A TRIBUTE TO WILLIAM E. COLBY
HON. BENJAMIN A. GILMAN
in the House of Representatives
FRIDAY, MAY 10, 1996
- Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the life and times, the trials and tribulations, and the heroism that is so closely associated with the late William E. Colby. I also would like to express my heartfelt condolences to his surviving family.
- Mr. Speaker, as we all know, Bill Colby was a dedicated public servant who spent 30 years in the U.S. intelligence service, including a 2-year stint as CIA Director during one of the more turbulent periods in its history. Mr. Colby began his most remarkable career as an officer with the U.S. Office of Strategic Services--the predecessor of the CIA. During World War II, Mr. Colby parachuted behind enemy lines into France and Norway where he helped organize resistance forces and ran sabotage operations against Nazi strongholds. His heroism earned him the Silver Star Medal.
- As a seasoned intelligence officer, Mr. Colby served in South Vietnam from 1959 to 1962 and again in 1968 where he was responsible for managing the pacification program and where he played a key role in America's recruitment of Laotian Hmong fighters. Mr. Colby took a personal interest in the Hmong's valiant battle against the North Vietnamese who, in violation of the 1962 Geneva agreements calling for Laos's neutrality, kept their troops in Laos. Following the war, many Hmong fighters were resettled in the United States and Mr. Colby, as an act of loyalty, kept in touch with them during their period of assimilation.
- Under Mr. Colby's astute leadership as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, from 1973 to 1975, he was almost singlehandedly responsible for raising and addressing the numerous operational abuses that had become manifest within the Agency. As a professional intelligence officer Mr. Colby was, both emotionally and intellectually, able and willing to confront the not so pleasant ambiguities that are often characteristic of the natural world of espionage. In the end, he succeeded in protecting the mission of intelligence (so absolutely vital to our national security) while at the same time ensuring that the Agency was held accountable to the highest standards of professionalism and as an integral part of our democratic heritage.
- I know my colleagues will join me in honoring the contributions and achievements of an American hero, William E. Colby.