Shortly before collapsing and dying, NBC's Tim Russert was answering E-mail, including an RSVP for CIA Director Mike Hayden's Air Force retirement ceremony. The CIA had invited Russert to join others in the media to attend what's billed as a personal and reflective retirement ceremony this Friday at Bolling Air Force Base. Hayden is a general in the Air Force. He will remain at the CIA after his official July 1 retirement. Sometime last Friday, Russert E-mailed his RSVP, saying that he could not attend. He concluded his E-mail this way: "Please give the General my very best." Later in the day, Hayden issued this statement on Russert: "Like so many Americans, I knew Tim Russert as a dedicated, thoughtful journalist. His passing is a loss for our country and for all who hold dear the principle of a press that is free, vibrant, and responsible. Tim embodied those qualities, which he combined with a powerful sense of decency and kindness. Having had the privilege of appearing on Meet the Press this past March, I saw his gifts as a reporter and interviewer. Tim knew that the good, brisk exchange of ideas could make any issue—including sensitive and complex intelligence issues—accessible to the American public. He was a true patriot, devoted to the education of his fellow citizens. At this time of grief, my thoughts and prayers are with Tim's family and friends."