By way of background, it became clear during the Iran-Contra investigations that the Central Intelligence Agency lacked an effective Office of Inspector General which not only could conduct thorough and objective internal investigations of CIA activities, but even more so, could exercise authority and independence to ensure that its investigative recommendations regarding individual accountability and systemic shortcomings would be followed through and implemented. The proposal to create a Presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed independent Inspector General was met with fierce resistance by the Administration and the Director of Central Intelligence. Nonetheless, in light of the revelations from the Iran-Contra affair, the Congress recognized the need for such an office. In my mind, the establishment of an independent Inspector General for the CIA was the most effective piece of legislation to derive from the Iran-Contra affair.
It was in this atmosphere that Fred Hitz was nominated by President Bush in 1990, confirmed by the Senate in October 1990 and sworn in November 1990. The Congress wanted a strong-willed and independent individual who was knowledgeable of CIA's mission, history and activities and who had the fortitude and skills to identify, investigate and report wrongdoing when he saw it and how he saw it. Over the past seven years Fred Hitz has accomplished this mandate with honor and diligence in a sea of controversial investigations.
One of the most important, if not the most important, of the investigations undertaken by Fred Hitz was that of the Aldrich Ames case which provided the Intelligence oversight committees and the public details of Ames' treachery and insight into CIA. In addition, Fred Hitz has been fearless in taking on difficult and controversial issues such as the role of intelligence in the BCCI and BNL scandals, human rights abuses in Guatemala and Honduras, allegations of drug trafficking by the Contras, the compromise of CIA operations in Paris, and CIA involvement in providing assistance to a Presidential campaign contributor. The Senate Intelligence Committee has not always agreed with Fred's judgements in these matters; it never has questioned his integrity.
Upon the completion of Fred's fifth year as CIA's Inspector General, Senator Bob Kerrey and I led a bi-partisan resolution in the Senate to commend Fred for his leadership and achievements.
In his lifetime, Fred Hitz has made an important contribution through his public service. As an attorney who graduated from Harvard Law School, he could have remained in the private sector and reaped handsome financial rewards. He chose instead to invest over 20 years in public service, and the United States government and his country have been the chief beneficiaries.
Fred entered public service by teaching law in Nigeria and in 1967 he entered the CIA. From 1974 to 1978 he served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as a Senior Staff Member for Energy Policy in the Office of the President and as Director of Congressional Affairs at the Department of Energy. In 1978 he returned to the CIA where he served as Legislative Counsel to the Director of Central Intelligence and later as Deputy Director of the Europe Division in the Directorate of Operations.
In my view, Mr. Hitz completes one of the most demanding assignments in the federal government--Inspector General of the Central Intelligence Agency. He has journeyed through the shoals of hawks and doves, public reporting and security demands and admirers and detractors by sailing a straight and visible course with honesty, dignity and truthfulness. His efforts have made the Central Intelligence Agency more accountable and thus more in consonance with a Congressional view of the rightful role of intelligence and secrecy in a democracy. For these qualities, Fred Hitz will be missed and I wish him smooth sailing in his new teaching career.