Washington The Pentagon's chief investigator is looking into whether senior defense officials, including former deputy secretary John Hamre, interfered with an effort last year to strip ex-CIA Director John Deutch of his access to military secrets.
Acting Inspector General Donald Mancuso said Wednesday that he began the inquiry a few weeks ago after completing an earlier probe into Deutch's mishandling of secret Defense Department information.
Among the matters to be reviewed is an internal Pentagon memo that states Hamre was "involved" in the decision to stop an August 1999 Defense Department inquiry that could have led to an emergency suspension of Deutch's security clearances there.
Deutch preceded Hamre as the department's No. 2 civilian official.
The CIA invalidated Deutch's security clearances at the spy agency that month after establishing that he mishandled classified information.
The Pentagon, however, waited until this February when Deutch voluntarily surrendered his military security clearances as the CIA formally concluded its investigative report on him.
Deutch left the Pentagon to become CIA chief, a job he had from May 1995 to the end of 1996. He is now a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Hamre said in an interview this week that he never tried to stop the inquiry or revocation of Deutch's security clearances and told subordinates to cooperate with CIA.
"I never did instruct anyone not to proceed," said Hamre, who left the Pentagon earlier this year and now heads a prestigious foreign policy research organization, the Center for Strategic and International Studies.