ADL Honors Leon Panetta for His "Indelible Mark" in the Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism

New York, NY, November 1, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) honored Leon Panetta, former Director of Central Intelligence and former Secretary of Defense, with the ADL William and Naomi Gorowitz Institute Service Award in recognition of his commitment to protecting America’s security.

Mr. Panetta received the award at ADL’s Annual Meeting in New York City at a dinner celebrating the League’s centennial on October 31.  Prior to Mr. Panetta’s speech, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel made remarks and congratulated Mr. Panetta.

The award recognizes outstanding achievements in the fight against terrorism, extremism and injustice.  Mr. Panetta was honored for his lifetime in public service and his commitment to preserving the nation’s highest security standards.


“Leon Panetta has given much of his life to public service, and has left an indelible mark in the fight against terrorism and extremism,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, in presenting the award.  "We could think of no better honoree on our Centennial than the man who presided over not only the attack and disruption of Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden but who shepherded through historic changes to civil rights and opportunities here at home.  We honor him not only for protecting America’s security but for being a warrior in the fight for American ideals and the American dream.”

The award given to Mr. Panetta was also presented by Alan Gerry, who along with ADL, created the ADL William and Naomi Gorowitz Institute to honor the memory of his late parents.

“ADL fights for the very purpose of our democracy and that makes you American patriots,” Mr. Panetta said in accepting the award.  “Thank you for what you have done for America and for what you have done for the world.”

Prior to his role as secretary of defense and director of central intelligence, Mr. Panetta spent 10 years co-directing the Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy, which seeks to instill young men and women with the values of public service.  He was chosen to be member of Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan congressional committee established to conduct an independent assessment of the Iraq war.  Mr. Panetta was the chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, and represented California’s 16th Congressional District from 1977 to 1993.

The ADL William and Naomi Gorowitz Institute on Terrorism and Extremism advances the fight against terrorism through education and advocacy by providing timely information, cutting-edge training and educational opportunities to the law enforcement community.  The Institute assists law enforcement by providing resources for tracking extremists and terrorists across the United States.

Past recipients of the award have included: former U.S. Homeland Security Directors Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano; former CIA Director George Tenet, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.

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