Feeds

Former CIA Director apologises to Congress

Swan song for one of the dumbest computer users alive

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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?