Poised to Become CIA HeadBy Stacey E. Blau
Associate News Editor
Institute Professor John M. Deutch '61 is poised to become director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted unanimously on Wednesday to recommend Deutch's confirmation as director.
A vote before the full Senate is expected in the next few days.
Deutch, currently the deputy secretary of defense and provost of MIT from 1985 to 1990, will likely be sworn in as director and assume his new duties sometime next week.
"John Deutch is extremely well prepared to take on the job of directing the CIA," said President Charles M. Vest. "It is very important that this agency have a clarified mission and carry it out appropriately in this post-Cold War era. John has the stature, command of geopolitical issues, and decisiveness to accomplish this."
In March, Deutch accepted Clinton's nomination for the position 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 position of director has been left vacant since the resignation of R. James Woolsey in December.
Clinton raised the CIA director's post to cabinet rank and gave it policy-making powers as incentives for Deutch to take the job.
Deutch had unofficially been Clinton's first choice to become director in December when Woolsey resigned. Published reports said that Deutch declined the offer, saying that he was satisfied with in his position as second in command at the Pentagon.
It was also rumored that Deutch was concerned that working as CIA director might jeopardize his chances of one day becoming president of MIT.
In addition to running the Central Intelligence Agency, Deutch will oversee the rest of the nation's intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency, which conducts electronic surveillance, the National Reconnaissance Office, which builds spy satellites, and the Defense Intelligence Agency, which organizes military intelligence.
Deutch to overhaul agency
Deutch will take over the CIA at a time when the agency has been plagued by accusations of mismanagement and corruption.
The mishandling of the Aldrich Ames espionage case prompted Woolsey's resignation, and the agency has been accused of providing funds to a Guatemalan military regime responsible for the killing of an American and the spouse of another.
Several female employees of the CIA have also strongly criticized the agency for mistreating women. Deutch has vowed that the CIA will take not part in immoral, illegal, or incompetent intelligence activities.
In an editorial last Friday, The New York Times praised Deutch for his "emphatic commitment to cleanse and redesign" the CIA by dismissing those involved in or those who fail to report abuses or misconduct.
Deutch also promised that he would resign from his post if Clinton ever asked him to violate his commitment to keep Congress abreast of all CIA activities.
But The Times criticized Clinton's plan to elevate Deutch's post to cabinet rank, saying that the move might cause intelligence operations to unduly influence policy decisions.
Deutch is the most prominent member of an MIT-Washington contingent that includes former associate provost and present Secretary of the Air Force Sheila E. Widnall '60.
Deutch began his career in Washington during the Kennedy administration and has served in consulting positions for every administration since then except the Nixon administration.
Deutch came to MIT from Princeton University in 1970. He served as chair 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.