Clinton recalled a story that Eagleburger told last month about one of his early jobs as a Cuba analyst in the State Department's intelligence bureau. Clinton said:
One morning in 1961, he came to work early and discovered that something big had happened in Cuba overnight, what we now know was the start of the Bay of Pigs invasion. And Larry thought it was his job to try to report on what was happening insofar as he could figure it out.
So he collected up all the facts available and he wrote up his analysis. Someone, he wrote, was trying to overthrow the Castro government and they were going to fail. (Laughter.) A few hours later, he discovered who was supporting the invasion, senior officials of the United States Government, and he discovered how they felt about his analysis. (Laughter.) He was summoned to the White House, and for several hours he was chewed out by one big shot after another.
Now, Larry was, in his own words, a junior, junior, junior officer, and plenty of people in those circumstances would have softened or moderated or even reversed their position, but not Larry. He just kept explaining his point of view repeatedly, never backing down. And eventually he was issued a warning never to cross paths with the Kennedy Administration again. And he was sent back to the State Department bloody, but unbowed.
That was Larry then, and that was Larry a month ago in the State Department, unimpressed by all of the pomp and circumstance, unafraid to put forth an unpopular opinion if he was convinced he was right. And often, as with the Bay of Pigs and on many other occasions, he was right.