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Public Papers - 1991 - September

Address to the Nation on the Nomination of Robert Gates To Be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

1991-09-13

My Fellow Americans:

This week millions of you watched and listened as Judge Clarence Thomas appeared in his Senate hearings as my nominee for the Supreme Court. And now the Nation knows what I know: Clarence Thomas is a magnificent American. The hearings have revealed his warmth, his grace, his intellectual vitality. And above all, Judge Thomas is driven by a passion for fairness, deepened by life experience, disciplined by profound understanding of our Constitution and the wisdom of our forefathers.

This is no time for special interest agendas to block this important appointment. As the Senate continues its deliberations, I am confident that we'll agree that Judge Thomas is the right man for the Supreme Court.

Next week, the Senate will begin its deliberations on another nomination crucial to America's well-being for many years to come: my choice of Bob Gates as Director of Central Intelligence.

Our victory against Saddam's aggression and the extraordinary changes in the Soviet Union have our spirits soaring. But we must recognize that while the coming years offer great hopes, they pose challenges as well. The times demand a vigorous, experienced Director of Central Intelligence. We have that man in Robert Gates.

Bob Gates was nurtured in the love of American democratic values in the Kansas community called home. He studied at three of our best universities, earning a doctorate in Russian and Soviet history. Twenty-five years ago he entered the ``silent service'' of the CIA. He became CIA's Deputy Director in the 1980's. The achievements of American intelligence during that decade owe much to his innovative and effective leadership.

As one who once had the privilege to serve as Director of Central Intelligence, I have boundless admiration for the women and men of our professional intelligence services. I deeply believe Bob Gates is the man best qualified to lead our intelligence community through the challenges of the 1990's.

During my hours of decision in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Bob Gates stood by my side every step of the way, giving wise counsel, helping bring the best out of our civilian and military commanders.

I need Bob Gates now at the helm of our intelligence services. As hearings on Bob Gates' nomination begin in the Senate next week, I hope all Americans will join me in asking the Senate to approve his nomination promptly.

Thank you, and may God bless the United States of America.

Note: The President spoke at 4:01 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Clarence Thomas, nominee for Supreme Court Associate Justice; President Saddam Hussein of Iraq; and Robert M. Gates, Assistant to the President and Deputy for National Security Affairs. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this address.

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