Pentagon report scathing on computer use by Deutch

Pentagon report scathing on computer use by Deutch

Pentagon investigators scathingly attacked former U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary John Deutch in a report released on Tuesday for using classified national security information on unsecured computers at home.

"The evidence we obtained clearly establishes that Dr. Deutch failed to follow even the most basic security precautions," the office of the Defense Department's inspector general wrote in a report dated Aug. 28 and released to reporters three months later.

Deutch, the number two-ranking defense official who also served as CIA director after leaving the Pentagon in 1995, has been under investigation by the Justice Department and other agencies for alleged mishandling of top-secret material by storing it on his home computers.

Although the Pentagon findings of Deutch's use of material for a personal journal had been discussed previously by defense officials, it was the first formal release of the inspector general's report.

The report said that not only did Deutch put forbidden material onto government computers in his home, he and members of his family used the computers to access his America Online (AOL) account, opening the possibility that electronic computer "hackers" could have gained access to the material.

"We find his conduct in this regar particularly egregious in light of existing Defense Department policy directives addressing the safeguarding of classified information," it said.

It noted that Deutch personally addressed the need to properly safeguard information in a memorandum he signed in February 1995 - and then violated those rules.

Defense Department spokesman Ken Bacon told reporters on Tuesday that a separate Pentagon investigation on whether secret information taken home by Deutch had been compromised was not yet complete.

He said no decision had been made on whether Deutch might be punished.

Deutch, who was CIA director from May 1995 to December 1996, was stripped of his CIA and high-level defense intelligence clearances in August of last year for mishandling classified information.

Deutch earlier this year voluntarily agreed to give up his Department of Defense clearance to handle classified information, but has declined through his lawyers to answer questions about the whereabouts of computer floppy disks that may have contained classifed information.

Deutch was deputy defense secretary, the department's second-ranking official, between March 1994 and May 1995. Prior to that, he served as undersecretary of defense for acquisition and technology.

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