Statement on the Release of the Inspector General's Report
February 22, 2000
On Friday, February 18, 2000, the Central Intelligence Agency provided to its congressional oversight committees a 77-page unclassified report by the CIA’s Inspector General on the improper handling of classified information by former Director of Central Intelligence John M. Deutch.
The Office of the Inspector General produced this document by removing classified national security information from its report dated July 13, 1999. That classified report was provided to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in August 1999.
In addition to removing national security information, CIA officials, where appropriate, also made slight modifications to protect the personal privacy of individuals named in the report. These changes do not alter the overall impact or conclusions of the report.
Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet has made it clear that he believes that Dr. Deutch’s lax handling of classified information was inexcusable. After the Justice Department declined to prosecute Dr. Deutch in April 1999 and following the completion of the IG’s report in July 1999, Director Tenet took the extraordinary step of suspending his predecessor’s security clearances and publicly announcing that move. In light of the fact that Dr. Deutch was at the time no longer a government employee, this was as stern an action as was available to Director Tenet.
Director Tenet has publicly stated that the CIA’s initial investigation into Dr. Deutch’s handling of classified information was not well conducted and that Congress, which was first notified of the ongoing investigation in June 1998, should have been advised of the situation sooner.
The Inspector General has publicly stated that his conclusion was that no one intentionally impeded the initial investigation, but his report concludes that the actions of some Agency officials had the effect of delaying the effort.
Following a recommendation of the IG, an Agency Accountability Board (AAB) met to assess the performance and actions of current and former Agency officials identified in the report. The AAB’s recommendations were forwarded to Senator Warren Rudman and the other members of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board for their review and advice before the Agency takes any actions on the AAB’s findings.
The Inspector General’s report paints a picture of individuals struggling with the challenge of conducting a sensitive security investigation of the Agency’s former Director. CIA officials faced difficult decisions on how to carry out a thorough investigation while preserving the personal privacy of Dr. Deutch. The report describes disagreements and conflicting recollections of those involved in the investigation. Some of those conflicts have not been resolved.
Director Tenet has made it clear that the Agency will not hide behind excuses for why the original investigation fell short of expectations. We could have and should have done better. That said, readers of this report should keep in mind that the initial investigation was undertaken amid substantial personnel turnover among Agency leadership. During this period, the regular, critical work of the Agency continued. Nonetheless, greater attention should have been devoted to resolving the Deutch matter.