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Intelligence Panel Criticizes CIA Over Sexual Misconduct Cases

Lawmakers say new law legislation will increase transparency
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 22, 2024 6:20 PM CDT
Intelligence Panel Criticizes CIA Over Sexual Misconduct Cases
The seal of the Central Intelligence Agency at its headquarters in Langley, Va., in 2016.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

A congressional committee Monday criticized the CIA's handling of sexual misconduct allegations in its ranks, saying victims have been deterred from coming forward and were aware of "little to no accountability or punishment for the perpetrators of the assaults or harassment." After interviewing more than two dozen whistleblowers behind closed doors and reviewing more than 4,000 pages of records, the House Intelligence Committee concluded the CIA "failed to handle allegations of sexual assault and harassment within its workforce in the professional and uniform manner that such sensitive allegations warrant."

Although the eight-page report was short on specifics, the bipartisan committee credited the spy agency for its cooperation and pointed to new legislation that provides new reporting options to victims and aims to improve transparency. In a statement to the AP, the CIA said it's committed to providing a safe workplace and has "taken significant steps to ensure that." The investigation followed a flood of sexual misconduct complaints at the CIA and what several survivors described as a campaign to keep them from speaking out by failing to ensure their anonymity and saying it could harm national security.

An AP investigation last year found the accusations included lewd remarks about sexual fantasies, unwanted touching, and sexual assaults. In one case, a senior manager allegedly showed up at a subordinate's house at night with a firearm and demanded sex. Last year, a CIA officer trainee was found guilty in Virginia of charges accusing him of assaulting a coworker with a scarf and trying to kiss her in a stairwell at the agency's headquarters. The victim was terminated earlier this year in what her attorney called a brazen act of retaliation, an accusation the CIA denied. Kevin Carroll, an attorney for the woman, praised the congressional report. He called on the CIA to "cooperate more with local law enforcement investigations and prosecutions of sex crimes committed by Agency officers."

(More CIA stories.)

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