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. Independant Voter

    Well said, Mr. Panetta.
    This is insanity!

    Why is anyone looking to place the blame anywhere but squarely with the officials in the last administration who authorized these techniques, and with the attornies who jockied the meaning of the law around just enough to give the administration wiggle room?

    May 15, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. Rob

    Sniffit May 15th, 2009 4:48 pm ET – So what's next, will you double dare or go straight for the triple-dog-dare.

    What'll happen, the iReport site will recognize that your doppleganger is way smarter than you'll ever be and won't let him in? Of course, if you're a lib and you're behind this administration and the Congress, then you really are no smarter than a box of rocks.

    May 15, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. Pat F

    This is not about whether enhanced interrogation techniques are good or bad, torture or not torture, or even effective or not effective.

    This is about the extreme left of the Democratic Party supporting this when it was easy, and turning tail and running when it got a little hot in the kitchen.

    Even Diane Feinstein, from the People's Republic of California, says that in 2002, concerns about additional attacks were substantial enough to justify enhanced interrogation techniques. Feinstein has the stones to speak the truth, and an adult's sense of responsibility about keeping the nation safe.

    Pelosi just wants vengence and to protect her seat in San Fransisco.

    May 15, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  4. Doraine Gordon

    The Republcans have waged war on Nancy Pelosi to take the heat off themselves. Doesn't anyone notice that every time there is a problem the Republicans try to shift the blame to the Democrats? They simply will not take the blame for anything they do that is wrong. Republicans were in control the past eight years and they know it. Sure the Democrats were the majority in the Senate but didn't have the seventy needed votes to get anything done. Everyone knows that. The Republicans are very cowardly and seem to have trouble telling the truth about anything. Why would anyone believe they are telling the truth now? It doesn"t matter anyway. Nancy Pelosi didn't authorize any waterboarding. That came from the very top of the Republican Administration. We all know that. I do believe that some day we will see the people who authorized this terrible brutality stand trial. It will take a long time to bring them to justice but it will happen!!

    May 15, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. elana

    There is not ONE PERSON on this earth that can EVER go back and live the past! In my opinion, it is craziness to "keep this story alive". It's time to move forward with the Obama Administration! What good will it do to keep mulling this over and over in the minds of not only Americans, Politicians, and World leaders and others around the world??? AS USUAL, the Media and Pundits are having a field day with this story which only serves to confuse the American people! Of course, THE MEDIA LOVE TO CONFUSE US!! America and President Obama have a REAL, IMPORTANT JOB to do right now and that is to unite as a Nation, listen to our President, encourage the Congress to move forward with health care, energy issues, foreign policy issues, and moving toward working ourselves out of the recession we have been in FAR LONGER than ANY of us knew, thanks to the Bush Administration!!

    He said - She Said! Ridiculous! The past is dead to us. It is time to move on!!

    May 15, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  6. arithmetic is liberal

    Also, may I also point out that the usual misogynist flurry of comments like "that old bag" "botox" "that woman" et al, are being used to attack the person and not the issue?

    If you do this, then you have no concept of nor interest in justice.

    The only interest you have stake in is character assassination, because attacking personalities is all you have. Your hand is empty, you showed all your cards, and everyone has called your bluff.

    So you go after the highest person up who has a vagina.

    How familiar. Just like during Clinton's administration when you could hear the 'feminazi' snarls from a mile away about poor Hillary. You go after Pelosi because she dares to look younger into her 60s instead of drying up and going out to pasture as all old breeding mares are 'supposed' to do.

    What a manly conservative thing to do, attacking Pelosi's gender. You should be so proud of youselves attacking a woman. I bet you feel like big strong men now.

    Is Pelosi's position as a woman, sitting third in line for the Presidency that big a threat to your stimulus packages?

    May 15, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  7. People's Voice

    I'd like to see them try to ignore war crime prosecutions.

    May 15, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  8. donttreadonme

    Sniffit You couldn't be objective about this if you tried. The real crimes against humanity were perpetrated by terrorists on 9/11. You know the same people you now defend that actually murdered 3000 of your fellow citizens. Last time I check nobody died from water boarding. This amounts to nothing more than a sever hazing.

    This is a political witch hunt period!

    May 15, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  9. arithmetic is liberal

    donttreadonme May 15th, 2009 4:42 pm ET

    You dems have to admit that this is a political witch hunt. Please do you really care what they did to Khalid-Sheik-Muhammad??

    YES WE DO, AND YOU SHOULD TOO, Mr. Revolution-themed-screen-name!

    I care very much what they did to Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, because someday an excuse could be used to do that very thing to me.

    If you think that this will ever solely apply to them terrist Ay-rabs you are sorely mistaken.

    Tyranny is tyranny.

    May 15, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  10. Dave, the truth teller

    So, Elana, does that mean that you do not want to see Bush administration officials prosecuted? Or, does that only apply to Dems?

    May 15, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  11. kay

    Our country was better at prior times. Gingrich and Pelosi are both people who care not for the Constitution, only for themselves. Panetta has the "buzzwords". Lord help us all, and no I am not religious. Have lived too long.

