Whether you work in Langley or a faraway nation, whether your tasks are in operations or analysis sections, it is upon your intellect and integrity, your wit and intuition that the fate of freedom rests for millions of your countrymen and for many millions more all around the globe. You are the trip-wire across which the forces of repression and tyranny must stumble in their quest for global domination. You, the men and women of the CIA, are the eyes and ears of the free world.
Like those who are part of any silent service, your sacrifices are sometimes unappreciated; your work is sometimes misunderstood. Because you’re professionals, you understand and accept this. But because you’re human and because you deal daily in the dangers that confront this nation, you must sometimes question whether some of your countrymen appreciate the value of your accomplishments, the sacrifices you make, the dangers you confront, the importance of the warnings that you issue.
As I’ve said, the enactment of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act is clear evidence of the value this nation places on its intelligence agencies and their personnel. It’s a vote of confidence in you by the American people through their elected representatives. It’s also a tribute to the strength of our democracy.
The Congress has carefully drafted this bill so that it focuses only on those who would transgress the bounds of decency; not those who would exercise their legitimate right of dissent. This carefully drawn act recognizes that the revelation of the names of secret agents adds nothing to legitimate public debate over intelligence policy. It is also a signal to the world that while we in this democratic nation remain tolerant and flexible, we also retain our good sense and our resolve to protect our own security and that of the brave men and women who serve us in difficult and dangerous intelligence assignments.
Compare Reagan with Rove, who reportedly expressed views (now echoed by the America-hating right) that Valerie Plame was “fair game”.