Internal rebellion against Biden's Israel policy explodes, CIA issues warning - Hindustan Times
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Internal rebellion against Biden's Israel policy explodes, CIA issues warning

Nov 30, 2023 01:38 PM IST

CIA analysis chief sparks controversy with Palestinian flag Facebook cover photo.

The CIA’s top analysis chief has sparked controversy by changing her Facebook cover photo to a Palestinian flag amid growing dissent within the Biden administration over its handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

US President Joe Biden speaks to reporters before boarding Air Force One at Pueblo Memorial Airport in Pueblo, Colorado, on November 29, 2023. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP)(AFP)
US President Joe Biden speaks to reporters before boarding Air Force One at Pueblo Memorial Airport in Pueblo, Colorado, on November 29, 2023. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP)(AFP)

The associate deputy director for analysis, who is one of the three people responsible for approving all analysis disseminated inside the agency, updated her profile picture two weeks after the October 7 attack by Hamas and its allies that killed 1,200 people and took 240 hostages.

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The image CIA official shared as the Facebook cover photo.(Instagram)
The image CIA official shared as the Facebook cover photo.(Instagram)

She also posted a selfie with the slogan “Free Palestine” on it, according to the Financial Times. The chief has previously posted messages against antisemitism, a colleague said.

“A senior analytic manager in the middle of a crisis shows glaringly poor judgment by publicly posting an obviously controversial political statement,” a former intelligence official told the newspaper.

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Another former official said that such social media activity was ‘highly irregular’ for a senior agency official, given the ‘longstanding incredibly close relationship’ between the CIA and the Israelis.

The chief’s Facebook post comes as the Biden administration faces mounting pressure from its own staff to seek an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, where 13,000 Palestinians have died in Israeli airstrikes.

More than 400 administration employees signed an anonymous letter earlier this month urging the President to demand a halt to the violence. Another 1,000 staff from the US Agency for International Development echoed the call.

The State Department has not taken any action against the dissenters, but instead has organized ‘listening sessions’ with staff to hear their feedback and ideas.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken wrote to staff earlier this month, “I know that for many of you, the suffering caused by this crisis is taking a profound personal toll. The anguish that comes with seeing the daily images of babies, children, elderly people, women, and other civilians suffering in this crisis is wrenching. I feel it myself.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.(REUTERS)
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.(REUTERS)

Biden has repeatedly refused to demand a ceasefire, but has instead supported a series of temporary truces that have been agreed in exchange for the release of some of the hostages.

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CIA director Bill Burns is currently in Qatar, where hostage negotiations are taking place. Critics fear that his analysis chief’s Facebook post could undermine his efforts.

“Given the role director Burns is playing in the ongoing crisis in Israel, social media activity along these lines by a senior US intelligence officer reflects exceptionally and surprisingly bad judgment,” said a third former intelligence official.

“The officer is a career analyst with an extensive background in all aspects of the Middle East and this post was not intended to express a position on the conflict,” they added.

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