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Former Provost John Deutch May Take Job as CIA Chief


Tech File Photo
John M. Deutch '61

By Ramy A. Arnaout
News Editor

The surprise resignation of CIA Director James Woolsey three weeks ago prompted several influential senators to predict that John M. Deutch '61, former provost and Institute professor of chemistry and current deputy secretary of defense, could be his successor.

However, despite the favorable outlook, Deutch may not want the job, according to a Jan. 7 article in Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report.

The article cited congressional sources as saying that Deutch has turned down the offer because he "enjoys the No. 2 position at the Pentagon, where his power and profile are unparalleled among administration deputy secretaries."

This new appointment would follow many years of experience in Washington for Deutch, who has held consulting and advisory roles in every administration since Kennedy, except under Nixon.

Experienced outsider sought

In a panel discussion on the Dec. 28 MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour, Sen. John Warner, (RVa.), Sen. Patrick Leahy (DVt.), and former Sen. Dennis DeConcini (DAriz.) set forth some of the attributes the new CIA head should have.

"The person has got to start from day one," said Warner, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee. "They can't go there and have any on-the-job training. They've got to have a background of experience that enables them to establish a credibility within the defense community and with Capitol Hill."

"It's got to be somebody who has the confidence of the President," Leahy said.

"You've got to have somebody that's willing to go in there and make some changes, some tough changes, and, of course, he has to have or she has to have the full backing of the President," said DeConcini, who is also a former chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

With these qualities in mind, the senators agreed that Deutch would be a good man for the job. Deutch "very definitely" topped the list of likely candidates for the position, Warner said.

"Also, with the Republican-controlled Congress, I would anticipate John Deutch would be swiftly confirmed because he has very carefully laid a strong foundation of credibility in his current position, and that credibility is transferable to" the new post, Warner said.

No matter who is chosen, "what's important is that a new director be nominated and confirmed swiftly, and that the person get on with it and reorganize that agency now," DeConcini said.

Should Deutch refuse an offer, retired Admiral William J. Crowe, who is former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Morton Abramowitz, who handled intelligence issues for the State Department under the Bush administration, would be among the next most likely candidates for the position, according to the Weekly report.