Intelligence and National Security Alliance Baker Award dinner, remarks as prepared for delivery by the Honorable James R. Clapper in honor of General Michael V. Hayden, USAF (Ret.)
Remarks as prepared for delivery by
The Honorable James R. Clapper
Director of National Intelligence
Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) Baker Award Dinner
In honor of General Michael V. Hayden, USAF (Ret.)
Friday, June 7, 2013
Omni Shoreham Hotel
Thanks very much for that gracious introduction, John [Negroponte, INSA Chairman of the Board]. Good evening to all. It’s great to see so many old friends here. Most importantly, we all get to be here with Mike and Jeanine Hayden, along with their family:
- Mike’s sister, Debbie, and her husband, Dom – along with their son, Tony.
- Mike’s brother, Harry.
- And Mike and Jeanine’s children: Margaret, Michael, and Liam – along with their spouses, Joe, Susan, and Jessica.
First, some housekeeping. I’ve asked INSA’s great interns to pass out a “classified” document to each of you. Please keep it face down until I give you a cue, at end of my remarks. We’re waiting on a declassification order. Thanks. And no peeking. Wait, who am I kidding? I’m sure it will leak at the speed of light.
On a serious note, before I really get started, I’d like to – very briefly – address “the elephant in the room.” And I hate to take any time away from the tribute to Mike Hayden, but I know that he of all people will understand. The unauthorized disclosures about two important intelligence programs that made the news this week were reprehensible and egregious. As the President said this afternoon:
- These programs are completely legal,
- They were authorized and reauthorized by Congress after extensive hearings and debate,
- They’re conducted in accordance with court orders and oversight,
- And the valuable foreign intelligence we collect under them is used to protect our nation.
And I’ll be talking more about this in the very near future. But not tonight. Now, a few words about INSA.
It was one of the great honors of my life to serve as president of SASA [Security Affairs Support Association] – INSA’s predecessor – about 12 years ago. I’m so glad to see Ambassador Joe DeTrani, and Ambassador John Negroponte, as the current President and Chairman of the Board. INSA could not be in more capable hands. And they must be doing something right, because I’m told this a record-breaking night for attendance.
INSA does so many superb things for this country. And that includes our singular task tonight – truly honoring the long and very accomplished public service of one deserving person from within the Intelligence Community. Tonight, the entire Intelligence Enterprise – which includes the private sector and academia – all pays tribute to General Mike Hayden, for his superb contributions to Intelligence and National Security.
If you’re surprised Mike hasn’t already received the Baker Award, it turns out it was my fault. There was a mix-up in the vote a few years ago, when we were both in an identical category: Bald-headed Air Force guys who’ve been in charge of a couple of three-letter intel agencies, which is a fairly small group. Since Mike was apparently out-of-town at a Steelers game that night, he missed out. And he’s had to wait a few years, until that category opened up again. But – to be sure – there really is no one more deserving of this award.
A little bit about Mike that you may not know. Appropriately enough, he was born on St. Paddy’s Day, in a blue collar family in Pittsburgh. His grandfather on his mother’s side, Michael Murray, was good friends with Art Rooney, the “Chief” and founder of the Steelers. Together, they “ran” the Pennsylvania Lottery, in the days before it was legal.
Mike’s father, Junior, was a welder, and a decorated WWII veteran – one of the Greatest Generation. He’s still going strong – although unfortunately, he’s unable to be with us this evening.
Mike grew up as a multi-sport athlete. He even played quarterback on a junior high football team for Art Rooney’s son, Dan – who’s now the Chairman of “The Black and Gold,” and who was recently our Ambassador to Ireland.
Mike was also an exceptionally brilliant and dedicated young Irish Catholic student. He went on to higher education, working his way through Duquesne University, right there in Pittsburgh. He was a cabbie, a bellhop, a football coach, and a Fuller Brush salesman. Yes, Mike Hayden sold hair brushes. It appears he may have come into contact with a tainted batch that had some kind of side effect to using them. I probably bought one myself back then, and didn’t even know it.
