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. LAW

    Pelosi, a Democrat, is in deep trouble with her lies. (No surprise there.)

    Quick! Quick! Find a torpedo to launch at a Republican!


    Employ diversion techniques immediately!

    May 15, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  2. Tulsa

    Bart P May 15th, 2009 5:03 pm ET
    Why then did we call Japanese who waterboarded US prisoners torturers.
    This is not symantics, this is TORTURE. Ask John McCain. He should know.

    May 15, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. Cheri

    Since when does the CIA tell the truth?We were lied to about the reasons for invading Iraq and now they think we should believe them on this...unbelievable!!!

    May 15, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  4. Pat F

    @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.

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

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

    @NYC REPUB May 15th, 2009 4:31 pm ET
    You speak the truth.

    May 15, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    @ 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. They went after Pelosi because she was in the memos and was in a position at the time that put her where the CIA would be talking to her about these things, so they've invented what they think is a trump card, making it look as though pursuing Bush and Cheney threatens to drag Pelosi down into the briney deep with them. What they reveal is that this is all partisan to them and therefore they think it is all partisan to us. It's not (at least for most of us I think). If indeed it turns out she has done something worthy of prosecution, I'll happily light the bonfire under her myself (if I can get to the front of that line). Obama took an oath, and I expect him to follow it to the letter.

    That being said, most of this is the GOP's hypocritical exaggerated nonsense, which remains to this day the most transparent thing in DC.

    May 15, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. Larry

    I so do love to read the comments of ignorant people ...

    Helps me to better understand the human race as a whole

    Obama is the BEST thing this country has seen since the Declaration Of Independence

    If you feel otherwise ... my sympathies to you


    May 15, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. arithmetic is liberal

    donttreadonme May 15th, 2009 5:04 pm ET

    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.

    Take the beam out of your eye, friend. I take it that you agree with me then? By your turn around of the argument, you ACKNOWLEDGE the validity of my argument. So instead of artfully dodging what I said by leveraging things that others have said, why don't you man up and address the point of what I said?

    May 15, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    @ donttreadonme, who said "Last time I check nobody died from water boarding."

    And how might you be checking? You think we'd ever know if a death resulted rom what was done? You think they were careful with it during the Spanish Inquisition and kept records and made sure a doctor was present to give it an air of medical precision? Give it up're treading on a thin excuse for a rationalization.

    May 15, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. KTX

    It is becoming clearer that, for all the harping about "eight years of failed leadership," the problems clearly originate with the Democrats in power beginning 2007. Nancy Pelosi is clearly one of the worst speakers this country has endured, and, together with Sen. Reid, the leadership vacuum in Congress has sucked the life out of the Obama administration, which is clearly moving closer to past administration policies as he "learns on the job."

    Two things are now crystal clear. We should have elected McCain, and the people of this country owe President Bush an apology.

    May 15, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  11. donttreadonme

    Snifit – 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.

    The Bill of Rights protects the Citizens of this Nation against its Government. The Government protects our Nation against foreign enemies. Water boarding "hardly" constitutes torture in the context you speak of.
    If it is so wrong change the rules and move on. Otherwise the true motivation shows. Political witch hunt!

    May 15, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  12. Aaron

    As a liberal you can't blame Bush for torture and not blame Pelosi saying even if she knew it was the commander in chief who ordered the waterboarding. If Pelosi knew of it, which she did, and did not make it public or do anything to stop it, she too is the one to blame.

    May 15, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  13. Gop


    You are wrong back when we had Bush the American people were told speaking out against Bush was the patriotic thing to do. Hillary, Obama, and every Democrat kept repeating these lines every time they spoke.

    Just as Biden believes, paying high taxes is also the patriotic thing to do. Now when someone speaks out against Obama and the things he is doing we are told were not patriotic.

    Seems to this changed administration you must agree with them no matter what they say because they know what’s best for our country.

    Therefore, they rebuild this nation into a socialist country, we should all just smile at Obama, and say think you Sir for taking away our rights and liberty.

    If being a good socialist in this country is the patriotic thing to do, then I for one wish to become as unpatriotic as I can be.

    May 15, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  14. Republicans are the American Taliban

    We need to launch a Truth Commission to search and probe for the truth, as to who knew what, or who was told what, or who thought what....Oh, and by the way, remember that the Republicans are for smaller government....and less government waste...

