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Deutch Accepts Nomination to Become New CIA Head

By Shang-Lin Chuang
Associate News Editor

Institute Professor John M. Deutch '61, currently the deputy secretary of defense, accepted the president's nomination Saturday to serve as the director of the CIA.

Deutch accepted the post after the previous nominee, retired Air Force General Michael P. C. Carns, withdrew his name from consideration in response to the findings of an FBI background check. The check revealed that Carns and his wife may have violated immigration or tax laws by helping bring Elbino Runas, a young Filipino and family friend, into the country.

In announcing the nomination on Saturday, President Bill Clinton called Deutch "a dynamic, brilliant leader with all the necessary skills for this critical assignment and my highest trust and confidence. I look forward to working with him in building an intelligence community that will meet our national security challenges well into the next century."

"Deputy Secretary Deutch has played a lead role in reviewing our nuclear force posture," Clinton said. Deutch "has become intimately familiar with the workings of the intelligence community - especially its support for the military," he said.

"I appreciate the confidence the president has shown in me," Deutch said in accepting the nomination. "It is a deep honor and I look forward to this challenge with enthusiasm."

Deutch became undersecretary for acquisition and technology in February 1993. He was appointed deputy secretary of defense in February 1994, replacing William Perry, who was named secretary of defense following the resignation of previous DoD head Les Aspin PhD '66.

Deutch initially declined post

Deutch had unofficially been Clinton's first choice to take over the post of CIA director from James Woolsey since Woolsey's resignation in December.

Deutch declined the initial offer, saying that he was satisfied in his position as second in command at the Pentagon. It had also been rumored Deutch was concerned that working as the director of CIA could prevent him from one day becoming president of MIT, according to published reports.

Clinton elevated the post of CIA director to cabinet rank and gave it a policy-making role as incentives for Deutch to take the job.

"Strengthening U.S. intelligence is an effort to which I attach the highest personal priority," Clinton said. Appointing Deutch to a cabinet position makes that commitment "absolutely clear," he said.

The nomination now awaits Senate confirmation. "If confirmed, I look forward to working with [the president], the dedicated men and women of the intelligence communities, and the Congress to strengthen the quality of our nation's intelligence service," Deutch said.

Deutch is the most prominent member of an MIT-Washington contingent that includes former associate provost and current Secretary of the Air Force Sheila E. Widnall '60. His career in public policy began in the Kennedy administration and continued in various advisory and consulting positions for every administration since then except during the Nixon administration.

Deutch came to MIT from Princeton University in 1970. He was head of the Department of Chemistry from 1976 to 1977 and dean of the School of Science from 1982 to 1985. He served as provost from 1985 to 1990 and was named institute professor in 1990 on his return to MIT from the Bush administration.