DoD News BriefingTuesday, November 28, 2000
Presenter: Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA
Q: Ken, on a different subject: I read a published report today that contained quotes from the Pentagon inspector general's report on the laptop used by former deputy secretary John Deutch. Can you tell us what's either -- can you either tell us what was in that IG report or what conclusions it came to? Or better yet, can we get a copy of the report?
Bacon: Well, I think if the report's not available, it will be available this afternoon and I think I'll let you draw your own conclusions about the report.
Q: Yes, but we -- do you think it will be available this afternoon?
Bacon: It should be. It should be available after this briefing.
Staff: (off mike)
Bacon: Not after this briefing? Sometime.
Q: Ken, what's the next step on that whole thing? Is the secretary committed to getting that resolved before he leaves office? What happens next here?
Bacon: Well, in February the secretary put two -- took two steps. The first, he asked the IG to find out what Dr. Deutch had done with personal computers while he was the under secretary for acquisitions and technology, and when he was deputy secretary of Defense.
Second, he asked the -- he asked the assistant secretary for command, control, communications and intelligence to look at any damage, to try to find out what, if any, damage had been done by the way Dr. Deutch handled classified information on his computers at home.
The first part of that review has been completed by the IG. It was actually completed in August. The second part is not yet complete. That's the damage assessment. That's still being worked on. My anticipation is it'll be done relatively soon, and by that, I mean, I would guess by the end of the year.
There is a recommendation in the IG report about the way disk drives should be handled for DoD computers that are disposed of, in other words that leave the department. And these are disk drives -- it basically recommends the disk drives that handle both classified and unclassified information be destroyed before the computers are disposed of. We're in the process of looking at that, and I would anticipate there will be a ruling on that relatively soon. It's easy policy to carry out, but it would -- it would hurt a program by which we give a lot of old computers to schools. They would get these computers without hard disk drives, which would reduce their usefulness somewhat. (Laughter.) So we're looking at the best way to handle that. And there may be other actions taken as well, but that's the primary recommendation in the IG report.
Q: But what happens after the damage assessment is done? What does the secretary do next?
Bacon: Well, I think we'll wait and see what the damage assessment says. It's a little hard to determine what we do next until we have the complete review. And the review isn't yet finished, because we don't have the damage assessment.
Q: Does he want to get this done before he leaves office?
Bacon: Well, he would like to get it done before he leaves office, sure. And -- but I think we'll just have to wait and see what the damage assessment says before we answer that question, "What do we do next?"
Q: What happens to Deutch? I mean, is there -- what's the next step in terms of his future as a defense --
Bacon: Well, Dr. Deutch voluntarily relinquished his security clearances and said that he has not handled any classified information since he relinquished those security clearances voluntarily.
The import of a voluntary cessation of security clearances is that it can be done instantly and was done instantly. To withdraw a security clearance requires a bureaucratic process that can take some time. So Dr. Deutch's decision to volunteer the cessation of his clearances ended this aspect of it quickly -- that is, whether or not he's improperly using classified information in his current role as a director of companies or as a professor. So that's already happened.
The IG report basically looks at what Dr. Deutch did with his computers and whether or not it complied with DOD regulations.
The next step will be up to the secretary, but we can't decide what that will be until we have the full assessment.
Q: Just on the damage assessment thing, is this a hypothetical damage assessment? In other words, if the information that he improperly handled had -- something had happened to it, or -- I mean, do you know that there is any damage?
Bacon: No, because the damage assessment isn't complete.
Q: Will the damage assessment try to answer the question of whether it was compromised or what if it had been compromised?
Bacon: I can't answer that question, because this is ongoing.