Ex-CIA Chief Compares Trump's Border Security to Holocaust


The Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy has attracted bipartisan criticism in recent weeks, particularly over reports of children being separated from their parents during preliminary investigations.

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden was one of many prominent Americans — including all four living former first ladies — to speak out against the Department of Justice policy.

Many Twitter users felt he went too far, however, by referencing the Holocaust in his denunciation.

“Other governments have separated mothers and children,” he wrote as the caption to an image of Birkenau, the largest of dozens of concentration camps located inside the Auschwitz complex in what is now Poland.

Knifeman's Rampage Ends with 7 People Dead

The retired U.S. Air Force general was almost immediately bombarded with criticism from those offended by his comparison.

Writer Pardes Seleh called it a “dumb comparison,” pointing out that the families separated during the Holocaust were legal residents who were then tortured or killed.

Devout Jew and conservative commentator Ben Shapiro called the tweet “insulting and absurd.”

“Just a reminder: the Nazis separated mothers from children and then gassed all the kids and nearly all of the mothers,” Shapiro wrote.

Others took a more sympathetic tone to Hayden’s warning, arguing that it is helpful to remember the atrocities of the Holocaust to avoid repeating the same policies that allowed it to take place.

Hayden retweeted several such responses, adding that he intended his original post to serve as a warning, not a direct comparison.

“How do people not get we need to prevent what happened in these camps,” one user wrote. “It’s the slide to something like Birkenau is what you’re warning against.”

Fallout from Oscar Winner's Speech Gets Even Worse as Hundreds of Hollywood Stars Sign Open Letter
Was Hayden's comparison beyond the pale?

Hayden responded that he “thought it was obvious too.”

He later tweeted the same image as before with a different caption.

“This is Birkenau,” he wrote. “Then Germany. Now Poland. NO ONE who now walks through that portal on that siding can casually believe that civilized behavior is guaranteed.”

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , ,
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of newsrooms.
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of newsroom settings. After covering crime and other beats for newspapers and radio stations across the U.S., he served as managing editor at Western Journalism until 2017. He has also been a regular guest and guest host on several syndicated radio programs. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and son.
Texas Press Association, Best News Writing - 2012
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism - Averett University
Professional Memberships
Online News Association
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment