Pentagon intelligence officer quits in protest of Israel-Hamas war in Gaza

An Army officer within the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has resigned in protest over the Biden administration’s support for Israel in its war in Gaza, citing major ethical concerns for which he could not “justify staying silent any longer.”

In his resignation letter — officially submitted Nov. 1, distributed internally on April 16, and publicly released Monday on LinkedIn — Maj. Harrison Mann asserts that the U.S. government’s unquestioned backing of its ally has “enabled and empowered” the killing of Palestinian civilians.

“The policy that has never been far from my mind for the past six months is the nearly unqualified support for the government of Israel, which has enabled and empowered the killing and starvation of tens of thousands of innocent Palestinians,” Mann wrote in his letter. “This unconditional support also encourages reckless escalation that risks wider war.”

Mann, an executive officer at the DIA, an organization charged with collecting military intelligence, has been in the Army for 13 years, specializing in the Middle East and Africa for about half of that time. He also previously served at the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, according to his LinkedIn biography.

“Each of us signed up to serve, knowing we might have to support policies we weren’t fully convinced of,” Mann wrote. “At some point — whatever the justification — you’re either advancing a system that enables the mass starvation of children, or you’re not.”

Mann is among several U.S. officials to step down from their posts, citing disagreements with the administration over how it has been handling the Israel-Hamas war, sparked in October by deadly Hamas-led attacks in Israel.

Josh Paul, a State Department official in the bureau that oversees arms transfers, resigned in October over objections of the U.S. government’s decision to continue to arm the Israeli military.

Then in January, Tariq Habash, a key player in policy reform at the Department of Education, also resigned from his role due to disagreements with the administration’s stance on Gaza.

Mann said he already intended to leave the Army at some point, but could not contend with how his work “however administrative or marginal it appeared — has unquestionably contributed” to U.S. support of Israel.

“The past months have presented us with the most horrific and heartbreaking images imaginable-sometimes playing on the news in our own spaces-and have been unable to ignore the connection between those images and my duties here. This caused me incredible shame and guilt,” he stated.

More than 35,000 Palestinians have died in Gaza in seven months due to a brutal air and ground campaign by the Israeli military. That figure continues to climb thanks to Israel’s continued push into the territory’s southern city of Rafah, where more than 1 million civilians have been sheltering, as well as further bombing of areas in Gaza the country said were already clear of Hamas.

A recent review from the State Department about Israel’s war conduct raised “serious concerns” about its actions in Gaza. The report, delivered to Congress late Friday afternoon, determined it was “reasonable to assess” that Israel had violated international humanitarian law in the enclave.

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