Mike also scored something of a dream job during college, although it didn’t really pay anything – working for his cherished Pittsburgh Steelers. And it led to him being able to get closer to the future love of his life, Jeanine. They had a class together at Duquesne, and he was able to get her and her roommates tickets to a game. That was the ultimate, back then at Pitt Stadium. Sufficiently impressed, she eventually agreed to tie the knot.
So they set out on a great adventure together, courtesy of the United States Air Force. One by one, Margaret, Michael, and Liam came along, making their family complete. By the way, all three grown children chose careers of public service. And I know that’s a legacy that Mike and Jeanine couldn’t be prouder of.
Now, along the way, Mike served mostly in intelligence jobs. But he also had a few atypical ones – such as:
- Air Attaché, at a country behind the Iron Curtain,
- Teaching ROTC in New England,
- Writing the National Security Strategy at the White House with one of our heroes, General Brent Scowcroft,
- And being Deputy Chief of Staff for UN Command/US Forces Korea – not Chief of Staff for Intelligence, but for the entire Command.
Unusual for someone in intel. He’d been marked as someone who could excel anywhere he was placed.
I’ve known Mike for more than 20 years. When I was at DIA, I recommended him for the J2 of U.S. European Command. He returned the favor years later, and recommended me for USD-I. Although I’m not sure we’re even, since my recommendation helped get him to Stuttgart, and his landed me at the Pentagon.
His suggestion came a few years after we had what turned out to be kind of an infamous lunch, at the Pentagon. Secretary Don Rumsfeld, Dr. Steve Cambone – who’s here tonight, so we can laugh about this now – and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Dick Myers were on one side of the table. Mike and I were on the other side – both literally and figuratively – with Jake Jacoby, as the three directors of NSA, NGA, and DIA. Our side floated a few ideas that were deemed “not lunch-worthy” by the Secretary.
I’ll leave it at that. Except to say that I was probably too blunt, with all the subtly of a freight train. Whereas Mike’s suggestions were a little more nuanced – so much more tactful and diplomatic – something that included “the Founding Fathers” and “enumerated powers.” Mike’s always had a way with words. So he ended up finishing a full six years as Director of NSA. Whereas my five-year stint at NGA was – how do I put it? – prematurely terminated. That’s all right. All’s well that ends well.
Mike did a phenomenal job as DIRNSA. It was obviously not an easy place to be in the wake of 9/11. And we were lucky to have him there, because he’s someone who puts the nation’s interests far above his own. He was sometimes unfairly criticized in the press, and I’d like to say right now that Mike Hayden is the straightest arrow there is. He’s the kind of guy whose idea of a good time while TDY in a foreign country was to go to church, and listen to the Mass in a different language. I’m serious.
Mike consulted lawyers on every aspect of his job. He did things the right way, and only the right way. When you look up “ethical” in the dictionary, there’s a picture of General Hayden – with chalk-dust on his cleats. And let me explain that.
Mike is the master of the sports metaphor. He peppers all his talks with football analogies. For example, when he explains the nexus of what intelligence officers can do, he says it falls within the area that’s simultaneously lawful, operationally relevant, and technologically possible. That overlapping area, he refers to as the “Sweet Spot” – which actually exists in a lot of sports. Then later, Mike said he discovered a fourth area – “politically sustainable.” But that’s a different story.
So, when it came to staying within bounds, Mike always made sure he – and his people – knew exactly where the lines were drawn. Whether in chalk dust on the field, or legally in the real world. Mike cherishes the lives and safety of our troops and our nation, and he did anything and everything he could – legally – to protect American citizens. He played aggressively, right up to the line. He always stayed inbounds. Always. But he never felt like he was pushing himself enough, or giving it his all, unless his cleats came right down on that chalk dust.
