CIA Docs Reveal Multiple Employees and Contractors Were Never Prosecuted for Child Sex Crimes

MCLEAN, VA - FEBRUARY 19: A man walks across the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency at the lobby of the Original Headquarters Building at the CIA headquarters February 19, 2009 in McLean, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Documents reveal that multiple Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) staffers were involved in child sex crimes but never prosecuted.

Obtained by BuzzFeed News via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits going all the way back to 2012, the documents reveal that the CIA “amassed credible evidence” of staffers involved in child sex crimes over a 14-year period and pursued no criminal prosecution in an effort to protect sensitive and classified materials.

“Though most of these cases were referred to US attorneys for prosecution, only one of the individuals was ever charged with a crime,” noted Buzzfeed News. “Prosecutors sent the rest of the cases back to the CIA to handle internally, meaning few faced any consequences beyond the possible loss of their jobs and security clearances.”

“CIA insiders say the agency resists prosecution of its staff for fear the cases will reveal state secrets,” the report added.

Often, the employees were fired or had their contracts revoked, as opposed to criminal prosecution for sex crimes that involved children as young as two.

One employee had sexual contact with a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old. He was fired. A second employee purchased three sexually explicit videos of young girls, filmed by their mothers. He resigned. A third employee estimated that he had viewed up to 1,400 sexually abusive images of children while on agency assignments. The records do not say what action, if any, the CIA took against him. A contractor who arranged for sex with an undercover FBI agent posing as a child had his contract revoked.

Only one of the individuals cited in these documents was charged with a crime. In that case, as in the only previously known case of a CIA staffer being charged with child sexual crimes, the employee was also under investigation for mishandling classified material.

Neither the CIA nor the spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, where most criminal referrals were sent, responded to inquiries and instead issued vague statements about taking “all allegations of possible criminal misconduct committed by personnel seriously.”

BuzzFeed said it heard from CIA insiders that the agency will avoid criminal prosecution as much as possible to protect “sensitive information,” fearing that their testimonies could “disclose sources and methods.” One former official said the excuse simply does not fly, charging that the CIA needs to “figure out how to prosecute these people.”

The over 3,000 pages of documents obtained by Buzzfeed News covered a range of internal investigations at the CIA, all of which had names redacted for privacy purposes. Of the 10 cases discovered, five of the alleged perps were fired or resigned, four were referred to a personnel board or the Office of Security, and one was prosecuted in tandem with mishandling classified material.

The outcome of one case — in which 10 child sexual abuse images were discovered on a CIA computer that had been left unattended — is unknown. The employee to whom that device was assigned said he switched computers while he was overseas. He denied using it to view such material.

In an eleventh case, the inspector general received a complaint in November 2016 that an employee used a government computer to view child sexual abuse images. Although the investigators couldn’t corroborate the allegation, they discovered that he had shown a “consistent interest and pattern of [redacted] conversations involving sexual activities between adults and minors.”

The inspector general alerted security officials and the Directorate of Science and Technology because the accusation raised “potential security and accountability issues.” Details of how the case was resolved, and any penalties the employee faced, are redacted.

In another shocking case, a CIA employee admitted in an affidavit that he used a government laptop to view photographs and videos of young girls, some as young as ten, being sexually abused. When confronted with his crime, the staffer said he was “truly sorry” and that “he did not understand that it was a violation of agency policy to access child pornography until he took the Agency Information Security Course.”

“When the inspector general examined the man’s computers, however, no such images were visible,” noted Buzzfeed News. “A federal prosecutor declined to charge the man in “favor of administrative action” by the CIA. The personnel board’s recommendation is redacted.”

Another case revealed that an official with security clearance admitted to having sexual contact with a two-year-old and a six-year-old girl on top of a mountain of abuse materials found on his devices.

“The man regularly used government Wi-Fi to download the material, he distributed it to others, and he brought the photos back into the US after he returned from a trip overseas,” said the report.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s office declined to prosecute the man due to alleged issues of mishandled evidence. The girls seen in the videos could also not be confirmed as minors due to not being “previously identified child pornography victims.”

Read the full report here.


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