Dr. John Deutch stepped down Sunday as a member of the cabinet and Director of Central Intelligence, and he expressed an eagerness to return to his position as Institute professor at MIT.
"After being in Washington for four years, you're eager to be a private citizen," said Professor Deutch in an interview with The Boston Globe. "I've been away from MIT as long as one can be politely away and still be a faculty member. There was a choice: Did I want to sever my ties with academia or at least with MIT?"
He said he plans to return as a professor, serve on presidential commissions, write about intelligence issues and devote time to the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of Fine Arts.
He told the Globe he would have remained in Washington if he had been named secretary of the Department of Defense, where he served as an undersecretary and deputy secretary for two years. "I'm not at all bitter about that. I absolutely knew the pressures that were on the president in this matter, and I knew that I was very fully and completely considered." (The defense post went to retiring Senator William Cohen of Maine, who is thus far the only Republican that the President has nominated for his cabinet.)
Professor Deutch did not rule out other positions, saying, "I may do something entirely different. I don't know what the world will bring to my doorstep."
As the first director of all the intelligence agencies, Professor Deutch said he made good progress in improving cooperation among the agencies, improved the CIA's financial management and sharpened the reports from the agency's 33 international stations. He said CIA employees had shown they could adapt to untraditional missions such as providing intelligence for the multinational peacekeeping force in Bosnia.
"I'm very comfortable with what the accomplishments are, without saying that everything is done that needs to be done," he said.
Regarding the arrest last month of CIA officer Harold Nicholson for allegedly selling secrets to the Russians, Professor Deutch said, "I think the big news in this case is how well the FBI and the CIA worked together to catch this person.
"Some case officers in the CIA, and in other agencies of the government as well, just don't think that it's that big a deal anymore to give away secrets. It seems to make it easier to spy for money because of the fact that our country's survival is not at stake the way it was during the Cold War."
Professor Deutch's work as Director of Central Intelligence received bipartisan praise last week at a Senate hearing. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), praised him for going to Los Angeles to take questions from members of the black community who accused the agency of aiding in the selling of crack cocaine. Deutch told the Globe he felt he had to deny the report personally. "I think it largely worked. I mean, it was not a pleasant few hours there."
Overall, he said, his intelligence post was satisfying, but acknowledged that "you do get. exhausted after a period of time in these jobs.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 18, 1996.