Feeds

Former CIA Director apologises to Congress

Swan song for one of the dumbest computer users alive

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

If former CIA Director John Deutch hasn't got sense enough to protect sensitive files stored on his computer, then we have to wonder how the US can hope to compete with its adversaries in the spook business. Deutch stored an incredible 17,000 pages of highly classified intelligence data on home computers, according to a report by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), released this week. Forget about hackers; imagine the blow to US intelligence efforts if adversaries had simply broken into his house and stolen the bloody things. Or imagine if agents had compromised or merely bamboozled his domestic servant, a resident alien with no security clearance who typically remained in residence while the family was away. "Such an entry operation would not have posed a particularly difficult challenge, had a sophisticated operation been launched by opposition forces," the OIG report noted. The report noted no clear evidence that secrets were compromised, and predicted that calculating the loss, if any, might require months of further investigation. The data in question included CIA budget data, confidential communications with the President, and details of extremely secret Pentagon operations known as "black ops". Deutch appeared before a closed session of the Senate Intelligence Committee to explain how this incredibly sensitive information came to be stored on his personal computers, even after leaving the Agency in 1996. He is said to have apologised sincerely and profusely to Congress. Translation: he has no explanation. Sorry as he may be, the OIG suspects that Deutch deliberately deleted classified files on his home computers after being caught in December of 1995. Worse, there are concerns now of a CIA cover-up to protect Deutch from punishment and the Agency from ridicule. Present CIA Director George Tenet waited a full 18 months before notifying Congress of Deutch's lapse of sanity, the OIG notes. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (Republican, Alabama) characterised the delay as "troubling." "I don't believe this was George Tenet and his staff's finest hour," Shelby observed dryly. "All of the delay, the lack of notification to the committees, the FBI, and so forth is....inexplicable." Shelby said the Committee is conducting its own investigation, and is considering the possibility that Tenet should be sacked. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
French 'terror law' declares WAR on the INTERNET itself, say digi-rights folks
Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité: Two out of three ain't bad
SCREW YOU, EU: BBC rolls out Right To Remember as Google deletes links
Not even Google can withstand the power of Auntie
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.