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Deutch, Leaving CIA, Fails to Win Secretary of Defense Nomination

By Brett Altschul

Institute Professor John M. Deutch '61, who is currently the director of the CIA, was passed over in the nominations announced by the White House yesterday.

President Clinton nominated Senator William Cohen (R-Me.), who is retiring from the Senate, to be secretary of defense, the position for which Deutch was being considered.

Clinton also announced that Deutch will not continue as the CIA Director and nominated Anthony Lake, the current director of National Security Council, to fill the post.

However, Deutch, who served as provost at MIT from 1985 to 1990, may also be under consideration to head the Department of Energy, according to published reports, and there is some speculation he is headed to the private sector.

The current defense secretary, William Perry, announced on Wednesday that he would leave the Pentagon early next year, once the Senate approves a successor.

Over the past weeks, Deutch was often suggested as a strong candidate to be the next secretary of defense. Deutch was the the deputy secretary of defense until he became CIA director in 1995.

CIA stint was problematic

During Deutch's time at the CIA, the agency has faced many difficulties. The most severe of these was the uncovering of Harold J. Nicholson, a leading officer of the CIA according to Deutch, as a spy last month.

The agency has also come under fire for allegedly selling drugs to finance illegal operations during the 1980s.

However, Deutch won praise from Lake, the man to replace him. "John Deutch has left really large shoes to fill," Lake said. "They're size triple-E."

President Charles M. Vest was enthusiastic about Deutch's work in Washington. "MIT encourages its faculty to provide public service," he said. "Many, including Professor Deutch, have done so admirably and at high levels."

However, Vest stressed that Deutch's associations with MIT will not get MIT any special treatment from any government agencies. "The federal government has very clear guidelines about avoidance of conflict of interest by decision makers during and after government service," Vest said.

"These are followed with great care by our faculty when on leave to serve in the government," he said. "Such matters are monitored by the inspectors general in the relevant agencies."

Before becoming deputy secretary of defense, Deutch served in several upper-level positions at MIT. A professor of chemistry, he served as the dean of the school of science from 1982 to 1985 before becoming provost in 1985. He became an Institute professor in 1990 after serving briefly in the Bush administration.

Return to MIT a possibility

Rumors persist that Deutch may be interested in being president of MIT. "Mr. Deutch feels that he has close ties to MIT," said David Christian, a public affairs officer for the CIA. Deutch may wish to return to MIT after he leaves Washington, Christian said.

Deutch initially declined his current CIA post. According to published reports, his initial hesitance stemmed from a fear that accepting the position would lessen his chances of becoming president of MIT someday.

However, Vest dismissed this possibility, saying it has never been considered by the MITadministration. "I hope not to require a successor in the foreseeable future," he said. "I haven't given any thought to the matter."

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. He is the most prominent member of an MIT-Washington contingent that includes Secretary of the Air Force Sheila E. Widnall '60 and several economic and science advisers.