But I wanted to come here today and take a few minutes just to deliver a simple message -- and I delivered it inside, and that is the message of thanks -- to say thank you from me, who use your product each and every day to make some very tough decisions, and to thank you on behalf of the American people, who may not even know that you're here but are relying on you each and every day to make sure that their kids get home safely and that when they commute to work it's going to be okay. To think about the profound impact that all of you are having on the day-to-day life of this nation I think is extraordinary. Your professionalism is essential to protecting this country.
Now, we recently observed the eighth anniversary of that terrible day when terrorists brought so much death and destruction to our shores. And once more we remembered all the lives that were lost. And once more we redoubled our resolve against the extremists who continue to plot against the United States and our allies.
So we need you more than ever. Our troops and our intelligence officers in the field, our diplomats overseas, our law enforcement here at home, they all depend on you -- your analysis, your insights, your ability to work together, across divisions and disciplines, turning information into intelligence and sharing it quickly, in real time, with those who need it.
As I said before, I am one of those consumers of your work product here at NCTC. Every morning I look to you for the latest intelligence. In fact, I think so highly of NCTC that I picked the guy who put NCTC together -- John Brennan -- as my chief adviser for counterterrorism and homeland security. And by the way, John Brennan is here and doing an outstanding job each and every day. He's also, by the way, I think, responsible for getting this spiffy building up and running.
Now, again, a lot of you are working in some obscurity right now. Few Americans know about the work that you do, and this is how it should be. Your assignments require it, and obviously you didn't go into this line of work for the fame and glory, or the glare of the spotlight. You're in this to serve and protect.
But today, I want every American to know about the difference you've made -- especially in recent months and days. Because of you, and all the organizations you represent, we're making real progress in our core mission: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda and other extremist networks around the world.
We must never lose sight of that goal. That's the principal threat to the American people. That is the threat that led to the creation of this Center. And that must be the focus of our efforts to defend the homeland and our allies, and defeat extremists abroad.
(President Barack Obama meets with the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) leadership and analysts during his visit to the NCTC in McLean, Virginia, October 6, 2009. Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)
(President Barack Obama speaks to the staff during his visit to the National Counterterrorism Center in McLean, Virginia, October 6, 2009. With the President are Michael Leiter, the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, left, and Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, right. Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)