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Remarks by CIA Director Gina Haspel at Swearing-In Ceremony

21 May 2018


Good morning everyone, and thank you Mr. Vice President for administering the oath.

Let me begin by thanking President Trump for joining us today and for offering those kind words. Mr. President, it means a great deal to me—and to the Agency—that you made the time to come out to Langley for this ceremony.

You have placed enormous trust in CIA throughout your presidency, and the men and women of CIA do not take that for granted. So thank you, Mr. President, for your confidence in me and your steadfast support of our mission and our people.

I am truly honored to have this opportunity to lead the best workforce in Government. It has been nearly 50 years since an operations officer rose up through the ranks to become the Director and after the experience of the last two months, I think I know why that is.

I look out in the crowd today and I see a strong representation of the CIA’s past, present, and possibly even the future—I am looking at two young ladies, special guests, who join us today. CIA has been more than a career, it has been for me, like many of you, a calling.

In this building and around the world today there are officers carrying out a vital mission, sometimes at great personal risk. I want each of you to know that I took on the position of Director because I want to represent you as well as lead you.

My years at CIA have rewarded me in ways that I could have never have imagined and I will continue to give it and you my all. There are countless role models and mentors who paved the way for me to stand here today. As the Director, I want the current CIA leadership team to be role models and mentors for our next generation of officers who will walk the streets of far-flung capitals and work the late nights here at Headquarters and abroad.

For me, being Director is about doing right by all of you so you have the tools and support needed to carry out our sacred mission.

Every CIA officer has taken the same oath that I just did to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies. And today, I recommit that I will do everything in my power to justify the faith that President Trump and the American people have placed in us, and to make sure that CIA continues providing the intelligence needed to keep our country safe.

I would be remiss if I did not also note the tremendous pride I take in being the first woman to serve as Director. I would not be standing before you today if not for the remarkable courage and dedication displayed by generations of OSS and Agency women—in roles both large and small—who challenged stereotypes, broke down barriers, and opened doors for the rest of us.

I am deeply indebted to them, and I am extremely proud to follow in their footsteps and to carry on their extraordinary legacy. I stand on the shoulders of heroines who never sought public acclaim but served as inspirations to the generations that came after them.

I also want to express a special thank you and welcome to Aliza and Zoe, who have joined us today. The notes from these two young ladies, ages six and seven, sent to me sat on my desk these last two months and motivated me daily. In their own words and pictures, they expressed their excitement about the opportunity my nomination represented, and to Aliza and Zoe, I would simply say, “We did it!”

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Lastly, allow me just a moment to talk about the future of this Agency. A little over a year ago, Secretary Pompeo first spoke to me about becoming the Deputy Director. At that time he said, “CIA is the world’s preeminent intelligence service and I want to make sure we position it to stay that way.” Mike was right, we are the best and our challenge is to always be the best.

We cannot rest on our laurels. We must learn from the past, but we cannot dwell in the past. We must constantly learn, adjust, improve, and strive to be better. We demand it of ourselves, and America deserves nothing less.

That includes boosting our foreign-language proficiency, strengthening our partnerships overseas and here at home, and deploying more of our officers to the foreign field. We are a foreign intelligence service and our workforce and our priorities need to reflect that.

We also need greater focus and effort on the strategic threats our nation faces, as well as the persistent threat from global terrorism. As always, the key to our success against these challenges will be empowering the incredible talent that resides within CIA.

The men and women who serve here are a national treasure, from the operations officers who collect our intelligence; to the analysts who contextualize and evaluate it for senior policymakers; to the support officers who enable every aspect of our mission; to the scientists, engineers, and cyber specialists who give us a decisive edge over our adversaries.

The only way to confront these threats is to forge ahead with determination and with the same expeditionary spirit that has defined our Agency since its founding more than 70 years ago. I am profoundly honored to lead you in that fight and to work alongside each one of you as we advance our vital mission.

So Mr. President, thank you again for giving me the opportunity to serve, to represent the men and women of CIA, and to carry out the critical work of helping protect our country, our people, and our way of life.

Thank you very much.

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Posted: May 22, 2018 10:31 AM
Last Updated: May 22, 2018 11:54 AM