Devotion to Duty
“Once I got on the plane to come back home, I knew I did everything I possibly could do for this country and our organization…and, in my own head, that is an achievement.”
– CIA Communications Officer
The efforts of CIA officers in the days after September 11th accomplished what this Agency set out to do—overthrow the Taliban, deny al-Qa’ida its safe haven, and provide critical intelligence to policymakers.
CIA officers, like all Americans, are forever shaped by what they experienced on September 11th and in the months that followed. Some of the men and women who shared their stories here have become leaders at this Agency; some continue to work on counter-terrorism; and all serve with heartfelt devotion to the same cause: that such a tragedy never happens again.
The communications officer who was with the first team into Afghanistan brought his family to an Agency ceremony honoring his work. Afterward, his daughter—a college student—told him she wanted to be part of CIA’s mission. She now works in the Directorate of Science and Technology.
More than half the workforce has joined the Agency since 2001. The new officers have brought tremendous skill, energy, and dedication to an organization transformed by the terrible events of that fateful day in September. CIA today is a far more collaborative intelligence service—internally, among our Directorates, and externally, with our Intelligence Community colleagues and our foreign liaison partners.
Our people are far more likely to serve abroad, often in dangerous places: one of every seven officers has served at least 90 days in a war zone. That expeditionary approach extends to our analysis, too. More than ever before, our analytic culture encourages exploring alternate scenarios, gaining ground truth from overseas postings, and vigorously challenging long-held assumptions.
Terrorism remains a very real threat to our nation—and our Agency’s highest priority. Whether we served at CIA on September 11th or came here because of it, our memories of that day steel us for the hard but deeply satisfying work of keeping our country safe. That, more than anything, is September’s legacy.
These are only a fraction of the stories we are able to share with the public. Many others must remain secret.
For more Legacy pictures, click here.