CIA Faces Scrutiny as Female Agents Speak Up about Abuse

( – The House Intelligence Committee wants to speak to CIA Director Bill Burns over allegations of sexual abuse inside the agency. Like any large workforce, the CIA has occasional cases of sexual abuse in its ranks. Unfortunately, according to some of the victims, it isn’t very good at handling them.

Since January, at least three female CIA employees have told the Committee that women who feel they’ve been sexually abused at work are having a hard time getting anyone to listen. An attorney representing one of the whistleblowers claims Langley is discouraging victims from complaining about sexual misconduct — and threatening them if they consider reporting it to police.

One woman says that, after repeatedly reporting a physical assault by a male colleague and being ignored, she was told if she went to law enforcement, the agency would stop protecting her from the alleged attacker.

Now the Committee wants to find out what’s really happening inside the CIA. Unsurprisingly the agency is denying the allegations. In April, a senior official told reporters it’s “not true” staff were threatened with consequences if they spoke out. However, in May, another official admitted that “We need to change our processes… the feedback I hear is, it’s not working.”

On July 26, a former senior CIA officer said this problem isn’t new. Sabrina De Sousa, who managed CIA operations in Iraq, said back in the 2000s she heard many complaints from the female agents under her command. She also alleged there was a pattern of the agency’s top brass protecting abusers.

Now the two top members of the Intelligence Committee, Representatives Mike Turner (R-OH) and Jim Himes (D-CT), have written to Director Burns asking him to help them deal with the complaints they’re hearing from female agents. Will the Committee be able to get the CIA to realize its culture of secrecy is an asset when collecting intelligence on our enemies — but inappropriate for managing its own staff?

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