Former CIA Director John Brennan said Saturday that President Donald Trump "should be ashamed of himself" for his speech to employees at the agency's headquarters — particularly while standing before a wall memorializing those agents who died in service to the nation.
Brennan's comments were tweeted by Nick Shapiro, the agency's former chief of staff who also served under former President Barack Obama:
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden was more subtle in his criticism.
"I was heartened that the president gave a speech at CIA," Hayden, who also directed the National Security Agency, told The New York Times. "It would have been even better if more of it had been about the CIA."
In speaking to more than 400 CIA employees in Langley, Va., Trump pledged his support to the nation's intelligence community and said that they would lead the battle to destroy the Islamic State.
"There is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump," the president on his first full day as commander-in-chief. "These are really special, amazing people.
"Very, very few people could do the job that you people do.
"I am so behind you," Trump added. "I know maybe sometimes you haven't gotten the backing that you've wanted.
"You're going to get so much backing."
Trump also slammed the media, accusing them of news reports that "make it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community.
"I just want to let you know, the reason you're the number one stop is exactly the opposite," he said.
In his attacks on the intelligence community since winning the White House, Trump disparaged findings on Russian hacking activities during the election and questioned earlier this month whether Brennan was the "leaker of fake news."
President Trump made his speech in front of the CIA's memorial wall, which uses stars in place of names for those who lost their lives in the line of duty.
"The wall behind me is very, very special," he said.
But Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California slammed Trump for using the wall in staging his speech.
"While standing in front of the stars representing C.I.A. personnel who lost their lives in the service of their country — hallowed ground — Trump gave little more than a perfunctory acknowledgment of their service and sacrifice,” Schiff, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement via Twitter.
"He will need to do more than use the agency memorial as a backdrop if he wants to earn the respect of the men and women who provide the best intelligence in the world."
Schiff also posted this tweet:
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