I also always admired his stellar relations with Congress – at NSA, and then later at ODNI and CIA. His eloquence and expertise helped achieve a much fuller sharing of information. And allowed for some great decisions to be made. Whoever listened to Mike always “got it,” and respected him immensely. And Mike also had the utmost admiration for those who made a point, not of telling you what they were against, but what they were for. Because he’s that same way himself.
After NSA, Mike became the very first Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence – a long title that we tend to use the initials for: PDDNI. Or if you make one of the letters silent, it’s P. Diddy. Mike was there at the start, with the first DNI, John Negroponte. And I thank them both for what they did, as they created that office. It’s not easy building a plane while it’s in flight. During wartime. When 15 out of your 16 aerospace engineers also report to somebody else. So I’m standing on John and Mike’s shoulders today.
And then Mike was asked to become the Director of CIA. At NSA, he’d been at the forefront of SIGINT, and now he was switching over to the HUMINT side. But I believe he felt very at home, in moving to a building where the words from the book of John, chapter 8, verse 32, are literally etched into the wall of the main lobby: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." So Mike took it upon himself to superbly lead, support, and defend this crown jewel of an agency, that had been asked to make some very difficult decisions in time of war.
Since there were obvious reservations about a military man taking over as DCIA, he called for a Town Hall on day one, to assuage any concerns. Somebody asked him, “So, what do we call you?” He said, “Mike. General. Director. Whatever you want.” Not exactly the military martinet a few had made him out to be. I think most of you know that he’s as humble and kind as he is thoughtful and principled. But that’s always a pleasant surprise for a workforce to find out.
In fact, he was so down-to-earth, he’d pull up a chair at a random table in the cafeteria, and eat lunch with whoever happened to be there. One time he accidentally crashed a group who were holding a baby shower. Nobody’s really sure how much the new mother-to-be appreciated his suggestion for a name – which he said would work equally well, for a boy or a girl: Terry Bradshaw. Lynn Swann was his other suggestion. Hey, better than “Mean” Joe Green.
It also took a while for some at CIA to stop doing a double-take, whenever they saw him out running the trails at Langley – while he was training for a marathon.
It’s always funny how an organization, and those around it, react to change at the top. It didn’t take long for the word to get out that Mike had a Diet Coke habit, and that he popped M&M’s when he was too busy to eat. So those two items miraculously showed up – at every American Embassy around the world, whenever he came to visit. And even at meetings with a few foreign leaders. They apparently had pretty good intel on him.
Mike either started, or revived after an absence, bringing in the former Directors of CIA. He’d get them briefed up on the current world situation, and then ask for their advice. Which made a lot of sense – to pulse those who’d been in his shoes before, in such a unique job. He’d already been close friends with George Tenet, since George hired him to be Director of NSA. But he ended up developing great relationships with all “the Formers” – as they’re called.
And his secret weapon, of course, was always Jeanine. The same sense of responsibility Mike felt for his workforce, she brought to their families – setting up family support programs at those mostly civilian agencies, where none had really existed before, like there are in the military. Keeping spouses in the loop.
In his formal portrait at CIA, along with the flag behind him that had been recovered from the rubble of the World Trade Center, Mike insisted that Jeanine be painted in – as a little photograph of her, on his desk. Which led George Tenet, at the unveiling, to loudly gripe: “Dammit, he just ruined it for the rest of us.”
But Jeanine deserved that small tribute. Usually, she was able to go on official overseas travel, where she met with the spouses of employees stationed at those locations. She always brought back great issues and concerns, for HQ to resolve. But on one memorable visit, in Sarajevo, their plane hit a goose on the runway – which knocked out an engine. They came to a screeching halt, instead of going wheels up. And Jeanine was almost decapitated by a bowl of fruit. It went whizzing by her head, splattering everywhere. She survived, and was also with Mike on his last day at Langley – saying goodbye to everyone in the main lobby.
These days, Mike’s moved on to the private sector. But he continues to be an exceptionally valuable and staunch defender of the Intelligence Community – both on TV, and in print. And Jeanine still lends her own tremendous support, to the families of those who defend our nation. There’s a quotation on a wall at Langley that I know resonates with both of them. It’s the CIA mission statement, which is posted over an image of the Statue of Liberty. And it goes: "We are the nation’s first line of defense. We accomplish what others cannot accomplish, and go where others cannot go."
