CIA Director Panetta Hosts Bin Ladin Operation Recognition Ceremony
June 29, 2011
In a ceremony held last Friday at CIA Headquarters, Director Leon E. Panetta honored the dedication and commitment of CIA officers, military service members, and Intelligence Community partners for their work on the historic operation that concluded the hunt for Usama Bin Ladin.
“Thanks to men and women across our Agency and across our Community, we applied the full range of our capabilities – human intelligence, technical collection, the very best tradecraft – to this difficult operation,” said Director Panetta. “Few events in recent history have carried the same impact, or been so widely acclaimed.”
In his remarks, the Director stressed the importance of never giving up and of questioning assumptions in the pursuit of truth. He told those in attendance to always have a back-up plan and to never shy away from risk, noting that accepting risk is inherent to the intelligence business and part of the spirit that makes America great. He ended by emphasizing that outstanding teamwork brought the operation to a successful conclusion, and that the ceremony was a celebration of a genuine team effort.
Director Panetta and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper presented commemorative plaques to the CIA, Intelligence Community, and military officers who contributed to the Bin Ladin intelligence case and operation.
Vice Admiral William McRaven accepted on behalf of the strike team that stormed the al-Qaeda leader’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
“Few can say that they had a hand in an operation that made the world a better place,” Director Panetta told the crowd of approximately 1,300 attendees. “Getting rid of Bin Ladin has made this nation and our world a safer place for our children.”
CIA officers from across all directorates were honored. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Letitia Long and National Security Agency Director General Keith Alexander accepted plaques on behalf of their respective agencies – both of which played key roles in building the intelligence case for the raid. Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Stephanie O’Sullivan accepted for the Open Source Center and the National Counterterrorism Center.
“To each of you who participated in this operation, you have my undying respect and my undying admiration,” Director Panetta said. “Please know that I will carry this memory forever in my heart. And so will the American people.”