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Ex-CIA head Michael Hayden: Gun-toting Christian 'no different' than Hamas suicide bomber

Former CIA and NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden (Ret.) (R) speaks as Judge Andrew Napolitano (L) listens during a discussion at the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) February 27, 2015, in National Harbor, Maryland. . (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Former CIA and NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden (Ret.) (R) speaks as Judge Andrew Napolitano (L) listens during a discussion at the 42nd annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) February 27, 2015, in National Harbor, Maryland. . (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) | Alex Wong/Getty Images

A former director of the Central Intelligence Agency took to social media days before the Thanksgiving holiday to endorse a comparison between a Bible-bearing, gun-toting American Christian and a heavily armed Hamas suicide bomber.

In response to a post on X featuring the side-by-side images of an unidentified woman holding an American flag, a Bible, and a pistol alongside a photo of Reem Riyashi, a Palestinian woman who killed four people and herself in a 2004 suicide bombing, Gen. Michael Hayden, a former director of the National Security Agency before being appointed to head the CIA by former President George W. Bush, replied, “No different at all.”

 

Riyashi is believed to be the first mother to conduct a suicide attack against Israelis during a Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s, The Washington Post reported in 2004.

It’s not the first time a photo of Riyashi has been used to compare a radical Islamic terrorist to a gun-toting Christian: in 2014, a conservative Christian commentator and Hobby Lobby supporter was criticized for recreating the image of Riyashi, who held a Quran and a long gun in the original photo.

Last month, Hayden, 75, a retired four-star general who served as head of government intelligence agencies under former Presidents Bill Clinton, Bush and briefly under Barack Obama, appeared to suggest Republican pro-life Sen. Tommy Tuberville should be “removed” from “the human race.” 

In a reply to an X post asking whether Tuberville should be removed from his seat on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Hayden replied, “How about the human race?”

He later clarified his words, saying that he meant Tuberville should “not be considered a member of the human race.”

In response to the post, Tuberville said he reported Hayden’s comments to Capitol police and called his statement “disgusting” and “repugnant to everything we believe in as Americans.”

Hayden is listed as a member of the advisory board to NewsGuard, which provides AI tools to media brands to purportedly “counter misinformation” and “false narratives spreading online.” However, NewsGuard consistently gives low scores to Christian and conservative news outlets and high scores to progressive secular corporate media outlets. 

He was also one of three former CIA directors, along with nearly 50 other current and former intelligence community officials who, weeks before the November 2020 election, signed a letter that falsely claimed the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop was “Russian disinformation.”

In March 2022, a Washington Post analysis concluded the laptop contents were "authentic communications," and found no evidence of any Russian tampering.

Ian M. Giatti is a reporter for The Christian Post and the author of BACKWARDS DAD: a children's book for grownups. He can be reached at: ian.giatti@christianpost.com.

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