    May 15, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |

    Americans should "ignore the noise" being ginned up by the rethuglicants about Pelosi and stay focused on the real issue – Probable war crimes by the Bush administration.
    As usual, the rethugs are diverting attention from the real issues and the dems and media are following right along – what a bunch of suckers and chumps...

    May 15, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  16. donttreadonme

    You are just waisting our time Bush and Cheney will never go down for this. Most on the nation could care less.

    May 15, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  17. george marple

    Just watch them go after Pelosi for what she may have known about a program authorized by the Bush Administration. Same people calling for her head want mercy for Cheney, who is behind the program. And while those same people don't think Cheney did anything wrong, somehow Pelosi down the line did do wrong? I can't be the only one who sees how utterly ridiculous this is. If the American people swallow this, they really are as stupid as sometimes I fear they are.

    May 15, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  18. dustbunny

    Has any one really defined what torture is. And also sniffit what is a neocon?

    May 15, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  19. J.P.

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

    Sniffit and "arithmetic is liberal": those in Club Gitmo who were "tortured" with waterboarding still have heads. By my way of reasoning, if you still have a head (in comparison with Daniel Pearl, Nick Berg and the 3000 people who died on 9/11) you were not tortured. If being scared for your life and getting wet in the process is the new definiton of torture, Six Flags is in a lot of trouble.

    But since your rhetoric is reaching tortured proportions, maybe I can join you in a bit of hyperbole...

    My paycheck is being tortured and waterboarded. My grandchildren's paycheck won't even have the luxury of being waterboarded... the financial terrorists in this administration will just saw the paycheck's head off (ala Daniel Pearl).... complete with a chorus of masked administration officials around chanting "Barack akbar! Barack akbar! Barack akbar!"

    The financial freedom of my great grandchildren is being tortured, in a Lib-Gitmo we call "spreading the wealth."

    There, how was that for "torture?"

    May 15, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  20. Obama Victim

    @ Arithmetic is lib writes,

    "YES WE DO, AND YOU SHOULD TOO" (about caring that a terrorist got his face splashed).


    OH please! You libs have been d-y-i-n-g to get someone in the Bush Administration on something:

    Valerie Plame outing
    US Attorney firings
    9/11 "Conspiracy"
    Bush "LIED" about WMDs
    US Patriot Act
    Abu Garib

    blah blah blah..... You're so incensed that Bill Clinton was impeached your party has become a blathering flock of dodo's.

    You want PROOF of this??

    Where are the protests over Obama extending the Iraq War?
    Where are the protests over Obama escalating the Afghan War?
    Where are the protests over Obama resuming military tribunals?
    Where is the outrage of Obama withholding pictures of terrorist interrogations?

    You who stalked the Bush Administration now sit silent.

    May 15, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  21. No Incumbents 2010

    Hey folks, this isn't Newt's memo. Now what do you think of Princess Pelosi?

    May 15, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  22. Rob

    Obama's biggest headache and roadblock in Washington did herself in. Bye-bye, Nancy. Enjoy coach flights back and forth to California. But don't cry or feel sorry for yourself. You will forever be known as the first woman speaker ... who managed to hold her own with all the lying men who came before her.

    May 15, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  23. No Incumbents 2010

    @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!

    May 15, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  24. Denis

    Nancy Pelosi has now been contradicted by two CIA chiefs, her own former staff member, and members of her own party. Her defense is that it was "not her job" to disagree with the briefings, because she had an election to win in the House. Excuse me…. her job is to represent her constituents, and members of the US House of Representatives as Speaker; and finally the people of the US as a member of the House Intellegence Committee. She has been exposed as purely a political hack and should be replaced as leader of the House of Representatives.

    May 15, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  25. Rob

    To Sniffit, who posted as me: Rob May 15th, 2009 5:47 pm ET

    No, Nancy was NOTHING but ANTI-AMERICAN since she took over that spot. She is the classic example of why, if you want something to be done right, the LAST thing you do is give the job to a Dem.

    And another thing, smart people have too much going on to post on those lib rags huffpo or moveon. Those are only for lib whack jobs who like to share lies with other whack jobs.

    Better go now sniff, mommy and daddy are gonna want to use their computer soon.

    May 15, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
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