Tags: Pentagon: | CIA | Director | Compromised | Secrets

Pentagon: CIA Director Compromised Secrets

Tuesday, 28 November 2000 12:00 AM

Deutch has been under investigation for two years by the CIA, and since February by the Pentagon for his handling of classified information on home computers.

"The evidence we obtained clearly establishes that Dr. Deutch failed to follow even the most basic security precautions," states the IG.

Deutch used at least seven different Defense Department-issued computers to write a 1,000-page daily journal between 1993 and 1996 that contained classified information; his family used the same computers to access his America Online account, according to the IG.

"Therefore, it is feasible that a computer "hacker" could have gained access to Dr Deutch's computer and the information stored in temporary files on the hard drive including the journal," states the report.

"We find his conduct in this regard particularly egregious in light of existing DOD policy directives addressing the safeguarding of classified information."

The Justice Department's criminal division continues to review the matter, according to Justice spokeswoman Kara Peterman.

What the security implications of the IGs findings are remains to be determined. Art Money, the assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications and intelligence, is doing a separate assessment of the damage, either actual or hypothetical, that resulted from Deutch's handling of the computers.

That investigation has been slowed by Deutch's refusal to cooperate, according to the Pentagon.

Rear Adm. Craig Quigley said at a Pentagon news conference in October the Defense Department has no means of telling what classified information may have been compromised as it is all stored on floppy disks and memory cards that Deutch has not handed over.

"Whatever information there may be or have been on the floppies themselves, we don't have, and we don't currently have a means of finding out what there was," Quigley said.

The Central Intelligence Agency has conducted a similar investigation and found Deutch violated a number of security procedures, most notably by using unclassified computers to create and maintain classified documents.

Deutch served as deputy defense secretary from 1994 to 1995 and prior to that as an assistant defense secretary with responsibility for Pentagon weapons acquisitions.

Deutch's top-secret home office was revealed as he was leaving the CIA in late 1996 to resume teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Security officers who went to his Washington home to retrieve his CIA-issued equipment discovered classified files on his personal computer.

Ironically, he was one of the first government officials to raise the flag about how vulnerable computers are to information attacks.

"We have evidence that a number of countries around the world are developing the doctrine, strategies and tools to conduct information attacks," Deutch told Congress in June 1996.

The CIA finished its investigation into Deutch by the spring of 1997, but took no punitive action against him until August 1999, when it revoked the former director's security clearances. In fact, in November 1997 and despite the investigation, CIA Director George Tenet approved "staff-like access" for Deutch to CIA data.

The Pentagon revoked his top secret clearances in August 1999. Deutch voluntarily gave up his "industrial clearances" with the Pentagon in February 2000, when Defense Secretary William Cohen asked his IG to investigate the matter.

The Pentagon's method for disposing of DOD-owned computers is also in the IG's crosshairs.

When Deutch was finished with each computer, the Defense Department supposedly wiped their memories clean and then sold or donated them to schools.

The IG tracked most of the computers down - no mean feat given the "poor property accountability practices" within the Office of the Secretary of Defense that hindered the search, according to the report.

But when the IG found the old computers in their new homes - Florida A&M University, a computer store in Maryland, a Mennonite school in Pennsylvania - some of them had not had their memory erased at all. In one case, the National Security Agency and the Defense Computer Forensics Laboratory mined more than 1,000 pages of old electronic mail messages.

The IG now recommends all Defense Department hard drives be destroyed, whether they contain classified or unclassified information before the computer is disposed outside of DOD.

Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said Tuesday that policy would render almost useless the Pentagon's campaign to give old computers to schools.

"It would be an easy policy to carry out, but would hurt a program by which we give computers to schools," Bacon said. "They would get a computer without a hard drive."

According to the IG report, the schools may not notice the change. Two computers at Florida A&M were inoperable because of muddled or missing hard drives, and two of five computers at the Mennonite school in Pennsylvania had no hard drives at all, although six excess government hard drives were in storage at the school. One of them was from the Defense Department.

Copyright 2000 by United Press International.

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Deutch has been under investigation for two years by the CIA, and since February by the Pentagon for his handling of classified information on home computers. The evidence we obtained clearly establishes that Dr. Deutch failed to follow even the most basic security...
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Tuesday, 28 November 2000 12:00 AM
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