The US Central Intelligence Agency issued staff guidelines reiterating the need for objectivity after a senior analyst shared pro-Palestinian posts online.
The move come amid reported dissatisfaction among some US government workers with President Joe Biden’s strong support for Israel in the wake of the October 7 Hamas assault on southern Israel that killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and saw 240 kidnapped to Gaza.
The incident was first reported Tuesday by the Financial Times, which said that the agency’s associate deputy director for analysis had posted a picture of a man waving a Palestinian flag.
The report did not identify the analyst, citing “concern about her safety.”
It also noted that several years ago she had posted “a selfie with a sticker saying ‘Free Palestine’ superimposed on the photograph” on Facebook.
The analyst was later identified by the Washington Free Beacon as Amy McFadden. The paper cited agency officials and her LinkedIn profile, which said she joined the CIA in 1999 and worked in leadership roles at the Office of North African, Arabian Peninsula, and Regional Analysis.
According to the FT, McFadden is one of the most senior officials within the CIA and was once responsible for overseeing the president’s “daily brief,” a summary of classified intelligence.
It also said that in her current role as associate deputy director for analysis, she oversees the approval of all the agency’s intelligence.
In response to the report, a CIA spokesperson said in a statement: “CIA officers are committed to analytic objectivity, which is at the core of what we do as an Agency. CIA officers may have personal views, but this does not lessen their — or CIA’s — commitment to unbiased analysis.”
A US official told NBC that an email had been sent to staff as “simply a reminder of existing policy,” and that McFadden had not been disciplined. The official also noted that she has an “extensive background in all aspects of the Middle East and this post was not intended to express a position on the conflict.”
McFadden had also posted messages condemning antisemitism, the person added.
The report comes as CIA Director William Burns has taken a pivotal role in helping negotiate a temporary truce and the return of women and children hostages being held by the Hamas terror group in Gaza.
Burns met Tuesday in Doha with Mossad chief David Barnea and top Qatari and Egyptian officials.
Burns is said to be pushing for a wider deal that would also see male hostages and soldiers released, possibly in exchange for a long-term halt to the war.
Israel has said it is determined to continue with its military offensive until Hamas is destroyed.