May 15th, 2009
02:43 PM ET
6 years ago

Panetta urges Agency to 'ignore the noise'

The CIA Director is urging the workforce to 'ignore the noise.'
The CIA Director is urging the workforce to 'ignore the noise.'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - CIA Director Leon Panetta is urging the agency's employees to "ignore the noise" surrounding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's claim she was misled by the organization on interrogation techniques.

In a memo obtained by CNN, Panetta tells the workforce, "There is a long tradition in Washington of making political hay out of our business. It predates my service with this great institution, and it will be around long after I'm gone."

Full memo after the jump:

Message from the Director: Turning Down the Volume

There is a long tradition in Washington of making political hay out of our business. It predates my service with this great institution, and it will be around long after I'm gone.
But the political debates about interrogation reached a new decibel level yesterday when the CIA was accused of misleading Congress.

Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values. As the Agency indicated previously in response to Congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing "the enhanced techniques that had been employed." Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened.

My advice-indeed, my direction-to you is straightforward: ignore the noise and stay focused on your mission. We have too much work to do to be distracted from our job of protecting this country.

We are an Agency of high integrity, professionalism, and dedication. Our task is to tell it like it is-even if that's not what people always want to hear. Keep it up. Our national security depends on it.

Leon E. Panetta


Filed under: Leon Panetta • Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (236 Responses)
  1. barking republican ankle biters

    My question is "how many employees went to Yale and belonged to the skulls?

    May 15, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  2. obamacrat

    Bravo Leon!

    May 15, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. Kitchen Police

    The men and women of the CIA are patriots. They have dedicated their lives for this country and we owe them a lot. Panetta will do a fine job at the helm.

    May 15, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. Jaye

    Pelosi should resign. She is an outright liar. We can do better than this to be 3rd in line to the presidency. Let the games begin.

    May 15, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  5. Tulsa

    Good direction Mr. Panetta.

    May 15, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. RealityKing

    Surrrre, just ignore being called liars. Like Bush did....

    May 15, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. Karl Rove

    You only have to look back to the 70's when the CIA Director resigned for lying (Reagan later gave him a Medal of Honor, similar to Bush rewarding Tenet for his truthfulness in saying Iraq was a "slam dunk".)

    Of course the CIA lies, cheats and steals – that is what they are supposed to do – right?

    May 15, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. RepubliKLANs Are Plain STUPID

    tell that to the RepubliKLANs!!!...they are the chattering crowd; just like our enemies from the middle east who always chatter under rocks & caves!!!!

    May 15, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. Howard

    One cannot help but wonder if this could be the beginning of the end of Nancy Pelosi's reign as Speaker of the House. I can imagine Steny Hoyer is licking his chops right about now, and truth be told, that would probably be a change for the better.

    May 15, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. Grrrr-Awful-O

    Pelosi has gone too far and now she has painted herself into a corner. Her story is at odds with everyone else's, including Jane Harmon's (fellow democrat from California). Pelosi's version is that out of 40 briefings to Congress by the CIA on the subject of "enhanced interrogation" techniques, only she was lied to. No other members of Congress were in the dark about the fact that waterboarding had been approved (including by Congress people of both the Republican and Democratic parties) and had been used. According to Pelosi the CIA and Bush administration lied to her. But only to her. Why would they tell the truth to everyone, including Jane Harmon (who did write a letter of objection about waterboarding) except Pelosi? And why has Pelosi changed her story several times to further explain things? She is the only one lying – not everybody else. The most disturbing thing is how much conviction she has in her words, despite the fact that it has become completely clear that she is lying. She is evidently very accomplished at it.

    May 15, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. candros

    Thank you Mr. Panetta. We Americans appreciate when something is communicated in a straightforward manner, then we can draw our own conclusions. Also, thank you for defending the CIA and America.

    May 15, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. Hank

    Another words we are held by honor, integrity and duty and Speaker Pelosi is not bound those ethical rules. This is the lousiest speaker of the house I can remember we have ever had and that goes back a long time. She is petty in dealing with everyone but herself and totally inept in her position.

    May 15, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  13. Bob

    NANCY PELOSI IS A GREAT LEADER.

    Ms. Pelosi,

    I have great respect for you and really appreciate the great work you are doing for our Country.

    You need to put all these Wall Street Crooks and Scoundrels in Jail. All these Criminals will always hate you, don’t bother, just keep doing what you are doing.

    You have my full support and the support of many Rational and Sensible people.

    Republican Party is all done, they have an insane leader Rush Limbaugh.

    May 15, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. Nathan,

    What is Panetta talking about. Everybody else was misled by the CIA and Bush. Why not Pelosi?

    May 15, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. WeVotedforYou

    Very dissapointing that our elected officials, especially within the Democratic Party, has now taken such a different approach in the discussions of Torture and the previous administrations corruption and illegal activities.

    I am glad to see Cheney in the media (especially places other than foxnews) and is helping keeping the torture debate front and center.

    We need to continue to keep the pressure on the President and Congress to do as we voted for. Change.

    May 15, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. Baze

    Pelosi is a wind bag, I'm really getting sick of her.

    May 15, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. SENSIBLE MIKE

    You tell them Leon. Don't let Pelosi smear your names and the great work you do for our country.

    Thank you!

    May 15, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  18. Fair is Fair

    "Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values. As the Agency indicated previously in response to Congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing "the enhanced techniques that had been employed." Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened."
    _________________________________

    OK, ladies and gentlemen of the congress, evaluate all the evidence. If you feel thet Speaker Pelosi lied to you, the administration, and the American people, it is your duty to take appropriate disciplinary measures.

    May 15, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. duffey

    I am a life long democrat, and I find that the more lies Nancy perpetrates, the deeper she gets into it.

    If there is a procedure to get her out of the Speakers role, it should be initiated by her colleagues, or she should resign from the position if this is not optional.

    I wish Keith Holderman (Countdown MSNBC) would quit defending her, since he is starting to sound like the GOP's headache Rush Limbaugh.

    I'm personally pround of Leon, who has credibility with us moderates and conservatives alike.

    Nancy shut up and go home to California.

    May 15, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. Karen Wayne

    Shame on Nancy Pelosi! It is time for her to grow and accept responsibility for her actions and words. This has nothing to do with party affiliation or politics and everything to do about admiting that we do mistakes and apologizing for them. Ovbiously she was briefed. If she didn't fully understand the breifign then it was up to her to dig deeper. But blaming the CIA is nonsense!

    May 15, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. Ad West

    What a great letter. I wouldn't be surprised if the angle that Pelosi has taken will damage her career severely. Especially if she can't produce any hard proof. If the CIA was indeed up front and presented the facts truthfully in the 2002 briefing, the I'm starting to think that Pelosi truly just did not understand the situation. I'm starting to question her intelligence and her ability to make rational decisions.

    May 15, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. Gop

    All this proves is Pelosi wants to put the blame on the heads of someone else that she knows is too honorable to get into mud slinging.

    Even liberals can see what Pelosi is up too. She is not just arrogant but very ignorant as well.

    She is hoping that people on the left that believe in conspiracy theories will believe her over the evil CIA. As a great saying goes “a lie will travel half way around the world before the truth gets his pants on“.

    May 15, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  23. RealityKing

    American doesn't need congressional leaders that are apparently misled sooooo easily..

    May 15, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  24. Love it

    Go away you little troll, oh by little troll I mean Nancy Pelosi .

    May 15, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  25. demwitliberalwithhisheaduphisass

    The CIA needs to be shut down! Its just a right wing torture group anyways!!

    May 15, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10