Vice President Cheney Addresses New CIA Analysts
As part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the founding of CIA's Directorate of Intelligence, Vice President Dick Cheney today addressed the graduates of the 10th running of the CIA's Career Analyst Program (CAP). The CAP is a nearly six-month training program for new intelligence analysts. The Vice President presented certificates to the graduates in a ceremony at CIA Headquarters.
At this morning's ceremony in the Headquarters Auditorium, the Vice President was introduced by Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet. The following is the text of the Vice President's speech:
"Thank you all very much. Thank you, George, for those words and thank you for that warm welcome. I see some familiar old faces in the audience; some people I've worked with over the years. It's nice to be back out at the Agency and it's a pleasure to be here with you this morning on a very special occasion. I appreciate the opportunity to personally congratulate the analysts who are today marking the 50th anniversary of the DI and are completing their participation in the CAP program.
"The men and women receiving diplomas today are following a long line of excellence and faithful service to the country. You were selected for the CIA on the basis of personal achievement, knowledge, character, and the belief that you have the capacity to make a great contribution to America's future. You are now ready for the next big step in your careers. Here in the presence of your families, and your colleagues, I want you all to know how highly President Bush and I value the accomplishments of the Intelligence Directorate and how greatly we respect the work done by this Agency. This has always been a hard-working place, but never more so than in the last 14 months. And for that, we are very grateful.
"I've counted it a privilege, as George pointed out, to work closely with the Intelligence Community throughout my career in government. First, during the Ford Administration as White House Chief of Staff; then as a member of the House Intelligence Committee during the Reagan Administration; and subsequently as Secretary of Defense during Operations Just Cause and Desert Storm in the early 90s.
"As we began the Presidential transition some two years ago, [Deputy Director for Intelligence] Jami Miscik came into my office with a CIA briefing. Since then, the President and I have begun every day, whether at home or abroad, with a CIA briefing. I probably spend more time with George Tenet than he spends with his own family. And that's as it should be. ((laughter))
"We believe it's absolutely critical to have that kind of close working relationship between the senior levels of the Administration and the Director and key people in the Intelligence Community and especially the CIA. We both have been tremendously impressed over the years by the professionalism and the very high standards of the CIA, both in the work that is done and in the people who do it.
"For years, analysis informed the decisions that kept the Cold War from turning into a hot war, and helped lead to the Soviet Union's demise. Today, the nature of the threat to our country has changed dramatically and the challenge to you in many ways is even more formidable. This Agency is at the center of the war on terror and the effort to prevent our enemies from gaining an advantage over us. As the President has said many times, we have entered a different kind of war, which we fight with many tools: diplomacy, law enforcement, financial influence, and military power. And the effective use of all of these tools requires superior intelligence and analytic work—a product that is insightful, accurate, and timely.
"Much is asked of you. We rely on your expertise as analysts to sort through enormous volumes of information and put together the pieces of some very important and complex puzzles. We also rely on you to point out where you have doubts, to admit what you don't know, and to question your own conclusions. We will look to you for new ideas and for actions that reflect the highest principles of the American people.
"In your line of work, the greatest contributions are also the hardest to quantify. We cannot begin to measure the value of freedom that is protected or the number of military and civilian lives that are saved by first-rate intelligence. What we can do, and what leaders have an obligation to do, is to make the case that an intelligence advantage is every bit as crucial as any weapons advantage. President Bush and I understand this and it's a case we're going to make to Congress and to the people as long as we hold our offices. And we're going to do everything in our power to give you the support and the resources you need to carry out your responsibilities.
"The Directorate of Intelligence has come a long way since it began operations some 50 years ago, when Harry Truman established a small group of experts to make sense of all available intelligence and to provide clear warnings of threats against America. Since that time, ten additional Presidents have benefited from President Truman's decision. The lesson is that choices made today have consequences far down the road. The priorities we set right now will help shape the world of tomorrow and our investments in intelligence will shape our understanding of that world.
"In national security, the long-time horizon often means that the wisest judgments and the best work go unrecognized until many years after the fact. That's especially the case for an Agency that doesn't go around seeking public recognition, whose work depends on secrecy, whose personnel serve in silence, often at considerable risk and sometimes at the cost of their own lives as we've already seen in this new war.
"The President and I want you to know that your work is not taken for granted and neither are you. Your achievements may not be widely known, but some of us do know, and we are in a position to express gratitude, not just for helping us do our jobs, but for doing your own jobs so well and reflecting great credit on the United States.
"Several months ago, I attended the dedication of the State Department's Foreign Service Training Center along with former Secretary of State George Shultz. George likes to tell the story of a quiz he used to give to each of our new Ambassadors after they'd completed the confirmation process and would pay a call on him in his office. He would ask each of them to go to the globe and point out the country they were being posted to. I'm sure that's not a commentary on the State Department. ((laughter)) But when Mike Mansfield, former Senator from Montana and longtime Ambassador to Japan came by for a visit one day, the Secretary said, 'Mr. Ambassador, now it's your turn. Show me your country.' Mike Mansfield spun the globe, and put his finger on the United States and said 'This is my country.'
"Americans of this generation have never been more proud to say that 'This is our country.' You and I have been given the honor of our lives, to serve America in a time of testing. On behalf of the President and the nation, thank you for your idealism, your sense of duty, and your loyalty to the United States. And again, to this class and to the Directorate of Intelligence, my congratulations. Thank you very much.”