by Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet to Employees
of the Central Intelligence Agency and the US Intelligence
For the past nine years, I have been privileged to be
part of a great American familythe family of American Intelligence.
I have lived in the heart of the CIA family. In that long and
eventful time, we have shared moments of success and disappointment,
of happiness and sorrow.
Today, I share with you news that I gave the President last
evening. I have decided to step down as Director of Central Intelligence,
effective July 11th, the seventh anniversary of my being sworn
in as DCI.
I did not make this decision quickly or easily. But I know in
my heart that the time is right to move on to the next phase
of our lives.
In an organization as vital as this one there is never a good
time to leave. There will always be critical work to be done,
threats to be dealt with, and challenges that demand every ounce
of energy that a DCI can muster.
We have thrown our hearts into rebuilding our Intelligence Community
and I have been richly rewarded with the gratification of working
with the finest group of men and women our nation can produce.
I want to say a word of special thanks to President Bush. On
entering office he immediately recognized the importance of rebuilding
our intelligence capabilities. He spends time with us almost
every day. He has shown great care for our officers. He is a
great champion for the men and women of US Intelligence and a
constant source of support .
It has been an honor for me to serve as his Director of Central
And I am especially proud of the leadership team that we have
assembled in the Intelligence Community and which will continue
fighting the good fight long after I have taken my leave.
I want to thank Mike Hayden, and Jim Clapper, Jake Jacoby, Pete
Teets, John Russack and Tom Fingar for their friendship and support.
As I look back on how the Intelligence Community has evolved
over the past decade, there is much to be proud of.
First as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, and then as
Director, I have had the chance to be part of a massive transformation
of our intelligence capabilities. That revolution may not make
headlines, but it will continue to benefit our country for years
Intelligence has, after the drought of the post-Cold War years,
receive the investmentsin people and
dollars and attentionthat we need to meet the security
challenges of a new century and a new world.
You, the men and women of American Intelligence, have put those
investments to powerful use. And I believe the American people
will continue to demand that this great community of patriots
receive the funding and support that you so richly deserve.
At CIA, we have made good progress in rebuilding the Clandestine
Service. We have expanded and empowered our corps of analysts.
We have restructured and streamlined our support operations.
We have developed and acquired the technologies on which intelligence
and espionage depend. With new schools and training facilities,
we have sharpened instruction for each of our core professions.
We are recruiting the finest men and women in our history in
These initiativesand I can talk of only a fewcomplement
those of other intelligence agencies, and our enduring efforts
to build what we call ourselves, what I believe us to be: a true
community, working more closely than ever with our partners in
the military and in law enforcement, and overseas.
We have done
these things togethernot out of some bureaucratic
imperative, but to be better at our mission of protecting American
families and the freedoms that make America worth protecting.
For many years now, we have been at war with a deadly threat
to the United States and its values: the threat of terrorism.
Like other wars, it has been a struggle of battles won and, tragically,
battles lost. You have acted with focus and courage through it
all, before and after 9/11.
have achieved in this fight against a clever, fanatical enemy,
worldthe cells destroyed, the conspiracies
defeated, the innocent lives savedwill for most Americans
be forever unknown and uncounted. But for those privileged to
observe these often hidden successes, they will be an unforgettable
testament to your dedication and your valor.
issues, too, you have done magnificent work. Outstanding support
forcesnot only in Iraq and Afghanistan,
but around the world. Remarkable successes against weapons proliferators
and drug traffickers. Unique insights into the full range of
dangers and opportunities that face the United States beyond
each day, here and abroad, from diverse backgrounds, with varied
you come together for a single purpose: to
give our country an essential advantagein its understanding
of the conditions in the world, and in its ability to change
those conditions for the better.
To be sure, there is much yet to do. But there is a strong foundation
of talents and resources on which to build.
This I say with exceptional pride: The Central Intelligence
Agency and the American Intelligence Community are stronger now
than they were when I became DCI seven years ago, and they will
be stronger tomorrow than they are today.