Mike and Jeanine continue to shine a light on the Intelligence Community, and to tell the world that the people of the IC are great Americans – friends and neighbors, with families. The rest of this country should be proud of them, not fear them.
So with all that in mind, I’d like to start a new tradition here at the Baker Award Dinner. It would be nice to be able to sing Mike’s praises – literally. If you can, please stand up, so we can all give him a gift that costs virtually nothing, but really comes from the heart. It’s the gift of song, and it does require a little audience participation. On the screen, you’ll see some lyrics pop up. And we have paper copies as well. Yes, the documents at your tables are now declassified. Go ahead and turn them over. You’ll see some of syllables are in bold – that’s where the beat falls, so try to put the stress there. You already know the tune. It’s actually four very short tunes, all combined. The four service songs – so we’re going to be singing the Joint Service Medley. Which makes sense, considering all of Mike’s joint time. We’ll begin with The Marines’ Hymn, which you may know as “From the Halls of Montezuma.” Then Anchors Aweigh. Then The Army Song, sometimes known as “The Army Goes Rolling Along.” And we’ll finish with, I think appropriately, The Air Force Song – “Off We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder.”
Now, here’s the catch. We’ve changed the lyrics – so instead, they’re about Mike. And here’s the best part. To avoid having to do it a cappella, we’re going to be accompanied tonight by a special guest – who’s performed at an INSA tribute before, in the wake of the Khost bombing, not long ago. Yes, the legendary musician, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, who helped us so much with Charlie Allen and Dan Aykroyd for the CIA Officers Memorial. Skunk, come on out. Please put your hands together for Rock and Roll’s Ambassador to U.S. National Security – or National Security’s Ambassador to Rock – he wears either hat. And thank him for keeping us all more or less in tune.
The IC Joint Service Medley in honor of General Mike Hayden, USAF (Retired).
(sung to the tune of “The Marines’ Hymn”)
From Duquesne U. came a welder’s son, who would don the “Air Force blue”
In Nebraska, Guam, and Alabam’, then Vermont and DC too,
Texas, Maryland, Bulgaria, Germany, Korea (twice).
And in ev’ry place a metaphor for “The Black and Gold” was nice.
(sung to the tune of “Anchors Aweigh”)
At NSA, he went and did great feats.
Mike kept it legal, but with chalk dust on his cleats, (and then played)
P. Diddy for a spell. Helped make us share.
He was the engineer who built a brand new plane while in midair.
(sung to the tune of “The Army Song”)
“If you like, call me Mike,” were the words that stopped a strike.
He calmed fears as the DCIA.
But his plane, caused some pain – turned a goose into a stain,
And his wife really had a bad day.
“Can I take this seat? Hello, what’s good to eat?”
“Really? You’re pregnant? Much congrats!”
And his portrait scene (with a very small Jeanine
Left the Formers all feeling like rats.
(sung to the tune of “The Air Force Song”)
Off he went into the private sector; but at least, stayed in D.C.
We’re in luck; he’s still an advocate for all of us: You, you and me,
On TV, and in the op-ed columns, calling out foolhardy bunk.
He’s much adored, and his big award is perfect because we’re jammin’ with Skunk.
Thank you, Skunk. And thank you, members of INSA, for that gift of song. You sound like a choir of angels. Tone-deaf, fallen angels.
Now, it’s my great privilege to continue a tradition here at the Baker Dinner that began last year. A young Intelligence Community professional – although they’re all young to me – will read the formal citation. The lovely voice you hear from off-stage will be that of INSA Research Intern Kate Swofford – who’s working on her Master of Arts and Security Studies at Georgetown University. INSA has marked Kate as a future leader in our great Intelligence Community. General Hayden, if you and Ambassador Negroponte can come forward, Kate will read the citation. ###