CIA fires sexual misconduct whistleblower


The CIA this week fired a woman whose whistleblower described being assaulted on a stairwell at the spy agency’s headquarters, prompting a flood of coworkers to come forward with their own complaints of sexual misconduct. The woman’s lawyer called this action a shameless revenge.

While the CIA said the allegation was “factually incorrect”, it did not comment further on the matter and declined to explain why the 36-year-old did not complete it through “The Farm,” the agency’s covert officer training program. And unlike many of his classmates, he was not hired for another job.

“To be clear, the CIA does not tolerate sexual assault, sexual harassment or whistleblower retaliation,” CIA spokeswoman Tammy Thorpe told the Associated Press. The agency “uses consistent procedures to ensure fair and equal treatment of every officer who undergoes training.” ,

The woman’s dismissal came less than six months after she filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, alleging that the CIA eavesdropped on reporting about the 2022 stairwell attack in Langley, Virginia, to law enforcement and a shutdown of Congress. Retaliated against him for testifying about it at the hearing.

The lawsuit accuses the agency of harshly reviewing her performance and of “slut shaming” her by improperly releasing her personal information during the state prosecution last year of then-fellow CIA trainee Ashkan Bayatpour, convicted of assaulting her with a scarf. I went.

The woman’s attorney, Kevin Carroll, told the AP that the CIA has now “unlawfully ended the career of a young woman simply because she had the moral courage to stand up and testify about her sexual harassment, as That his managers were lacking.”

“The agency’s growing problem of sexual violence in the workplace is now hurting young women who will no longer tolerate it,” Carroll said.

The woman, who is not being identified because the AP typically does not identify victims of alleged sexual abuse, was credited with starting a kind of reckoning at the CIA because she was accused of sexual misconduct at the super-secret spy agency. It was a rare allegation. To make it a public court.

an ap test The case found that the case has encouraged at least two dozen women to come forward to officials and Congress over the past two years with their own accounts of sexual harassment and unwanted touching at the CIA and argue that they were protected from speaking out. A campaign is being run to stop it.

His allegations ranged from lewd comments about sexual fantasies after work hours to a case in which a senior manager allegedly came to a subordinate’s home at night demanding sex with a gun. Some of the alleged incidents date back years and occurred while officers were on risky covert missions abroad, while others occurred at CIA headquarters.

Bipartisan calls for congressional scrutiny and oversight investigations last year prompted CIA Director William Burns to introduce a series of reforms to streamline claims, support victims and more quickly discipline those behind misconduct. Did.

It is unclear whether the woman’s firing will lead to further action. The offices of the U.S. senators leading the investigation, Virginia Democrat Mark Warner and Florida Republican Marco Rubio, did not respond to requests for comment.

The woman’s attorney, Carroll, said she was granted protected whistleblower status before speaking to Congress. But people familiar with the Whistleblower Protection Act cautioned that such protections could be limited, especially at the CIA.

Tom DeWine, a longtime whistleblower rights advocate who is legal director of the Government Accountability Project, said CIA employees do not have the same rights as other federal employees due to national security concerns.

“You can blow the whistle, but only within the intelligence community,” DeWine said. “So when she went to the police, she was very alone. This is an unpleasant flaw.”

In her testimony before a Virginia judge last summer, the woman recounted the moment when Bayatpour allegedly tightened a scarf around her neck and tried to kiss her against her will.

“He made a face like he was really trying to hurt me,” she testified. “That face, that is what is still with me today. This is the hardest part.”

Bayatpour admitted that he had wrapped the scarf around the woman in the stairwell, but insisted that his actions were done in jest during their 40-minute walk together. The incident, his lawyer said, was “a prank that didn’t happen the way it should have.”

Bayatpour, 39, an Alabama native and former Naval intelligence officer, spent several months in the CIA after pleading guilty in August to rape and assault, being sentenced to six months of probation and ordered to surrender any firearms. Remained employed.

But as of last month, he no longer works for the CIA, according to a person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Bayatpour deferred questions to his attorney Jennifer Steve, who said her client maintains his innocence and is appealing his conviction, which allows him a jury trial.


Mustien reported from New York and Goodman from Miami.


Contact AP’s global investigative team at


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