Former CIA chief: Not 'right' for Haspel to applaud at State of the Union

Former CIA chief: Not 'right' for Haspel to applaud at State of the Union
© Greg Nash

Former CIA chief Michael Hayden on Thursday knocked current CIA Director Gina HaspelGina Cheri HaspelCongress set for chaotic year-end sprint A strong, committed intelligence community is part of America's good fortune Women set to take key roles in Biden administration MORE after she was seen applauding during President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE's State of the Union address earlier in the week.

Hayden, along with other former U.S. officials, told Politico that CIA directors and top military brass often avoid applauding at such events so as not to appear partisan.

“I never did that,” Hayden said. "It wouldn't be right."


Hayden, who was CIA chief from 2006 to 2009, noted that he never attended a State of the Union address and that other directors had avoided the event as well.

“It’s not my job," he said.

Former CIA Director John McLaughlin told the publication: “Generally, CIA directors have felt awkward at these things and have not gone often."

Haspel attended Tuesday night's State of the Union address alongside members of the president's Cabinet and was seen clapping at a line in the speech referring to rebuilding U.S. infrastructure. She attended the State of the Union address last year as well.

Haspel was confirmed by the Senate in 2018 after former CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo knocks Turkey in NATO speech: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates US to temporarily withdraw some embassy personnel in Baghdad: report MORE was nominated to serve as secretary of State.