It comes as tensions within the administration mount over whether President Joe Biden should put more pressure on Israel to end the fighting in the Gaza Strip, and that the current truce extend to a permanent ceasefire and avert a catastrophic humanitarian crisis for some 2.5 million Palestinians inside the besieged enclave.

According to the Financial Times, the CIA's deputy director of analysis changed her Facebook cover photo to that of a man waving the Palestinian flag, which is often used in stories critical of Israel, saying that posting a public political photo on a public platform is a very unusual move for a senior intelligence official.

The US military and observers believe in their interview with Sky News Arabia that a difference in visions began to grow and appear clearly to everyone in the US administration's handling of the war in the Gaza Strip, pointing to 3 official institutions affected by this defection, whether in the State Department, the intelligence agency or the White House itself, but at the same time they reduced its impact, explaining that "all institutions implement the declared policies of the US president towards this crisis."

What happened?

  • Although a senior CIA official posted a pro-Palestine photo on Facebook, the Financial Times decided not to be named after the CIA expressed concern about her safety.
  • In a separate Facebook post, the intelligence official also posted a selfie with a poster reading "Free Palestine."
  • "The officer is a professional analyst with a broad background in all aspects of the Middle East, and this [Palestinian flag] publication was not intended to express a position on the conflict," a person familiar with the matter said.
  • The CIA official did not respond to an attempt to reach her via LinkedIn, but after reaching out on Monday, she deleted pro-Palestine photos and irrelevant posts from the past year and a half from her page.
  • Four former intelligence officials expressed surprise that one of the assistant deputy directors reporting on their analytical reports posted a photo on Facebook showing political views on a contentious issue.
  • The CIA official previously oversaw the production of the president's daily briefing, a collection of top-secret intelligence that is presented to the president on most days.
  • The CIA said in a statement: "CIA officers are committed to analytical objectivity, which is at the core of what we do as an agency. CIA officers may have personal views, but that doesn't diminish their commitment — or the CIA's — to unbiased analysis."
  • Josh Paul, director of the State Department's Office of Congressional Affairs and Public Affairs, which handles arms transfers, has previously resigned, citing the fact that he cannot support further U.S. military assistance to Israel, describing Washington's position as an "impulsive reaction" based on "intellectual bankruptcy."
  • The Washington Post also published a report indicating that the White House witnessed unprecedented unrest between a group of employees, especially young people, and senior advisers to President Joe Biden, due to the repercussions of the war in Gaza.
  • CNN revealed that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in an email to employees, acknowledged that there are differences within the State Department over the Biden administration's approach to the war between Israel and Hamas.

What does that mean?

For his part, former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Affairs Mike Melroy acknowledged in an interview with Sky News Arabia that there is a kind of division in the US administration over the position on the war in the Gaza Strip, but it is resolvable and bring about consensus.

Melroy, who previously worked for the CIA, explained that although there is "a strong belief that Israel should seek to destroy Hamas's capabilities, there is great concern about how they will conduct the war, as more than 50 percent of buildings in northern Gaza have been destroyed, and Hamas supporters are largely believed to be in the tunnels."

Commenting on the incident of an official in the CIA, Melroy said: "My experience throughout my time at the CIA was that as an institution they were apolitical, as their job was to collect intelligence, produce analysis, and conduct covert operations at the direction of the US president."

"If workers want to be politicians, they have to run for political office."

The former defense official pointed to objections within the US State Department about the administration's policies from the Gaza war, saying: "Yes, I think the government has many divisions, although it should have a degree of policy in managing this, as the government is in charge of implementing US policy."

On the impact of these differences on the war in Gaza, he explained that "it can affect the way policies are implemented, but in the end, the president sets the policy but the state, the Ministry of Defense and other institutions implement it."

Loyalty to national security first

Irina Zuckerman, an American expert on security and strategic affairs, told Sky News Arabia that "for CIA officials, their loyalty should be to US national security interests, not personal agendas."

"Showing support for a terrorist organization, as appropriate, violates the duty of oath to protect the president and his interests, and in any case, intelligence officers should not publicly display the personal agenda of any side, as that official has put the agency, her colleagues, and her job at risk."