Political News

Ex-DNI chief Clapper: Family separations hurt US' international image

Posted June 20, 2018 6:52 a.m. EDT

— Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warned Wednesday that the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy that is resulting in thousands of children being separated from their families at the border hurts US standing in the world.

Clapper told CNN's John Berman on "New Day" that the image of separating children from their parents at the border "is very disturbing to our friends and allies, and probably satisfying to our adversaries."

"This is not good in any measure, particularly from the standpoint of international image," Clapper said.

At least 2,000 children have been separated from their families at the border since the Department of Homeland Security implemented a "zero-tolerance" policy of referring immigrants caught illegally crossing for criminal charges.

"There is a pretty fine line between civility and brutality," Clapper told CNN Wednesday. "I think much thinner than people might think, based on what I have observed in other countries."

The former intelligence chief said that the Trump administration policy "doesn't comport" with American "values and our standards."

"The United States is known as a beacon of freedom and justice and a haven for the downtrodden and weak," Clapper said, adding, "So it is very disturbing, I think, to people overseas."

Clapper, who has been critical of Trump before, said there has be to a better approach to border security.

"Focusing on the image, the children being ripped away from their parents, I don't see how that is congruent with what the real threat is, which are terrorists, druggies, et cetera," Clapper said. "So I don't see how this particular program gets to enhance security."