Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Deutch Cleans Spy House, Hires New Trench Coats

CIA chief pledges to keep Congress better informed

THE head of the nation's beleaguered spy agency is moving quickly to make amends with Congress.

Less than a week after becoming the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Deutch has announced a new top management team made up mostly of fresh faces from outside the closed-door Langley, Va., headquarters.

About these ads

Presiding over his first press briefing with the relaxed demeanor of a college professor, Deutch calls the appointments only a ''first step.'' He asserts that they provide an indication of some of the changes he plans in an effort to restore morale at the CIA and lead it out of one of its most scandal-ridden periods.

''With this team, I feel absolutely certain that this agency and this community is going to move forward,'' a gray-suited Deutch said at a meeting Tuesday with reporters in the old CIA headquarters building.

Improving relations with Congress is a top priority, he says. Many lawmakers distrust the CIA because of what they consider an enduring cold war-era ''culture'' of secrecy and disdain for accountability by an entrenched ''old boy network.'' Addressing those concerns, Deutch notes that most of his nine new deputies come from outside the intelligence community and that they have considerable experience working with Capitol Hill.

''The problem of keeping Congress current and informed has got to be looked at with even greater rigor than it has in the past,'' said Deutch, an academic and veteran of government service who was deputy defense secretary before moving to the CIA. He said the CIA ''has not had a stunning success in relating to Congress.''

Many lawmakers still bristle over the failure of CIA officials to unmask Aldrich Ames, a CIA officer who spied unhindered for Moscow for years until his 1994 arrest. More recently, lawmakers accused the agency of deliberately misleading them about what it knew about two murders in Guatemala to which a Guatemalan Army officer on the CIA payroll was allegedly linked. One victim was an American.

On another front, Deutch vowed to improve career advancement opportunities for women and minorities at the CIA. He held out as the beginning of this process his appointment of Nora Slatkin, a senior Navy official, as the CIA's executive director, the agency's third highest position.

Explaining that Ms. Slatkin's duties include the day-to-day administration of the CIA, Deutch said: ''I hope it will not pass notice in the work force or elsewhere that a woman will be put in that position as part of our role here to make the glass ceiling into a glass floor.''

About these ads

Ms. Slatkin is the first woman to hold the No. 3 post in what has been a male domain since its founding in 1947. The CIA had faced a class action suit by dozens of women employees for alleged sex discrimination. An out-of-court settlement was reached earlier this year.

Deutch noted that none of the officials the new managers are replacing have been fired. He said several had wanted to retire for some time, while others would be reassigned. Those resigning include Adm. William Studeman, the deputy director who oversaw the agency after the departure of former director, James Woolsey, in January. Deutch nominated as Admiral Studeman's replacement George Tenet, a senior official at the National Security Council.

Deutch says that no other immediate new appointments are planned. He explained that he needs to restore morale and learn more about the CIA's inner workings before moving further.

The only senior post Deutch left unfilled was deputy director of operations (DDO), the chief of the CIA branch that recruits spies and performs espionage missions. Deutch appointed a five-member panel to develop a list of candidates for the post.

The DDO oversees the Directorate of Operations. One of four main directorates at the agency, the operations branch is seen as the most in need of reform. Experts familiar with the division say it is bloated, performs missions of questionable value, and is run by entrenched officials who shield each other by covering up mistakes and wrongdoing. Mr. Ames worked in the directorate.

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.