FILE ID:97031906.TXT

(Makes announcement before leaving for Helsinki Summit) (490)
By Wendy S. Ross
USIA White House Correspondent

Washington -- President Clinton has named George Tenet to be Director
of Central Intelligence, replacing nominee Tony Lake who withdrew his
name from consideration in the midst his confirmation hearings before
the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Clinton announced the appointment at a news briefing in a White House
reception room late March 19, a few hours before his scheduled
departure from Washington for his summit meeting with Russian
President Boris Yeltsin in Helsinki.

Tenet, currently acting Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA), was appointed Deputy Director of the agency in 1995.

Clinton said Tenet "brings a wealth of experience and skill to the
challenge of leading our intelligence community into the 21st
century." The President noted that prior to joining the CIA, Tenet was
"my senior aide for intelligence" on the National Security Council,
where he did "a superb job in helping to set out our intelligence
priorities." At the CIA, Clinton said Tenet has played a "pivotal role
in putting these priorities into place and leading the intelligence
community in meeting the demands of the post Cold War World."

Tenet, who attended the briefing with his family, said he was "deeply
honored" by the nomination, but added that "it is a bitter-sweet
moment" because he had hoped to be working with "my good friend Tony
Lake, as his deputy."

Tenet pledged that if he is confirmed, he will provide the President,
the Vice President and the National Security Adviser "the best, most
objective intelligence we can provide."

Clinton said he fully expects Tenet to be confirmed "because he is
well known to the Senate and well respected by Republicans as well as

Clinton then discussed his upcoming meeting with Yeltsin, the eleventh
such meeting between the two leaders.

"Today our meetings have become almost routine as we work through
problems and build cooperation," he said. "The increasing normalcy of
our ties," he said, "make it easy to lose sight of the great
opportunity that lies before us now."

Clinton said the summit will focus on three areas: moving forward with
our work to build a Europe that is undivided, democratic and at peace
for the first time in the history of the continent; continuing to
reduce the danger of weapons of mass destruction, and expanding the
economic partnership with Russia that is good for Americans and
Russians alike.

The outlines of a NATO-Russia Charter, being negotiated by NATO
Secretary General Solana and Russian Foreign Minister Primakov will
also be discussed, Clinton said.

When he returns from Helsinki March 21, Clinton said his first
priority will be to balance the federal budget. Earlier March 19, the
President and his top economic advisers met with the bipartisan
leaders of the House and Senate Budget Committees to discuss ways to
accomplish this goal.