DCI Announces Departure of Jack Downing
May 7, 1999
Director of Central of Intelligence George J. Tenet announced today with regret that Jack Downing, the CIA's Deputy Director for Operations (DDO), will be departing the Agency at the end of July. Tenet said James Pavitt, currently the Associate Deputy Director for Operations, will succeed Downing as DDO when he leaves the post.
"I asked Jack Downing in the summer of 1997 to leave a great job in the private sector and return to CIA to lead our clandestine service in the direction we both were convinced it should go," Tenet said. "Ever loyal to his country, his Agency, and to the Directorate he loved--the Directorate in which he had spent 32 brilliant years--Jack answered the call."
"Jack and his talented leadership team in the Directorate of Operations have done a tremendous service in just under two years to position our clandestine service, already the world's best, for the challenges of the 21st century," Tenet said. "Thanks in great measure to Jack, our Directorate of Operations is now stronger and it can look to the future with even greater confidence. Secure in the knowledge that he has done what he set out to do, Jack has told me that he feels the time is right to move on, and I respect his wishes," Tenet added.
"It is espionage that defines our Agency and Jack focused on the basics--the soundest possible operational and counterintelligence tradecraft tailored to meet the national security threats our country confronts today and those it will confront in the decades to come," Tenet added. "Jack's example will continue to inspire the rising generations of operations officers. They will be his greatest legacy. All of us owe Jack Downing an enormous debt of gratitude."
In announcing Pavitt's appointment as DDO to the CIA workforce, Tenet said, "Jack Downing will be succeeded by an exceptionally dedicated and experienced clandestine operator. Jim Pavitt has more than a quarter century of experience in clandestine operations and he has excelled at every aspect of the business."
Pavitt joined the CIA in 1973 as a Career Trainee after service as an Army intelligence officer and a stint on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant. Pavitt has been posted to Europe, Asia, and Washington. In 1990, he was detailed to the National Security Council as Director of Intelligence Programs where he provided the President and other senior policymakers with analysis and advice on critical intelligence related issues. Pavitt was appointed Senior Director and Special Assistant to the President for Intelligence Programs in 1992.
Following his return from the National Security Council, Mr. Pavitt's assignments at CIA included senior positions in the nonproliferation arena, and, since July 1997, Associate Deputy Director for Operations.
"Jim's diverse assignments have given him great opportunities to set and drive our collection priorities and to serve as an activist, energetic strategic planner for our clandestine service," Tenet said.
As DDO, Pavitt will lead the directorate responsible for the clandestine collection of foreign intelligence, including human source intelligence (HUMINT).
"Our country needs a clandestine service that challenges conventional wisdom and encourages responsible, creative risk-taking," Tenet said. "We need officers who are objective, who can see what others do not, who can dare what others will not, and who can surmount obstacles when others cannot. The team of Downing and Pavitt was one of the strongest the DO--or this Agency--has ever known. And I look forward to continuing that great work with Jim," Tenet said.