CIA director to speak in heavily Arab Dearborn

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - CIA Director Leon Panetta plans to speak in Dearborn to members of the area's large Middle Eastern community.

Panetta will speak Wednesday at the iftar, the evening meal that breaks the fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The invitation-only gathering includes about 150 Muslim-, Arab- and Chaldean-Americans.

The speech represents one of the highest-profile outreach efforts for the Central Intelligence Agency, which has set up booths and served as sponsors of community events.

The agency this year announced a 5-year plan to boost fluency in Arabic and other languages. Panetta aims to raise foreign language proficiency inside the CIA from less than a third to at least half of all analysts and intelligence operatives.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.