W A S H I N G T O N, Aug. 28, 2000 -- A U.S. Justice Department official is recommending that criminal charges be brought against former CIA director John Deutch for mishandling secrets on his home computer, government officials said today.
They said Paul Coffey, a former veteran Justice Departmentprosecutor who was brought out of retirement by AttorneyGeneral Janet Reno to review the Deutch case, recently toldcolleagues he had decided that charges should be brought.
The officials said it would be up to Reno to decide whetherto approve Coffey’s recommendation, which has yet to be put inwriting. They were unable to say when she would act or what shewould decide.
Coffey’s investigation has marked the second time theJustice Department has reviewed whether Deutch committedsecurity violations on his home computer.
In April 1999, the Justice Department declined to bring anycriminal charges against Deutch, who is now a professor at theMassachusetts Institute of Technology.
A Critical ReportThen in July last year, the CIA inspector general completeda highly critical report into Deutch’s use of his home computerfor classified materials while he served as CIA director fromMay 1995 to December 1996.
Earlier this year, the Justice Department began a newinvestigation into the case, and selected Coffey, a veteranorganized crime prosecutor, to head the probe.
The Justice Department has faced criticism in Congress fornot bringing any charges against Deutch while it prosecutes WenHo Lee, a former U.S. government scientist, for allegedlymishandling nuclear secrets.
Lee, a former scientist at the Los Alamos NationalLaboratory in New Mexico and a naturalized U.S. citizen born inTaiwan, has pleaded not guilty to charges of downloadingnuclear secrets to unsecured computers.
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on theDeutch investigation.