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Former CIA Director George Tenet Presented With ADL'S Highest Honor

Palm Beach, FL, February 11, 2005 … Citing his career accomplishments in intelligence, national security and international affairs and his commitment to diversity issues and anti-bias training in the workplace, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) presented former CIA Director George J. Tenet with its highest honor, the America's Democratic Legacy Award.  The honor was conferred during the opening gala dinner of the League's National Executive Committee Meeting, February 10 - 12 in Palm Beach, Florida.

"All of us, as citizens of this great country, were incredibly fortunate to have our national security and intelligence operations in such skilled, knowledgeable and capable hands," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  "George Tenet is one of the most warm, gracious men any of us have ever met, and while I am not suggesting he conducted the CIA's vital business in the full glare of the public spotlight, he opened it up more than any director in its history or that of its predecessor, the OSS."

Mr. Foxman noted that under his leadership at the CIA, Mr. Tenet selected the League's A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Institute® to help the agency's supervisors and field agents to work with an increasingly diverse staff.

"Receiving this award is an incredibly big deal, it is right up there with receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom," Mr. Tenet said in accepting the ADL honor.  "What you do every day in fighting prejudice, bigotry and anti-Semitism – you should be proud of yourselves.  The things that you do as an organization governments don't often do because they don't have the courage to say to people, 'You all have prejudice in your hearts and souls, and you've got to do something to get rid of it.'"

In a videotaped greeting from Israel, Avi Dichter, Director of the Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service, offered his personal congratulations and wished Mr. Tenet well. "You are certainly worthy of this honor," said Mr. Dichter.  "I have learned to appreciate you as the head of an intelligence organization at a time of difficulty for both the United States and Israel.  Thank you, George, for your great contribution to the world's intelligence community."

ADL's America's Democratic Legacy Award, its highest honor, was established more than 50 years ago to recognize "those precious few individuals who have helped make our nation a place where freedom, equality and democracy are cherished rights forever." 

Previous award recipients include former U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman; as well as Eleanor Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson, Justice Earl Warren, Saul Bellow, Henry Kissinger, Lee Iacocca, Walter Annenberg, Dwayne Andreas and Cardinal John O'Connor.  The award has also been presented to distinguished institutions including Harvard University, The New York Times and the Columbia Broadcasting System.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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ADL Meeting Opens on Optimistic Note; But Leaders Say Anti-Semitism Still A Serious Concern (2/15/05)
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