Air Force Link News Article

Carns withdraws from CIA consideration

by MSgt. Gary Pomeroy
Air Force News Service

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Former Air Force vice chief of staff retired Gen. Michael P.C. Carns has withdrawn from consideration as director of the Central Intelligence Agency and President Clinton has nominated Deputy Secretary of Defense John M. Deutch for the post.

"The principal reason for my withdrawal is that a list of venomous and abusive accusations have been put forth -- all without merit -- which are aimed at smearing my wife and my children," read a statement issued by Carns. "This is conduct simply beyond the pale and kills any willingness on my part to proceed with the confirmation."

Carns, who retired from active duty in September, acknowledged as "substantially correct" an allegation that he "failed to properly compensate a young Filipino who legally accompanied" the Carns family to the United States from the Philippines.

"Moreover, I failed to ensure that I was conversant in detail with the terms of his visa issued in 1987 and I accept responsibility," the statement read.

However, the statement expressed concern that "these innocent errors may not be properly understood and will be exploited to question my competency and suitability" during the Senate confirmation process.

In accepting the withdrawal, President Clinton praised Carns' "broad experience, his intelligence and his dedication."

"The sad truth is that we live in a time when even the most exemplary individuals like General Carns -- who already has given so much to his country -- are deterred from serving by the fear that their records will be distorted, their achievements ignored and their families maligned," read a Clinton statement.

"General Carns' decision to withdraw is our country's loss," read Clinton's statement. "This man -- who flew more than 200 combat missions over Southeast Asia and distinguished himself as a military commander and an innovative manager -- was prepared to come out of retirement to serve America one more time in a vital mission.

"I deeply regret that he will not have that opportunity."

In announcing Deutch's nomination, Clinton stressed the deputy secretary of defense's experience serving "at the highest levels of academia and government."

Deutch has been an assistant professor of chemistry at Princeton and provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was also under secretary of energy in the Carter administration and a member of President Bush's foreign intelligence advisory board.

Clinton credited Deutch's role in reviewing the U.S.'s nuclear force posture, his overseeing of weapons systems modernization and his becoming intimately familiar with the workings of the intelligence community."

The president also vowed to make the CIA director a cabinet-level position if Deutch is confirmed by the Senate.

"I appreciate the confidence the president has shown in me," read a statement by Deutch.

Deutch's statement indicated he looked forward to working to "strengthen the quality of our nation's intelligence service."

"My only regret is the prospect of leaving the great military and civilian team in the Department of Defense."

If Deutch's nomination is approved by the Senate, he will replace R. James Woolsey, who submitted his resignation in December.