[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1994, Book I)]
[January 4, 1994]
[Pages 4-5]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks to Central Intelligence Agency Employees in Langley, Virginia
January 4, 1994

    Thank you very much, Mr. Woolsey. Tony Lake and I are glad to be 
here--and always seemed to me I ought to visit the CIA on a snowy day. 
[Laughter] Thank you for that warm welcome.
    I wanted to come here today for two reasons, first, to meet you and 
to thank you, those of you who work for the Central Intelligence Agency 
who devote your lives and your skills to the service of our country. The 
second thing I wanted to do is to commemorate those who have given their 
lives in the service of the country through the Central Intelligence 
    Intelligence is a unique mission. Nobody knows that better than 
those of us who have the honor to serve in the Oval Office. When 
President Truman autographed the photo of himself that hangs in this 
building, he wrote, ``To the CIA, a necessity to the President of the 
United States from one who knows.'' Every morning the President begins 
the day asking, ``What happened overnight? What do we know? How do we 
know it?'' Like my predecessors, I have to look to the intelligence 
community for the answers to those questions. I look to you to warn me 
and, through me, our Nation of the threats, to spotlight the important 
trends in the world, to describe dynamics that could affect our 
interests around the world.
    Those activities are particularly important now. The end of the cold 
war increases our security in many ways. You helped to win that cold 
war, and it is fitting that a piece of the Berlin Wall stands here on 
these grounds. But even now, this new world remains dangerous and, in 
many ways, more complex and more difficult to fathom. We need to 
understand more than we do about the challenges of ethnic conflict, 
militant nationalism, terrorism, and the proliferation of all kinds of 
weapons. Accurate, reliable intelligence is the key to understanding 
each of these challenges. And without it, it is difficult to make good 
decisions in a crisis or in the long-term.
    I know that working in the intelligence community places special 
demands on each and

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every one of you. It means you can't talk freely about much of your work 
with your family and your friends. For some, it means spending a lot of 
time far away from home. For others, it's meant serving in situations of 
significant personal danger. While much of your work is sensitive and 
cannot be discussed publicly, I know what you do. I value it, and I 
respect you for doing it. And I wanted to come here to say thank you.
    The 56 stars carved into the wall here in this lobby remind each who 
passes by this place of the ultimate risks of intelligence work. Each 
star memorializes a vibrant life given in the service of our Nation. 
Each star reminds us of freedom's high price and how the high share some 
must bear that all the rest of us must respect. My heart goes out to the 
families and to the friends of each of those whose sacrifices are 
represented here.
    Two of the stars added just this year commemorate two devoted agency 
professionals who were slain last January entering this compound, Dr. 
Lansing Bennett and Frank Darling. All of us were shocked and saddened 
when they were killed and others were seriously injured. The First Lady 
represented me here at the memorial service, but I want to say again 
personally how much I admire the service that they gave, the sorrow and 
anger we all felt and continue to feel about this outrageous act.
    The CIA was established over 45 years ago to help confront the 
challenges to democracy. These stars remind us that the battle lines of 
freedom need not be thousands of miles away, but can be right here in 
the midst of our communities with our families and friends. Jim Woolsey 
and I know that all of you here today are called to a very special kind 
of public service.
    I celebrate your commitment. I appreciate your contributions. As 
President, I will do my best to learn from you, to help you to do your 
work, and to stand by you. And on behalf of the American people, let me 
say again, I thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 10:12 a.m. in the lobby of the Central 
Intelligence Agency.