That is not my legacy. It is yours.
You have done the hard work, turning new ideas into actions,
and new recruits into seasoned officers. You have taken bold
risks analytically, operationally, and with powerful technology.
As I often
tell younger and older officerswe have put
this Agency and our Community on an irreversible course. Directors
are stewards of a great institution for very limited periods
of time. You are the owners of the institution and in your hands
we have placed enormous confidence and trust. I want you to always
believe in yourselves and the power that you have - each and
every one of youto ensure that we stay on courseensure
that our families are taken care ofyoung officers are nourishedand
our mission come first always.
Our record is not without flaws. The world of Intelligence is
a uniquely human endeavor and as in all human endeavors we all
understand the need to always do better. We are not perfect but
one of our best kept secrets is that we are very, very, very
our shortcomings, the American people know that we constantly
evaluate our performance,
always strive to do better,
and always tell the truth. These are our values as professional
intelligence officers. We get up every day with only one purposeto
protect this country and its families. And I believe to the depth
of my soul that Americans are proud of each and every one of
you. They have said thank you to me in Peoria, Illinois, in Norman,
Oklahoma, in College Station, Texas, in Rochester, New Yorkeverywhere
I have ever had a chance to speak about speak about the wonderful
men and women that work here.
When I tell
people being Director of Central Intelligence is the best job
in governmentand the best job I will ever
haveI say it because of you. Because of your passion, your
creativity, your spirit and everything you do every day in taking
risks and meeting perils around the world.
Here at CIA,
I have had the greatest of colleagues, starting with John McLaughlina man of magical warmth, wityou
know his nickname is Merlinwisdom, and decency, the finest
deputy and friend I could ever have and he will be a great acting
This is the
most difficult decision I have ever had to make. And while
the media will put many different faces
on the decisionit was a personal decisionand had
only one basis in factthe well being of my wonderful family.
Nothing more and nothing less.
ago when I became the deputy director, a wonderful young man
in the front row was in the second grade. He
came right up to my beltI just saw a picture of the day
Judge Freeh swore me inand he's grown up to be . . .
Anyway, the point is, John Michael is going to be a senior next
year. I'm going to be a senior with him in high school.
to go to class together. We're going to party together. I'm
to learn how to instant message his friendsthat
would be an achievement!
You've just been a great son, and I'm now going to be a great
dad. Thank God you look like your mother. You're damned good
The most important woman in my life, who I refer to as the home
minister . . . look, if I could tell you the number of times
I get an elbow in the middle of the night about what I've forgot
to do for families at the CIA and our spouses and for our kids
. . . honey, you'll be the best first lady this institution has
ever had, and I love you. You are terrific.
all given us so much warmth, so much support and encouragement.
difficult part of this decision was knowing that I would
not be here with you every dayin our offices, the cafeteria,
conference rooms or the gymbut I do hope I have earned
a lifetime membership.
It is difficult in knowing that I will not be as directly connected
to the thousands of men and women overseas who along with their
families sacrifice so much to protect our country.
But there is also great joy in knowing that I will never be
far away in heart and spirit from all of you. You will have no
greater advocate wherever I may be for you and your families.
So, I wanted
to see you all todayto tell you personally
about all of this. Fully recognizing that we will have more time
over the next few weeks to be together in your workspaces so
that we can thank you for what you have done for us.
And so, as
I tell you about my plans to departwith sadness,
but with my head held very, very high, as yours should always
be because what you do is critical to everything our nation stands
forits goodness, its decency and its courage.
I want to
thank you for the support you have given me and my family.
colleagues and friends. You will always be
in our thoughts and prayers. It has been an honor for usfor
Stephanie, for John Michaelto be by your side.
It has been the greatest privilege of my life to be your Director.
May God always bless you and bless your families.
As Dick Helms used to say, let's get on with it and get back