CIA Holds Ceremony to Honor Fallen Colleagues
June 2, 2008
The Central Intelligence Agency this morning paid tribute to 89 colleagues lost in the line of duty. At a ceremony in the Headquarters lobby, CIA Director Mike Hayden told the stories of several officers whose sacrifice is commemorated on the Agency’s Memorial Wall, including Kenneth E. Haas and Robert C. Ames, who died in the Beirut embassy bombing on April 18, 1983.
“Each year, no other day is like this one,” Hayden said. “We come together, generations old and new, to pay special tribute to those we have lost in service: Men and women, never far from our minds, who loved their country—believed it is worth working for, fighting for, even dying for, so that all that defines America will prosper and endure.”
Ken Haas, the senior Agency officer in Lebanon, was remembered as a rising star who aced his clandestine training and loved the intelligence business. He was “a born leader and teacher,” who allowed his officers to work hard, but lightened the load with laughter and friendship, Hayden said.
Bob Ames, who was visiting Beirut on the day of the attack, was a gifted Arabic linguist and world-class expert on the Middle East. “Our government had come to rely on his deep insights into a troubled and complex region,” the Director said.
Two employees represented by new stars were killed in the past year while conducting missions in the war zones. Given the sensitivity of those operations, neither their names nor the details of their work can be made public. Hayden lauded the two as “heroes who accepted great risk to bring peace and freedom to those who have seen far too little of either.
“[They] are models of integrity, leadership, and patriotism…joined now with 87 others who embraced CIA’s mission and lived those same values. Each of them, in their own time and in their own way, served as our nation’s first line of defense. Faith, duty, and daring took them where others could not go and helped them accomplish what others could not accomplish.”
The memorial ceremony is an annual event attended by hundreds of employees, retirees, family members, and friends. This year, relatives of more than 30 of the fallen officers were in attendance.