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 HaspelRussian bounties revive Trump-GOP foreign policy divide Overnight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday Top intelligence officials to brief Gang of Eight on Thursday MORE after she was seen applauding during President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district 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 PompeoEngel: IG report shows Pompeo's 'sham' use of emergency declaration in arms sales Overnight Defense: Trump pushed to restore full National Guard funding | Watchdog faults Pompeo on civilian risk of Saudi arms sales Pelosi on 'disturbing situation' in Hong Kong: 'The world is watching' MORE was nominated to serve as secretary of State.