WASHINGTON — Former CIA Director John Deutch's storing of national security secrets on a home computer was a serious lapse in security but not comparable to allegations against a former Los Alamos scientist, CIA Director George Tenet insisted Thursday.

An internal CIA report that Deutch stored some of the nation's most sensitive national security secrets on a computer that also was used to access pornographic Internet sites and to receive and send e-mail has generated alarm among congressional intelligence overseers and throughout the intelligence community.

Tenet, who stripped Deutch of his security clearances last August, found himself defending the CIA's handling of the case for a second day on Capitol Hill.

During Thursday's session of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., asked why Deutch was being treated differently from Wen Ho Lee since "both of them made similar mistakes in the fact that they both had information that was very important to this country on unsecured computers."

Lee has been indicted for mishandling nuclear-weapons secrets, is being held without bond and may face life in prison if convicted.

"In one instance, there is an intent to do harm to the United States. That's a legal judgment that's been made. In the other instance, a similar legal judgment was not made," Tenet said.

The CIA referred the Deutch matter to the Justice Department, but Justice decided not to prosecute.

"I don't think the cases are similar. That's not to say that this case involving the former director is not serious. If it was not serious, I would not have taken the action" in revoking Deutch's security clearances, Tenet said.

Tenet said that Lee has been accused of transferring classified computer files to other computers, while Deutch for the most part created the sensitive files himself while working from home.

Tenet declined to discuss new revelations that an e-mail from a Russian scientist was found on the hard drive of one of Deutch's CIA-issued home computers, and that someone in the Deutch household had used the computers to access "high risk" sites on the Internet, including pornography sites.

"I can't and I won't," Tenet told the panel. He said the material should have remained confidential, and that Senate and House intelligence committees were pursuing the matter. "Let the matter rest there," he said.

Committee Chairman John Warner, R-Va., called the reports of Deutch's computer behavior "very disturbing."

In testimony a day earlier to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Tenet said there was no evidence that Deutch's computer had been hacked into by foreign adversaries. But neither was there any sure way to tell that it hadn't been, given that the technology exists for such intrusions, he said. "There was enormously sensitive material on this computer, at the highest levels of classification," Tenet said.

Congressional and intelligence community sources said among the e-mail messages sent to Deutch was one from Europe from an individual who identified himself as a former Russian scientist. Investigators determined that the e-mail was incoming, and not solicited or answered by Deutch, the sources said.