SPY PANEL DIRECTOR WHO KILLED HIMSELF WAS UNDER A PROBE

Bill Gertz
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

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     The staff director of the House Intelligence Committee
who killed himself June 4 was under investigation by the
committee, which oversees the U.S. government's most
sensitive secrets, The Washington Times has learned.

     John Millis, 47, a former CIA operations officer who
had been placed on administrative leave by the committee,
was found dead at the Breezeway Motel in Fairfax City, Va.,
Police Chief Doug Scott said. Police ruled he died from a
self-inflicted gunshot wound.

     As committee staff director, Mr. Millis had access to
the U.S. intelligence community's most intimate secrets. He
knew about all U.S. covert action operations, which require
written presidential notifications.

     He also was privy to the most sensitive information
collected by CIA agents, electronic eavesdropping and
photographic satellites.

     According to police, Mr. Millis had called a friend and
said he was distraught over being placed on administrative
leave with pay by committee Chairman Rep. Porter J. Goss,
Florida Republican. Mr. Millis also said he was facing
administrative and criminal penalties as possible outcomes
of the investigation.

     The friend then dialed *69, the automatic call-back
sequence, and was connected to the Breezeway Motel in
Fairfax. The friend explained to the motel operator that Mr.
Millis was threatening to commit suicide.

     Police were called and upon arriving found Mr. Millis
dead in the bathroom.

     Mr. Goss could not be reached for comment. The
committee's staff and Mr. Goss' spokeswoman did not return
several telephone calls seeking comment on the circumstances
surrounding Mr. Millis' departure from the committee.

     However, several U.S. government officials said Mr.
Millis was fired and that the investigation was related to
improper activities by him.

     Chief Scott said the investigation into his death was
handled with extreme care in light of the case of White
House Deputy Counsel Vincent W. Foster Jr., whose shooting
death in 1993 was ruled a suicide. The investigation into
Mr. Foster's death, however, left many unanswered questions
and spawned conspiracy theories.

     Chief Scott said the detective who investigated Mr.
Millis' death made sure there were no unanswered questions
that might indicate a conspiracy, because of his CIA
background and role as the committee staff director.

     "Our detective knew that going in," Chief Scott said.
"That's why he was very careful in processing the scene and
checking for anything that might be suspicious."

     After Mr. Millis was found dead, FBI agents and Capitol
Police were sent to the motel to look for classified
documents, but found none. Security officials, however,
recovered classified documents from a safe in Mr. Millis'
home.

     An FBI spokesman said the FBI was not investigating Mr.
Millis for unauthorized disclosures.

     Mr. Goss said in a statement at the time of Mr. Millis'
death that he was stunned by the loss.

     "It seems that there are always more 'whys' than there
are answers when a tragedy like this occurs," Mr. Goss said.
"It also seems that words alone are insufficient to
alleviate the enormous pain we feel. John will be greatly
missed by members and staff alike."

     The statement made no mention that Mr. Millis was under
investigation.

     CIA Director George J. Tenet said in a statement that
"we in the intelligence community are shocked and saddened
by this tragic loss. We worked closely with John for many
years. He was a tenacious advocate for a strong national
intelligence capability."

     Mr. Millis had publicly criticized former CIA Director
John Deutch, calling him the worst director in the agency's
history. During a speech at the Smithsonian Institution Feb.
15, Mr. Millis said Mr. Deutch inflicted "major damage" to
the CIA's espionage branch.

     The criticism prompted some officials to speculate that
Mr. Millis may have improperly disclosed information about
an investigation of Mr. Deutch by the CIA's inspector
general.

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