Ambassador David Hale: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

david hale

Getty Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, center, departs the U.S. Capitol after giving a closed-door deposition to the House committees.

David Hale is a U.S. diplomat and career foreign service officer for the State Department who earned the rank of career ambassador. He is a witness in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. He will be testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, November 20.

Hale, 58, is the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, which is the third-ranking position at the State Department. Hale was nominated by Trump to fill that role in July 2018 and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to that position on August 28, 2018. Hale has served in the foreign service since 1985 and has worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations.

He appeared before the House committees taking part in the impeachment inquiry for a closed-door deposition on November 6.

Hale testified that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told him he had a phone conversation with Fox News host Sean Hannity to find out about the attacks against former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Hale said he, “deduced… that the secretary believed that there wasn’t any evidence to back up these allegations.”

Hale also testified that State Department records show Pompeo called Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, twice in late March, likely to talk about the smear campaign against Yovanovitch. Hale said he had assessed Yovanovitch’s performance and thought she was doing a “very good job.” Hale said he advocated for a public statement defending her performance, but someone above him, likely Pompeo, shut that down.

Hale additionally told lawmakers that the State Department received guidance from acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to freeze aid to Ukraine.

Here’s what you need to know about David Hale:


1. David Hale Grew Up in New Jersey & Graduated From Georgetown University

david hale state department

Ambassador David Hale and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

David Maclain Hale was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Bridgewater-Raritan East High School, according to the Bridgewater Courier News. Hale lived with his grandparents after his parents divorced. His grandfather, Joseph Kler, was a physician in New Brunswick and founded the infirmary at Rutgers University. He also served as a flight physician for the U.S. Navy, according to the Courier News.

Hale, who is fluent in Arabic, graduated from Georgetown University in 1983. He studied in the School of Foreign Service.


2. Hale Said His Grandparents Inspired Him to Pursue a Career in Foreign Service

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US ambassador to Pakistan David Hale speaks during the 4th Round of the US-Pakistan bilateral dialogue in Islamabad on November 6, 2017.

Hale joined the U.S. foreign service in 1985 and served in Tunisia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and at the United Nations. He has also been based at the State Department in Washington D.C. as deputy assistant secretary of state for Israel, Egypt and the Levant and director for Israel-Palestinian Affairs during his career. He also served as executive assistant to Secretary of State Madeline Albright.

Hale said he was inspired to career in the foreign service by his grandparents.

“My call to public service began with my grandparents, Joseph and Elizabeth Kler. They were world travelers who always returned from abroad with stories, books, and pictures of a world beyond our shores,” he said at his Senate confirmation hearing in 2018. “As a young man, I gained a growing realization that what happened overseas mattered a great deal to our country’s security and prosperity. I came to realize that a career in the Foreign Service would allow me to protect and advance our interests abroad. That was the beginning of my path from Bridgewater, New Jersey to Beirut, and beyond.”

He also said he was influenced by Albright and retired Ambassador Armin Meyer.

“In college, two professor-practitioners had a tremendous influence on my life: retired Ambassador Armin Meyer and future Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Ambassador Meyer taught me in particular the value of quiet diplomacy – of the gains to be made through calm, candid, patient, persistent, and behind-the-scenes engagement to achieve U.S. goals,” he said. “Secretary Albright taught me that our diplomatic strength is rooted in our economic and military strength. She also taught me that while our strength is greatly enhanced through alliances and partnerships, there is no substitute for American leadership. I am convinced American values are at the core of our nation’s success and influence, and must remain there for our success to continue.”


3. Hale Has Served as Ambassador to Jordan, Lebanon & Pakistan & as U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace

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GettyUS Ambassador to Jordan David Hale (L) and Jordanian General Muhammad Itan listen to Jordan’s national anthem in Amman 12 April 2006.

Hale served as the U.S. Ambassador to Jordan from 2004 to 2008 under President George W. Bush. He then served as U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace under President Barack Obama from 2011 to 2013.

