Tuesday December 11, 2012 | 01:16 PM

WASHINGTON – Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, was honored Tuesday by the Director of National Intelligence for her work in Congress on intelligence issues.

Snowe, who is retiring next month after 34 years in Congress, was presented with the National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal during a ceremony in her Washington office. The award was presented by James Clapper, the presidential appointee who oversees the nation’s intelligence community as Director of National Intelligence.

The medal is described by Clapper’s office as “the highest award that can be granted to non-career federal employees, private citizens or others who have performed distinguished service of exceptional significance to the intelligence community.”

Snowe, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in remarks that she was “deeply honored and I will treasure this award forever and always.” She also praised the country’s intelligence officers.

“I have been awe inspired by the men and women who have served in this capacity in the intelligence community,” Snowe said. “We are blessed as a nation to have them, each and every day. I often say that while we are sleeping they are doing the unfathomable on behalf of this nation.”

Clapper described Snowe as a fair and balanced critic but also a problem solver and a strong supporter of those serving in the intelligence community.

“It’s a huge loss for all of us,” Clapper said. “She has been a voice of reason and moderation and of compromise.”

Snowe's husband, former Maine governor and congressman John McKernan, was also present for the award ceremony.


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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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