The head of the CIA's clandestine service for the last three years, Richard F. Stolz, was honored at a retirement ceremony last week as a man who represented "everything the American people would expect of a chief spymaster -- someone who was a risk-taker, but not a risk-seeker."

The praise came from CIA Director William H. Webster, who presented Stolz the agency's highest career achievement award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal. It was the second time Stolz, 65, had received the medal since joining the agency in 1950. He spent 15 years overseas, including assignments in Europe, and retired once before, in August 1981, to become a private consultant.

Stolz rejoined the agency as deputy director for operations in January 1988 at Webster's request. Webster said Stolz helped "move the directorate forward" in tracking regional conflicts, proliferation issues, narcotics and terrorism and played an important role in strengthening counterintelligence and counterespionage capabilities.

Stolz, who will be succeeded by his deputy, Thomas A. Twetten, was also commended by Webster for "nurturing the pride" of the operations directorate while at the same time striving "to further the concept that this is one agency -- working together." The CIA's other main directorates are intelligence, science and technology, and administration.