He was the U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon from 2013 to 2015, also under Obama, and the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan from 2015 to 2018, under both Obama and President Trump.

While in Pakistan he helped free American Caitlan Coleman and her family from captivity. They were held by a Taliban-linked group in Afghanistan.

“During my thirty-four years in the Foreign Service, I have developed a solid grounding in the work of the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, a role which entails extensive diplomatic interaction in innumerable bilateral and multilateral contexts, as well as the oversight of the regional and International Organizations bureaus,” Hale said during his Senate confirmation hearing. “I’ve spent many years at high-threat posts, including as Ambassador to Jordan, Ambassador to Lebanon, and most recently, as Ambassador to Pakistan. It was in Lebanon that I first had the opportunity to work with Secretary Pompeo, then visiting as a member of Congress. Later, during my tour in Pakistan, I worked with him in his capacity as CIA Director to free an American citizen and her family from terrorist captivity. Using my diplomatic skills to rescue an American in distress remains one of my proudest moments.”


4. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Encouraged Trump to Nominate Hale for His Position in the State Department, The National Reported

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GettyThe commander of US forces in the Middle East, General John Abizaid (L) and the US ambassador to Jordan David Hale (2nd R), visit the Special Operation Forces Exhibition (SOFX) at King Abdullah Airbase Marka in Amman 29 March 2006.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hand-picked David Hale for his current role at the State Department and encouraged President Trump to nominate him, sources told The National.

“Mr. Pompeo has been looking to bring more gravitas and experienced hands to the senior ranks, following months of delays and the undermined influence of the State Department under his predecessor Rex Tillerson,” the newspaper wrote. “Many of these positions stayed vacant or were filled by temporary appointments then, as the decision making on foreign policy issues moved to the Pentagon and White House.”

Hale said during his confirmation hearing before the Senate, “If confirmed, I will help Secretary Pompeo put the State Department – which is comprised of my gifted Foreign and Civil Service colleagues, and our exceptional Locally Employed Staff at missions abroad – back on track. Among my priorities will be crisis management, cultivating international alliances, developing the next generation of leaders in the Foreign Service and Civil Service, and communicating regularly with Congress. We have the finest diplomatic service in the world, and Secretary Pompeo has set us on the path to strong morale, readiness, and effectiveness. As the President, the Secretary, and the national security leadership make and conduct our nation’s foreign policy, they deserve the State Department’s best advice going up and most effective implementation going forward, drawn from the experience, talent, and diversity of its personnel. I am confident our diplomatic and civil service will continue to prove their value as an essential tool in advancing a results-oriented foreign policy in the service of our nation.”


5. Hale Has Received Several Awards During His State Department Career

Introducing David Hale, U.S. Ambassador to LebanonThis video was produced by the U.S Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs in August 2013. It features U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale, who has been a diplomat for nearly 30 years and talks about his experience promoting peace in the Middle East and strengthening Arab-American relations.2013-09-11T22:22:13.000Z

David Hale has been the recipient of several awards during his more than 30-year career in the State Department and the U.S. foreign service.

Hale has been awarded multiple superior and meritorious honor awards during his career. He received the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award in 2013. In September 2018, Hale was promoted to the rank of career ambassador, which is the highest ranking for a career foreign service officer.

Meet David Hale, U.S. Ambassador to PakistanDavid Hale has been a diplomat for 30 years. He is honored to now serve as the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan. Watch this video to learn how he wants to enhance the American-Pakistani partnerships and what President Obama would like as well.2016-03-16T18:01:21.000Z

At his Senate confirmation hearing, Senator Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, said when opening the hearing that Hale was “widely respected” and said it was “heartwarming” to see that someone like Hale had risen through the ranks to get to the high-ranking position he had.

Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, said Hale had a “penchant for challenging posts,” and said “I am confident we have the right man. … It takes somebody from New Jersey to ultimately do this type of job.”