HIGHTOWER: John Deutch's "Punishment"

Until about three years ago, John Deutch was head honcho of the CIA -- the man in charge of our nation's spy secrets. But the boss turns out to have been a pretty careless spook, having violated his own agency's security rules ... and the law.It seems that Deutch transferred some 200 of America's secret documents onto computers that he had in his home, including highly-sensitive memos to the president, as well as reports of covert intelligence operations. He kept his home computers linked to the Internet, meaning the classified information was readily available to hackers operating from anywhere in the world. You don't have to be James Bond to figure out that the personal computers of an ex-CIA chief are likely to draw some prying eyes.But, was Deutch prosecuted for reckless endangerment of our secrets, as any other agent would have been? Hardly. First, top officials at the CIA apparently tried to slow down any investigation into the Big Boss' illegal security breaches. But the truth came out, so Plan B was initiated. Its essence was to [quote] "punish" Deutch by revoking his top-secret security clearances. George Tenet, the current CIA chief who previously was Deutch's top assistant, announced that he had taken the "tough decision to indefinitely suspend" his former boss' clearances.Sounds tough, until you realize that others have received far harsher punishment for doing essentially the same thing. Also, his security suspension turns out to have had a fat loophole in it -- Deutch was quietly allowed to keep what officials call an "industrial clearance." You see, the former chief spook now is a well-paid consultant to such corporate military contractors as Raytheon, so his government pals allowed him to continue peeking at national secrets, enabling him to cash-in on his years at the CIA.This is Jim Hightower saying ... When you get in trouble at the CIA, it's not what you've done that counts ... but who you know.

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