Former CIA officer L. Larry Boothe told Republicans at Saturday's Lincoln Day luncheon the importance of that agency.
"The CIA is vital to the security in this nation," Boothe said. "The CIA is the nation's first line of defense."
He told of his involvement in the covert war against Russia in Afghanistan in the 1980s and touched on some controversies the agency is dealing with today.
"I think it's a mistake," Boothe said of President Obama's abolishment of enhanced interrogation methods. He noted that those methods produced information vital in the battle against terrorism.
Boothe also noted that the drone program has been beneficial to U.S. interests in the war on terrorism. "Drone strikes allow us to find terrorists we otherwise couldn't," he added.
"The President's policy of leading from behind has diminished our standing in the Middle East," Boothe said. "The problem with standing on the sidelines is it addes to the resentment.
"America has no friends, just varying degrees of enemies on the world stage," Boothe said.
Boothe spent 31 years with the CIA, rising to the highest echelons of leadership.
U.S. Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo were among the guest speakers at the event, a fundraiser for the Bingham County Central Committee.
"It's a frightening time for America today," Risch said. He noted that the federal government spends $11 billion a day.
"There's nothing in place to change this," he added.
"The American dream is on the line," Crapo said. "Spending must be brought under control. We must have a pro-growth agenda."
Crapo said one way to create that agenda is through meaningful tax reform.
Tom Luna, the Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction, used his time to honor members of Blackfoot High School's We The People government class. That group won the competition on the knowledge and application of the Constitution for the sixth straight time recently. They will be competing in nationals in Washington, D.C. in April. They are currently raising funds for their trip.
Luna presented the class representatives with certificates of recognition signed by Crapo and Risch.
All three Bingham County legislators — Sen. Steve Bair and Reps. Neil Anderson and Julie VanOrden — were among the guests as were Lt. Gov. Brad Little, Secretary of State Ben Ysura, state party chairman Brad Peterson; Bingham County commissioners Ladd Carter, Whitney Manwaring and Mark Bair; as well as Sheriff Craig Rowland and chief deputy Jeff Gardner.
"As the Republican County Chairman, it was great to see so many of state elected officials here in Bingham County, talking with members of our community." said Dan Cravens. "The fact that most of our state's elected leaders would take time to come to Bingham County speaks well of their interest in the concerns our residents have."