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No Reluctance on Part of DoD Investigator in Deutch Case

By Staff Sgt. Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2000 – DoD leaders weren't reluctant to investigate former Deputy Secretary John Deutch, but rather saw no need to duplicate the CIA's efforts.

Deutch, who left DoD to become CIA director, has been accused of mishandling classified CIA materials in several ways involving government computers in his office and at home. The question arose whether he might have done the same while with DoD.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, at a Sept. 19 DoD press briefing, said DoD saw "very little value of reinventing the wheel" when CIA officials notified DoD in June and July 1998 that they were investigating Deutch. Quigley added that he is "crystal clear" that there was no resistance from the DoD inspector general to dig into the situation.

"The CIA had already started down this road," the admiral said. "(They) had asked for our assistance to provide them information that was relevant to their investigation from DOD records and files. Rather than duplicating their effort, we felt that the best course of action was to let that professional investigation proceed."

The CIA asked DoD for help in looking into Deutch's handling of classified material while deputy secretary and undersecretary of defense for acquisition in the early 1990s.

When Defense Secretary William Cohen received the CIA's full report in February 2000, he directed officials to begin an internal damage assessment, Quigley said.

The admiral explained there are two parts to the investigation - - the defense inspector general is looking into Deutch's handling of computers, and where those computers have been and how they've been used since he left DoD. Meanwhile, the department also is looking into what type of information was actually handled on those computers.

Quigley insisted under reporters' intense questioning there was no double standard in the treatment of Deutch and of Wen Ho Lee, the Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist who was jailed for nine months on more than 50 allegations of espionage and recently freed on a plea bargain after all but one charge was thrown out.

"The allegation against Wen Ho Lee was that it was a conscious effort on his part to compromise classified information. The allegations against Dr. Deutch from the beginning have been lax handling. There's a world of difference, in my mind. I do not equate the two," Quigley said.

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