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President Bush Speaks to CIA Employees in Langley, VirginiaAired March 20, 2001 - 4:22 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: This is happening right now, President Bush speaking to employees at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Let's listen as the president prepares to address the CIA.
GEORGE TENET, CIA DIRECTOR: ... and indeed our entire intelligence community, when I saw how deeply appreciative we are that you have taken time so early in your administration to come and visit us here at CIA.
TENET: We are grateful to you for the active interest that you have demonstrated in our work from day one -- in fact, before day one, when you so graciously received our briefers in Texas when you were a candidate.
The men and women that you see before you and their colleagues around the world are committed to providing you with the best intelligence possible as you lead our nation into the early years of the 21st century. As our president, we owe you and we will give you our very best always.
Mr. President, you will never find a more dedicated, hardworking, patriotic, decent group of Americans than the men and women of CIA and our intelligence community. Every day, they perform their mission selflessly and silently so that their fellow Americans may continue to live in freedom and safety. Each and every day, they put their whole hearts into the work for our country, and when necessary, they put their lives on the line.
I know that they will serve you and our nation very well and that they will make you and America very proud.
Now it's my high honor and great privilege to welcome to the George Bush Center for Intelligence...
TENET: ... a man that we are all very proud to work for, the 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you all. I learned that move from my mother.
BUSH: Thank you very much, George, I appreciate your kind introduction. I also want to thank you for agreeing to continue to serve as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
BUSH: You've done really good work here. The people who work here appreciate it, and I appreciate it as well.
I also wanted to visit early in my administration to tell you all how much I value your work. The CIA and all the members of our intelligence community make a vital contribution to our nation's security. I know this first-hand; I'm your customer.
BUSH: I see your product every morning, at 8:00 sharp. And it's always first-rate.
I appreciate the work that goes into the briefing.
I realize that the information and insight it contains represents the work of thousands of dedicated and daring men and women at home and abroad. It is truly an honor to be among you, and to be in this building.
I've flown into an airport, once, called George Bush, but I've never been in a center like this.
BUSH: Seeing that sign on the way in, as you can imagine, made me feel really proud.
But I was also struck by the contrast between today's world and the world as it looked 25 years ago when my dad was the DCI. To say that a lot has changed is an understatement.
Back then, America faced an overarching threat, and everything we did, from strategy to resource allocation, was oriented to defending against that threat. Today, that single threat has been replaced by new and different threats, sometimes hard to define and defend against, threats such as terrorism, information warfare, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them.
CHEN: Mr. Bush speaking before the members of the Central Intelligence Agency. You will note, at the beginning of his statement, he made reference, thanks, to Director George Tenet, who was a carry-over from the Clinton administration. Of course, he noted that his father had been a predecessor, much earlier, of course, of Mr. Tenet as director of the Central Intelligence division.
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