personal projects where a financial interest is involved.
Security officials said the Government Ethics Office was never notified about one of the possible crimes related to Mr. Deutch's no-fee contract he arranged after leaving the CIA in December 1996.
A spokesman for the Ethics Office said it was never informed about the possible conflict of interest.
The CIA official said Mr. Deutch's CIA contract may have been illegal because the only reason for it was for Mr. Deutch to avoid having to buy his own computers.
The official said the contract also appeared to be part of an effort by Mr. Deutch to avoid having to return the home computers to the CIA because he was fearful the improperly stored documents would be discovered.
The CIA official also faulted current CIA Director George Tenet for failing to report the crimes to the Justice Department. The law required the CIA director to "expeditiously report" information about violations of Title 18 to the Justice Department.

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