President Barack Obama says the seven CIA employees killed by a suicide bomber on in eastern Afghanistan come from a "long line of patriots" whose courageous service has helped to thwart terrorist plots and save lives.
In a letter to CIA employees released by the agency, Obama said the U.S. would not be able to maintain its freedom and security without their service. He also noted that the spy agency has been tested "as never before" since the Sept. 11 attacks.
The president, who is in Hawaii for the holidays, wrote to tell them they "have helped us understand the world as it is, and taken great risks to protect our country." He wrote that they serve in the shadows and their sacrifices have sometimes been unknown to fellow citizens, friends, and even their families.