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

Panetta urges Agency to 'ignore the noise'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Ray Fisher

    I hoping our President can ignore the noise from the nation concerning the dirty laundry remaining from Georgie's reign of destruction so he can concentrate upon the urgent issues at hand. To hell with torture with our failed economy EVERYONE is being tortured the world over until our economy is repaired!!! I hope the President delegates bickering to a BS czar to get it off his plate...

    May 15, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  2. No Incumbents 2010

    Nancy Pelosi has a vagina?

    May 15, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  3. ck

    Nancy is so desparate for attention...

    She usually is ignored anyway.

    May 15, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  4. arithmetic is liberal

    No Incumbents 2010 May 15th, 2009 5:50 pm ET

    @arithmetic is liberal who wrote
    … 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.

    So you really think they would need an excuse to do that to you?

    Grow Up!

    HA!! That's rich coming from someone who regularly foams at the mouth whenever Janet Napolitano's name is mentioned.

    May 15, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  5. Obama Victim

    @ JP writes,

    "Her nose is growing so fast, she should change her name to Pelosi-o."


    LMAO... that was funny!

    May 15, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  6. arithmetic is liberal

    Pat F May 15th, 2009 5:16 pm ET

    @arithmetic is liberal: "Tyranny is Tyranny".

    How easy your safe little world is – everything's the same! Murdering 3000 people is no different from waterboarding 3 people. Beheading journalists is no different from putting bugs in people's jail cells. Societies that flog women for going to school or riding a bike are no different from those that elect women as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

    Car accidents kill over 10,000 people a year. I don't see anyone leaping to reduce our Constitutional rights over that. Thousands die yearly from bee stings, cancer, second hand smoke, shark attacks, influenza, et al, yet you don't see anyone reducing our liberties over that.

    This is a scary, scary world. But fear is an emotion that causes people to do warped and stupid things like TORTURE. Nothing in this world elicits as much fear as the word 'terrorism'.

    Terrorism is the 'swine flu' of ways you could die. Overblown, out of control and used as an excuse to justify heinous acts. We did it before in 1900 when the phrase "Remember the Maine" (refering to a sunken ship off the coast of Cuba) propelled us into the Spanish-American war as justification to annex the Phillipines.

    When Washington DC was burned to the ground by the British in 1812, we quartered all their prisoners of war and didn't torture a single person. In my estimation, despite how terrible it was, 9/11 was a lesser act.

    Your facile moral equivalency wins the prize as the stupidest comment from one of the smarter people on this blog.

    Thank you! I think...

    I realize that we disagree more times than not. A simple "x is x" statement needed more explanation, but really sincerely, even though we disagree, thank you.

    May 15, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  7. arithmetic is liberal

    donttreadonme May 15th, 2009 5:30 pm ET

    Sniffit – Your naivety is child like. Thank god there are men like Bush/Cheney who will defend this country against the terrorists who want to destroy us and our way of life. While men like you cannot see past your own political agenda and continue to defend the very people who would destroy that constitution.

    You should be thanking god for Al Jazeera, who aired an interview with Khalid Sheikh Muhammad where he detailed everything he did before the CIA captured him.

    Cheney didn't need to waterboard, he just needed to watch a half hour of Arab language TV.

    May 15, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Obama Victim:

    Why dig anything up when Bush himself has been overly anxious to hand deliver. . .

    May 15, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  9. arithmetic is liberal

    Sniffit May 15th, 2009 5:18 pm ET

    @ arithmetic is liberal, who said "So you go after the highest person up who has a vagina."

    I usually agree with you 100%, but I think this goes too far. While I do think there are plenty who are quite happy to follow their sexist instincts, it sort of just tacks on a bit of fluff to make the accusation here.

    Point taken.

    May 15, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    @ Bart P, who said "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. "

    I have. I am an attorney and I understand all of it PERFECTLY and find what is contained in those memos to be abhorrent bad faith spohistry engaged in to create a superficial air of legality to what is clearly a violation of not only the law, but the moral tenets that stand as the foundational pillars of our society. At the very least, Yoo and his cohorts should be disbarred for violating the ethical underpinnings of our profession.

    As an aside, you might want to compare the attempt to blanket the whole thing with a sense of medical professionalism by having doctors present echoes the Nazi experiments furing WWII. Every single doctor involved should lose his license and never be allowed to touch a patient again for so blatanlty violating the Hippocratic Oath by participating in the whole mess.

    May 15, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  11. m smith

    Mr. Panetta is a fine man.And will be an asset. Ol Nancy is not much help and should shut up.

    May 15, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
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