CIA had credible information about at least 10 of its employees and contractors exploiting children sexually for the past 14 years, according to Buzzfeed News. Although only one of them was charged with a crime, others were subject to an internal investigation that allowed the sexual offenders to walk away unscathed.
Three Freedom of Information Act lawsuits and 13 public records requests were used to obtain the information. According to Buzzfeed, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) tried to handle sensitive cases “internally,” which meant that the child sex offenders avoided losing their jobs or their security clearances. Other federal agencies, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Homeland Security, handled the cases in a very different way.
The CIA has been accused of sexually abusing employees.
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A CIA contractor tried to solicit sex from an undercover FBI agent posing as a child in January 2010, according to Buzzfeed News. The contractor, who had admitted to having an unhealthy fascination with images of child abuse, had used the agency’s IP address to access a chatroom. An investigation by the Inspector General found that the hard drives had been removed from the computer and supposedly disposed of.
According to reports, the agency has taken measures to ensure that its employees do not have access to sensitive information. Sexual abuse cases have been documented in internal CIA documents submitted to the agency’s Office of Inspector General. A 2-year-old and a 6-year-old were sexually assaulted by an employee in a single case. Three explicit videos of young girls, shot by their mothers, were purchased by a CIA official in another case. Over 1400 images of child sexual abuse were viewed by a single employee during assignments.
In addition, another CIA official admitted to using a government-approved laptop to look at sexually explicit images and videos of girls as young as ten years old. As a college student, he admitted to viewing child sex abuse images, and he continued to do so while working for the CIA. “(I) didn’t understand that it was a violation of agency policy to access child pornography until I took the Agency Information Security Course,” the employee had claimed in his defence.
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Two children, ages 2 and 6, were sexually assaulted by a CIA employee in August 2009. During his time at the agency, he admitted to downloading sexually explicit images. An investigation by the CIA Inspector General found 63 videos of child sexual abuse in his possession. Government WiFi was used by an official to download and distribute the information. The Buzzfeed report stated that he had brought child pornographic images back to the United States from abroad.
Inspector General found a CIA contractor with images of child sex abuse again in August 2013. As a result, his security clearance was revoked and he was no longer employed by the government. The accused later admitted to child abuse and was registered as a sexual offender, according to Buzzfeed News. However, the CIA released an internal document that did not include his name. CIA software engineer Joshua Schulte was charged with possessing images of sexual abuse in 2018; he has not been identified. As for the charges against him, he had pleaded not guilty.
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According to the CIA’s Inspector General, one of its employees saw child sexual abuse images while working on a government computer in November of 2016. A ‘consistent interest and pattern of redacted conversations involving sexual activities between adults and minors’ was established, despite the absence of any actual evidence. The Directorate of Science and Technology and other security officials were alerted by the CIA’s office because the allegations raised security and accountability concerns.
More than one CIA employee had been charged with sexual offences, but only one had been prosecuted, according to Buzzfeed. The official in question was already under investigation for mishandling classified data. A total of five of the tainted officials and contractors had resigned or been fired. The Office of Security, which investigates classified information, referred to four other suspects. When the CIA’s Office of Inspector General began releasing internal documents this year, it was only in March.
For the years 2004-2019, about 3000 pages have been released. According to a news outlet, federal prosecutors did not file any charges despite the discovery of evidence of sexual offences. According to CIA reports, names of the accused officials and contractors as well as their employment information were redacted. National security, privacy, and federal laws were cited by the Central Investigative Agency as a reason for withholding the information.
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Allegations of ‘possible criminal misconduct’ by agency officials were taken seriously, according to the agency’s defence in court. “The district takes seriously its responsibility to hold accountable federal government employees who violate federal law within our jurisdiction,” said a spokesperson for the Eastern District of Virginia. US Attorneys are also questioned in Buzzfeed’s report, which found that despite evidence of wrongdoing, they did nothing. On the other hand, it’s interesting to note that the prosecutor has the authority to evaluate the credibility of evidence and weigh the likelihood of persuasion.
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