Directors of Central Intelligence

John M. Deutch

DCI, 10 May 1995-15 Dec. 1996

Material on Deutch as DCI

Arranged chronologically

New York Times. "[Editorial:] Mr. Deutch Gets Cabinet Rank." 14 Mar. 1995, A14 (N).

Expresses opposition to giving the DCI cabinet rank: "It should not have happened.... When the intelligence chief sits at the cabinet table, it is harder to keep intelligence assessments from becoming politicized."

Cassata, Donna. "Choice of Deutch To Head CIA Wins Qualified Praise." Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 18 Mar. 1995, 825-826.

Weiner, Tim. "C.I.A. Pick Is Facing Senate Test: Deutch Expected to Be Approved." New York Times, 26 Apr. 1995, A5 (N).

Weiner, Tim. "Nominee for C.I.A. Vows to Clear Out Cold War Culture." New York Times, 27 Apr. 1995, A1, A13 (N).

Appearing before the Senate intelligence committee, DCI-nominee John M. Deutch "bluntly detailed his plans to redesign the Central Intelligence Agency and the rest of the nation's intelligence agencies. Foremost among these, he said, was replacing the senior management of the C.I.A.'s operations directorate." [Clark comment: And thus were the problems of the 2000s portended.] See also, Donna Cassata, "Deutch Promises Bold Steps to Overhaul the CIA," Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, 29 Apr. 1995, 1193.

Weiner, Tim. "Senate Panel Endorses Nominee to Head C.I.A." New York Times, 4 May 1995, A14 (N).

Harris, John F., and R. Jeffrey Smith. "An Irresistible Force that Moved Clinton." Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 20-26 May 1995, 33.

The writers discuss John Deutch's personality as an important factor in the President's decision to give him cabinet rank as DCI.

Thomas, Evan, and Gregory Vistica. "Spooking the Director." Newsweek, 6 Nov. 1995, 42.

DCI Deutch's "large, floppy, sensitive man" personality is not wearing well at the CIA. On the other side, Deutch's aides "are worried about being forced to confront yet more scandals." On Deutch's part "the former MIT professor is already looking forward to leaving the agency, even if Bill Clinton is re-elected."

Smith, R. Jeffrey, and Walter Pincus. "Director of the Central Intelligence Budget." WPNWE, 18-24 Dec. 1995, 29.

Deutch took over as DCI in May 1995, and has "sought to consolidate the management of an unruly intelligence community." He "is spending less time running the CIA than his predecessors" and more time working on community-wide budgetary issues. He has also "placed new emphasis on intelligence support to U.S. military operations."

Weiner, Tim. "C.I.A. Chief Backs Secrecy, in Spending and Spying, to Senate." New York Times, 23 Feb. 1996, A6(N).

Deutch told the SSCI on 22 February 1996 that the intelligence budget might be made public if the Presidential commission recommends it. He also reiterated the existing policy of waiving the 1977 prohibition against using journalist cover in extraordinary circumstances.

Weiner, Tim. "Nominations Have Made C.I.A. Chief Odd Man Out." New York Times, 6 Dec. 1996, A15 (N).

"Instead of becoming Secretary of Defense next year, as he had hoped, Mr. Deutch ... is out of a job.... Deutch may have endangered his job by testifying to Congress this year that Saddam Hussein was stronger now than he was after the 1991 gulf war.... [T]he White House was furious at Mr. Deutch." In its editorial on the new Cabinet nominees, the New York Times states: "We are sorry to see John Deutch depart as Director of Central Intelligence. No one has made a more concerted effort to reform the C.I.A." "[Editorial:] Cabinet Renewal," 6 Dec. 1996, A20 (N).

Powers, Thomas. "The Whiz Kid vs. the Old Boys." New York Times Magazine, 3 Dec. 2000. [http://www.nytimes.com]

In this lengthy and at times insightful article, Powers looks at John Deutch's career and personality (inseparable components of the man), at the "culture" of the CIA's Directorate of Operations, and at the interaction between the two.

Writing about Deutch's stint as undersecretary of defense for acquisition and technology, Powers notes that "Deutch had an ability to undermine his best efforts. His relations with Congress were particularly bumpy. Even when committee members wanted the same thing he wanted[,]... Deutch managed to ruffle feathers.... The word for Deutch's way of pushing his way forward, spontaneously offered by many people interviewed for this article, was 'arrogance.'"

In discussing Deutch's introduction to the CIA, Powers puts great emphasis on the clash between the new DCI (who really did not want the job) and what he terms a "deep, careerist cynicism in what was being called 'the clandestine culture' of the directorate of operations.... The abiding theme of Deutch's tenure at the C.I.A. was a kind of ongoing guerrilla war between the D.C.I.'s office ... and the clandestine folks, marked by disrespect on Deutch's side and increasing dislike on the D.O.'s."

In one of best summations I have seen of the difficulties inherent in discussing the DO, Powers states: "The ethos of the directorate of operations is difficult to understand by outsiders; there is no way to sum up what the D.O. does. A company makes money, a bureaucracy processes paper, policemen make arrests, but attempts to count what the D.O. does -- and many have been made over the years -- invariably miss the point. One good operation outweighs a hundred failures, and a good operation is a thing of beauty -- it slips something away from a victim who never knows it is gone." Powers then notes that "[n]obody understood the technical side of intelligence collection better than Deutch, but he was blind to the human side."

Deutch's surrender of his CIA ID badge on 14 December 1996 normally "would have marked the end of public interest in the C.I.A. career of John Deutch." However, "the discovery that he had been breaking security regulations virtually from the day of his arrival by routinely working on classified documents on his computers at home" has meant a continuation of the saga. Powers reviews Deutch's violations in the handling of classified information, and clearly differentiates them from the case of Los Alamos physicist Wen Ho Lee. Nevertheless, the threat still remains that "the Justice Department may feel compelled to ... insist on a legal sanction" for Deutch's actions.

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