Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this afternoon in support of a resolution honoring the seven CIA officers killed in Khost, Afghanistan, on December 30, 2009. Below are the Speaker's remarks.
“I thank the gentleman for yielding and thank him for giving us the privilege to come to the floor to honor the lives, the leadership, the service and sacrifice of the seven CIA officers killed and those who were wounded in Afghanistan on December 30, 2009.
“For those of us who have worked closely with members of the intelligence community -- visited them and their stations around the world, some undercover, some not --we know the sacrifice that they make. So many dedicated men and women in the intelligence community. These officers work far from home, close to the enemy, and on the frontlines of the fight for freedom and security around the world.
“They were mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, friends and loved ones. They never asked for recognition or credit, for medals or awards. They simply sought to fulfill their duty: to protect our nation; to secure the blessings of a brighter future for our people; to ‘bear any burden' -- as President Kennedy said -- in the name of our safety, our shared values, and our common ideals.
“Go back a number of years before terrorism became such a important part of our intelligence gathering -- go back a couple of decades. Force protection was one of the primary responsibilities of the intelligence community -- to protect our forces. When they were sent into harm's way or in anticipation of that, the intelligence community was the advance team on that and the ongoing force protector. And so, as we honor on every occasion -- and we will later today -- our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan -- we know that there are people taking risks to protect them as we talk about honoring them. And these are the members of the intelligence communities in their various manifestations.
“The stories of these intelligence officers -- theirs are stories of sacrifice; tales of bravery in the face of danger and the valor in the face of great peril. In carrying out their mission, they gave hope to children, families, and complete strangers. We have the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave' because of them. In performing acts of extraordinary courage, they advanced the cause of peace. In answering the call of service, they became heroes.
“These officers knew we live in a time of peril at home and around the world. As the attack in Afghanistan, the foiled plot on Christmas Day, and the shootings at Fort Hood remind us, intelligence must remain our first line of defense against terrorism and all threats to global security and peace.
“We must continue to support those still in the field; the men and women who, taking inspiration from their fallen colleagues, keep pursuing their mission on every front.
“In the words of this resolution: ‘the entire Nation owes an enormous debt of gratitude to these proud Americans, their families, and their loved ones for the quiet, dedicated, and vital services offered to the United States.'
“May their proud and selfless acts be a source of strength and inspiration to all Americans. And may those so painfully touched by this event find comfort in knowing the thoughts and prayers of our entire nation are with them at this very sad and difficult time.”