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‘The time is right to move on’

Full text of CIA Director George Tenet’s remarks Thursday on his resignation, as provided by the CIA.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Here is the text of CIA Director George Tenet’s remarks Thursday to CIA employees, as provided by the CIA:

For the past nine years, I have been privileged to be part of a great American family, the 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 U.S. Intelligence and a constant source of support. It has been an honor for me to serve as his Director of Central Intelligence.

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 to come.

American intelligence has, after the drought of the post-Cold War years, begun to receive the investments — in people and dollars and attention — that 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 record numbers. These initiatives — and I can talk of only a few — complement 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 together — not 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.

What you have achieved in this fight against a clever, fanatical enemy around the world — the cells destroyed, the conspiracies defeated, the innocent lives saved — will 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.

On other issues, too, you have done magnificent work. Outstanding support to American forces not 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 its borders.

In short: each day, here and abroad, from diverse backgrounds, with varied skills, you come together for a single purpose: to give our country an essential advantage — in its understanding of the conditions in the world, and in its ability to change those conditions for the better.