McLean, Va., 27 June -- Former President George Bush, speaking at CIA Headquarters this afternoon, said he "would hate to have contemplated doing my job as President without the benefit of the intelligence provided by the great career people at CIA and indeed throughout the rest of the Intelligence Community."
In brief remarks before a standing-room-only audience in the Agency's auditorium and broadcast on the Agency's internal television system, Mr. Bush said: "I want you to know that your work is important, it is appreciated, and it is used. As President, I was a voracious consumer of intelligence. I asked a lot of questions, and I got good, sound answers in a very timely way."
Reflecting on his tenure as Director of Central Intelligence in 1976-77, Mr. Bush said he came to the job with an understanding that the "strength and effectiveness of CIA is in its objectivity."
"I did everything in my power to make sure that the Agency's voice was strong and to make sure that our voice was heard and respected downtown," he said. "If that sounds familiar, I think it is because you heard the same sentiments from DCI (John) Deutch a few weeks ago."
Prior to addressing CIA employees, Mr. Bush placed a wreath in front of the memorial stars carved in the north wall of the CIA Headquarters lobby, which honor the memory of each of the 59 Agency employees who have died serving their country.
"I was saddened to see how many stars had been added since I was last here," he said. "That wall, to me, is the ultimate symbol of the dedication of the people of CIA and the ultimate reminder of the seriousness of its purpose."
In addition to addressing employees, the former President met with
senior Agency officials and received several intelligence
briefings during his 2-hour visit.