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Message from the Director: Arrivederci

Farewell Statement to Employees by Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Leon E. Panetta

June 30, 2011

Before I move on to my new job at the Pentagon tomorrow, I want to thank you one more time for your knowledge, capability, dedication, friendship, and patriotism—and for giving me the greatest, most fulfilling moments in more than 40 years of public service.

Twenty-eight months as CIA Director compressed an incredible variety of experiences into what seemed like a very brief time.  I flew some 200,000 miles to visit Stations and Bases in 35 countries, and dealt with virtually every overseas challenge our nation faces.  I saw unforgettable examples of personal courage, was awed by technological marvels, and witnessed history in the making.  Emotionally, this job took me to both the depths and heights:  from hearing we had lost seven of our own at Khowst, to the moment that sealed one of the greatest successes in our Agency’s history—ridding the world of Usama Bin Ladin.

We had one hell of a ride together.  In answering the President’s call to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qa’ida and its allies, we launched the most aggressive counterterrorism operations in our history.  We helped him chart a way forward for the war in Afghanistan, and manage the revolutionary changes in the Middle East and North Africa.  We countered the development of dangerous weapons by rogue governments, and applied our unique strengths to fighting the cyber threat.  And, thanks to some great tradecraft and amazing technical skill, we made critical progress in penetrating hard targets around the world.

But it’s not only what we did; it’s how we did it.  In Khowst’s terrible aftermath, we pulled together as a family and fulfilled the pledge we made to the loved ones of our fallen heroes.  Whenever one of our own was in danger overseas, we upheld our core principle that CIA leaves no one behind.  At all times, we held firm to our integrity and to the values of the nation we serve.

Along the way, we made our Agency stronger and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the future.  We strengthened our crucial ties to the people’s representatives in Congress and built even closer working relationships with the DNI, our partners in the Community, and the warfighters.  We deepened our commitment to advance workforce diversity, and redoubled our efforts to enhance our foreign language capabilities.  By focusing on the development of our people, technology, and infrastructure, our Agency is on track with our five-year plan to become even more efficient and agile in the years to come.

Wherever I go and whatever I accomplish in life, I will always treasure the memory of leading you, America’s silent warriors, in tackling some of the toughest missions our country has to offer.  The Panettas and Bravo will forever be part of the Agency family—and you will be part of ours.

As I said on Tuesday, I feel fortunate that this is not a situation where I have to say goodbye.  It’s more like arrivederci.  Tomorrow, we’ll still be partners in the same noble cause:  protecting our nation, advancing America’s values, and building a better world for our children.

Thank you all.  You will be in my heart forever.  May God bless you, and may He keep you and our wonderful country safe.

Leon E. Panetta

Historical Document
Posted: Jun 30, 2011 03:05 PM
Last Updated: Apr 29, 2013 01:32 PM