I really did not think about even the possibility of going back to Washington. So I get this call, after Obama’s elected, from John Podesta, and he said, “We’re thinking about you for CIA Director,” and there was this silence. And I said, “What the hell are you talking about?” because I’d worked on budgets, I’d worked on ocean issues. I was chairman of an oceans commission. I did some work on what was called the Iraq Study Group with Jim Baker, and Lee Hamilton chaired that group. We actually went to Iraq, and I really enjoyed that. But my background was really not in intelligence, although I’d been an intelligence officer in the Army. I said, “What’s this about?” and he said, “The President thinks that you can help restore the trust of the CIA.” I thought about that.
I was still nervous about whether it was something that really was a good fit, but then, when the President called and made the point again that he really felt that I could restore the trust of it, and I said to the President, I said, “Look Mr. President, if I take this job, I am going to present you with the intelligence that you’re going to need to make some very tough decisions. That’s what the CIA is all about.” And I said, “I’m going to give you the truth whether you like it or not, because I think it’s going to be very important that any decisions you have to be made are based on the truth of what’s happening.” And he said, “That’s what I want. That’s what I want.”