    May 15, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  12. Bart P

    @ sniffit

    You may want to read those memos and the laws they covered as well as the Geneva convention. What has happened to you is you and others have fallen for the semantics that are being used by the left. The methods being used are not torture but are interrogation techniques that are even used to train some of our own troops to prepare them for torture.
    We know now that Hussein had made the attempt to mislead Iran into believing he had WMDs and it worked because several other intelligence agencies from other countries believed it.
    But here we have a case where we know Pelosi lied but many are willing to forgive it just as they forgave Clinton for lying UNDER OATH and not willing to forgive Bush and Cheney for lies fabricated by others. But you, like others, refuse to get the truth.

    May 15, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  13. arithmetic is liberal

    Doraine Gordon May 15th, 2009 4:54 pm ET

    The Republcans have waged war on Nancy Pelosi to take the heat off themselves. Doesn't anyone notice that every time there is a problem the Republicans try to shift the blame to the Democrats? They simply will not take the blame for anything they do that is wrong. Republicans were in control the past eight years and they know it.

    Excellent points, all.

    It really amazes me that a party who doesn't take responsibility for anything, demands that we give them governing responsibility for everything.

    May 15, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. donttreadonme

    arithmetic is liberal May 15th, 2009 4:57 pm ET
    What a manly conservative thing to do, attacking Pelosi's gender. You should be so proud of youselves attacking a woman. I bet you feel like big strong men now.
    ------------------------------
    Please see all the posts about Palin, Rush and Bristol before you open you self-righteous trap. Hate is hate whether Repub or Dems. You fail to see both sides of it though.

    May 15, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    I double-dog dare you to post something on Huffpo or Moveon.Org using "sniffit"... cause I'M THE REAL SNIFFIT and all my friends will write really mean things to you!!

    Come on... bring it on!!!

    I'm losing my mind .... over.. these worthless... donut...hole... uh.. ummmm.

    May 15, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    @ donttreadonme, who asked "Please do you really care what they did to Khalid-Sheik-Muhammad??"

    YES. VERY MUCH SO. The country I happen to love was founded upon the belief that all men are created EQUAL and endowed with certain INALIENABLE human rights:

    A. Please look up the word INALIENABLE in the dictionary.

    B. Bush and Cheney threw our nation's core beliefs and values under the bus, abandoning all we hold dear and every moral premise upon which our society was founded in the name of expedience.

    C. TRUE patriotism is standing stalwartly by all that defines us as a nation and a people DESPITE any threat or danger that remaining TRUE to our identity as a society might pose. In the end, it is all we have and I dunno about you, but I will NEVER be willing to accept the abandoment of all we hold dear.

    Learn your ABCs.

    May 15, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  17. B.H.

    Just have a INDEPENDENT commission investigate the whole thing and keep the politics out of it.
    This thing is much worse than Watergate ever was! I only hope that some heads roll when its done.

    May 15, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    @ Rob, who asked "What'll happen, the iReport site will recognize that your doppleganger is way smarter than you'll ever be and won't let him in?"

    No dopey, he just can't log in and use it is all. I suppose I should just let it go tho...I'm fairly certain people can tell the difference anyway. Have fun.

    May 15, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  19. Obama Victim

    A Witch-hunt began over the interrogation of terrorists... and it ended up a Nancy's door.

    The witch-hunt was quite successful.

    May 15, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. vl

    You hear that?? It's the pendulam swinging back ALREADY to the right.
    Pelosi is a criminal. Who the heck is she, but another partisan hack. Obamabots...quit being blind and question your leadership. This is the worst leadership in decades. Obama, Pelosi and Reid are awful for this country.

    May 15, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. paul (staunch Moderate)

    Panetta's comment is the first that actually makes sense. Politicians will politicize everything in their wake. The employees at the CIA should do just as Panetta suggests: Do their jobs and not overly concern themselves with the party-line bickering.

    May 15, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  22. arithmetic is liberal

    Rob May 15th, 2009 4:53 pm ET

    Sniffit May 15th, 2009 4:48 pm ET – So what's next, will you double dare or go straight for the triple-dog-dare.

    Triple-dog daring aside, Rob, I think we can all agree that if someone steals your screenname they should be on double secret probabtion. :P

    I would guess the age of fake Sniffit to be around 13 or 14.

    May 15, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. Tulsa

    @DaBird May 15th, 2009 4:29 pm ET
    The article is about Pelose and the CIA. For 50% of you who are ripping Republicans, you are sheep following your savior Obama. Aren't you smart enough to focus on the topic instead of hating Bush and Cheney so much that you are missing the fact Pelosi is a liar? If she goes, she will be replaced with an honest Democrat. Then we all win!
    +++++++++++++
    No, the point is the Republicans are trying to divert attention off themselves for INSTIGATING torture and blame the Democrats for not tattling on them.
    Can you imagine what the RIGHT would have said if Pelosi had broken security and came out with what the BUSH admin. was doing?
    Takew a good long look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself the issue is Pelosi and not TORTURE. You are only lying to yourself.

    May 15, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  24. Larry

    Apparently the CIA has been IGNORING lots of things ...

    Like The Truth ...

    Have you heard about the three BOGUS dates they gave Graham ...

    Regarding Briefings ...

    I really appreciate an organization like our CIA ...

    But HONESTY has to be part of this type of circumstance

    Just more republican BS ...

    The Party Of NO ... morals

    May 15, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  25. WhoCares?

    I see alot of people saying "Why ignore the noise...She called you a liar..go after her"

    It raises a point as to why they wouldn't . Maybe they don't want those briefings to be released eh?

    May 15, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
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