Former President Clinton Visits CIA
July 27, 2009
Former President Bill Clinton visited the Central Intelligence Agency today to thank the men and women of CIA for their essential work in protecting the United States from foreign threats.
Welcoming the former President back to CIA, Director Leon E. Panetta said: “President Clinton understood very well the role of intelligence and its vital importance in the post-Cold War era. He relied on this Agency for information and insight, as he and his team confronted an array of foreign challenges.”
In remarks to hundreds of employees in the Headquarters Auditorium, President Clinton spoke about his work in Latin America, Africa, and elsewhere since leaving the White House. Noting the unique contribution of intelligence to American security, he said, “I think it’s critical to meeting the challenges that we face today and the ones we’re likely to face tomorrow. I guess that’s the most important thing I can say—that I am grateful to all of you for your service here."
Because CIA has grown tremendously in recent years, a majority of the current workforce was not on staff when Clinton was President. Director Panetta noted that many of today’s most pressing national security issues, such as global terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, were also priorities during the 1990s.
“We certainly can benefit from the experience and perspective of a man who for eight years worked to defuse those dangers, protect our nation, and share the best of its ideals with the rest of the world,” said Director Panetta, who served as budget director and White House chief of staff under President Clinton.
Prior to meeting with employees, President Clinton received briefings from senior analysts on counterterrorism and regional hotspots. “What we have to be doing is trying to stop the big bad things from happening, trying to limit the damage from the bad things that do happen, and trying to keep moving the world in the direction it should go,” he said. “In all of those things, we need intelligence and analysis.”