September 1st, 2007 09:41 EST
Remarks by the CIA Director at Ceremony for the NCS Director
CIA Director Michael V. Hayden hosted a reception at the Agency on Tuesday, Aug. 28, for Jose A. Rodriguez, Jr., Director of the National Clandestine Service, who will be retiring at the end of this year. Here are excerpts from Director Hayden's remarks:
As most of you probably know, a career clandestine officer previously known only as “José” spoke at a public forum down in Texas a couple weeks ago. After a panel session on the critical importance of diversity in intelligence, a reporter from the El Paso Times asked José how it felt to have his cover lifted after three decades in the shadows.
I won’t repeat his exact response. I will tell you, though, it was just what you would expect from José: Honest, succinct, and colorful.
It was a memorable first media interview for our NCS Director. I bring it up not just because it was memorable, but because it demonstrates one of the things that I’ve come to appreciate most about José: He is candid, straightforward, creative, and always open to dialogue, no matter the issue at hand. I can’t tell you how important that was to me when I arrived here and how helpful it has been ever since.
Before I go any further, I want to recognize and thank Jose’s wife. The loved ones of our officers play an indispensable role in our mission. And when officers reach the senior level, we probably ask too much of their families. I suspect that your patience, support, and understanding were more important to José than anything else as the demands of his job grew. We simply can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done for him and for our Agency. As difficult as it will be to let José finally retire, the fact that he’ll have more time with you makes it a little easier.
Fortunately, this is not our final sendoff for José. We’ll continue to benefit from his experience, wisdom, and leadership for a little while yet. So I won’t try to sum up his entire career tonight. But I do want to take this opportunity to recognize his key contributions as NCS Director and thank him for the many ways he has assisted me.
In fact, José and I were colleagues even before I arrived at CIA. I knew him as Director of CTC when I was at NSA. And we worked together closely to stand up the National Clandestine Service in the fall of 2005, when he was DDO and I was Deputy DNI.
Creation of the NCS is a fundamental change for CIA and the entire Community, and I credit José with putting the architecture in place and getting it right. He preserved the excellence and autonomy of our own clandestine service, while at the same time greatly expanding our role as a Community leader. Meeting the requirements of the Presidential Growth Initiative was one important part of this, and José ensured that we did it in a way that is sustainable. He knew that we couldn’t just increase our cadre of core collectors out there. We need a strong support structure to enable their crucial work. We couldn’t just grow quickly; we had to grow smartly. José made sure we did.
Beyond enhancing CIA’s HUMINT capabilities—our officer recruitment, our training, and our tradecraft—José helped build our first truly national HUMINT service. Every government agency collecting human intelligence or using clandestine methods to pursue their particular mission is now part of a unified HUMINT Enterprise. We have achieved an unprecedented level of communication, collaboration, and deconfliction among the many players. After 9/11, the American people demanded it. José and his team have done a great job delivering, and our nation will benefit for years to come...
It is a fact that José keenly understands the global nature of our mission. We are a global service. He never lost sight of that. Even as we maintained the highest operational tempo in our history to meet the threat of terrorism, José kept focus on the many other dangers facing our nation, as well as the far horizon. During his tenure as Director, NCS fought in two war zones, prosecuted a worldwide campaign against terror, and improved our global coverage. Through risk-taking, creativity, and innovation, we are doing a better job of penetrating the hardest targets and providing strategic warning. That’s the hallmark of a truly gifted intelligence officer: Having the skill to protect against today’s threats as well as the foresight to prepare for tomorrow’s.
Finally, I am particularly grateful to José for doing something else—something that cannot be measured in numbers or valued in dollars—but that is probably worth as much as all other things put together: José provided stability to the DO. He came to the job of DDO at a particularly difficult time, and led with a sense of duty and integrity that made others want to follow...
When I became Director a few months later, I made clear that I had no intention of tearing things down. I wanted first of all for them to settle down. Jose’s temperament, professionalism, wisdom, and guidance made that possible. And that made possible everything good that followed. Right away, we established an open, comfortable relationship.
I think I speak for everyone when I say the things I’ll miss most about José are his good humor, friendship, and genuine care for the men and women of CIA. I saw it time after time, particularly when we traveled together and met with folks in the war zones or other difficult posts. By our third trip we had a pretty good routine going—a little Huntley-Brinkley, a little Rowan and Martin. I won’t say who was who.
I teased José earlier about lifting his cover, but that too, demonstrates his commitment to our people and our mission. When he became DDO, he stayed in the shadows to underscore that the NCS is a clandestine service. And now, as he prepares to retire, he has decided to speak publicly about one of the keys to our success. Who better to spread the message of diversity than someone who embodies its value and promise—someone whose skill and dedication brought him to the very top of his profession?
José has been an exemplary leader and an exceptional steward of a unique national asset. He will leave the National Clandestine Service stronger than he found it. I can think of no better measure of service and patriotism.
And so, with much gratitude, I am pleased to present him the Director’s Award. The medal is inspired by one George Washington created 225 years ago. A man who infiltrated occupied New York and posed as a Tory to spy on the British was one of the first recipients.
On its face is the Washington Coat of Arms. And on the back, the inscription, “Extraordinary Fidelity and Essential Service.” The words perfectly describe our NCS Director. José, would you join me please for the reading of the citation?