The CIA terminated a woman who reported being assaulted at the agency’s headquarters, prompting a wave of sexual misconduct complaints from colleagues.
The CIA denies the accusation and terminated her after she filed a civil rights lawsuit alleging retaliation for reporting the assault.
“To be clear, the CIA does not tolerate sexual assault, sexual harassment or whistleblower retaliation,” CIA spokesperson Tammy Thorp said, noting that the CIA uses “consistent processes to ensure the fair and equal treatment of every officer going through training.”
Her attorney claims the CIA unlawfully ended her career for speaking out.
The CIA has “unlawfully ended a young woman’s career only because she had the moral courage, lacking in her managers, to stand up and be a witness about her sexual assault,” attorney Kevin Carroll said.
“The agency’s festering workplace sexual violence problem,” Carroll said, “is now harming the retention of young women who won’t put up with it any longer.”
“You can blow the whistle, but only within the intel community,” Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project said. “So when she went to the police, she was very much on her own. It’s an obnoxious loophole.”
Her case led to other women coming forward with their own accounts of sexual misconduct at the CIA, triggering reforms at the agency.
The termination raises questions about whistleblower protections and the handling of sexual violence issues within the CIA.