December 3, 2021

USA: 10 YEARS Of FOIA Requests And Multiple Lawsuits To Get CIA Inspector General Logs. CIA Fought In Court To Keep Documents Sealed About Pedophile CIA Agents Not Getting Prosecuted.

Buzzfeed News
CIA Files Say Staffers Committed Sex Crimes Involving Children. They Weren’t Prosecuted.
written by Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier
Wednesday December 1, 2021

Over the past 14 years, the Central Intelligence Agency has secretly amassed credible evidence that at least 10 of its employees and contractors committed sexual crimes involving children.

Though most of these cases were referred to US attorneys for prosecution, only one of the individuals was ever charged with a crime. 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. That marks a striking deviation from how sex crimes involving children have been handled at other federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Drug Enforcement Administration. CIA insiders say the agency resists prosecution of its staff for fear the cases will reveal state secrets.

The revelations are contained in hundreds of internal agency reports obtained by BuzzFeed News through Freedom of Information Act lawsuits.

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.

The CIA did not answer detailed questions, saying only that the agency “takes all allegations of possible criminal misconduct committed by personnel seriously.”

A spokesperson for the Eastern District of Virginia, where many of the criminal referrals were sent, also did not answer detailed questions, saying the district “takes seriously its responsibility to hold accountable federal government employees who violate federal law within our jurisdiction.”

Four former officials who are familiar with how internal investigations work at intelligence agencies told BuzzFeed News there are many reasons that prosecutors might not pursue a criminal case. One of them, familiar with the workings of the CIA’s Office of the Inspector General, said the agency is concerned that in a criminal case, it could lose control of sensitive information.

The former official, who reviewed the declassified inspector general reports, characterized the concern from CIA lawyers as, “We can’t have these people testify, they may inadvertently be forced to disclose sources and methods.”

The official, who noted the agency has had a problem with child abuse images stretching back decades, said they understand the need to protect “sensitive and classified equities.” However, “for crimes of a certain class whether it’s an intelligence agency or not, you just have to figure out how to prosecute these people.”

Want to support more reporting like this? Become a BuzzFeed News member today. Sexual crimes involving children, including the viewing of images of abuse, have been uncovered at other agencies that handle sensitive information. In a November 2009 report, the Department of Defense acknowledged that dozens of Pentagon staff members or contractors had such images. In 2014, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community found that two officials from the National Reconnaissance Office, which oversees America’s spy satellites, acknowledged viewing images of child sexual abuse during polygraph examinations.

At a symposium in 2016, Daniel Payne, a top Pentagon security official, said that when workers’ computers were examined, “the amount of child porn I see is just unbelievable.”

The child abuse revelations are drawn from an unprecedented release of reports by the CIA’s Office of the Inspector General.

BuzzFeed News gained access to these documents after a decadelong pursuit, which included 13 public records requests and three separate Freedom of Information Act lawsuits.

Those requests, the earliest of which date back to 2012, were for investigations closed by the Office of the Inspector General, which acts independently of the agency to examine misconduct by employees or contractors.

New requests were filed each subsequent year. At first the CIA did not respond to the requests; then, it said it would take years to provide any documents. Those requests were followed in 2014, 2015, and 2020 by lawsuits, and the agency entered into negotiations about what documents to release. The coronavirus pandemic delayed the process by a year, but the agency finally began to release the documents in March and will release the final set in December.

BuzzFeed News is publishing the reports here for public review.

Among more than 3,000 pages, covering the years 2004 to 2019, are investigations big and small involving billing irregularities by contractors, a spy who expensed a visit to an overseas “gentleman’s club,” and an employee who used government computer systems to resell more than 700 items purchased at yard sales.

Other reports have been the subject of previous news coverage, such as the CIA’s involvement in the production of the film Zero Dark Thirty, the torture of detainees held at black site prisons, and a decades-old operation in Peru that led to the death of missionaries.

More recent reports show that a CIA employee was investigated in October 2018 for using agency computer systems and databases to conduct “unofficial searches” on her brother, and that the inspector general substantiated allegations in a January 2018 memorandum that another CIA employee violated the Hatch Act, which limits political activity by civil servants in the executive branch.

The documents also reveal the pattern of sexual abuse cases, whereby internal investigators unearthed evidence of sexual crimes involving children but federal prosecutors brought no charges.

As is typical of intelligence documents, the records have been heavily redacted. Among the information that has been hidden are the names of the accused employees and contractors and details about their jobs at the CIA. The agency cites privacy reasons, national security, and a federal law that exempts the CIA from disclosing details about its operations.

“Not knowing the identities of the suspects is a hindrance in identifying these cases and why they were declined,” the spokesperson for the Eastern District of Virginia said.

Of the 10 workers who the inspector general found had committed sexual crimes involving children, five were fired or resigned. Four others were referred to a personnel board or the Office of Security, which investigates classified leaks and is responsible for the safety of CIA facilities.

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.

Beyond the CIA’s handling of these cases, questions linger over why US attorneys chose not to charge anyone, even when they seemed to have significant evidence.

Prosecutors generally have wide discretion over whether to bring criminal charges. They can judge the evidence too old or weak, consider a crime victim’s desire to proceed with prosecution, and weigh the chances of convincing a jury.

“The occupation or employer of the suspect does not factor into that evaluation,” the spokesperson for the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said. “While we cannot comment on the reasons why specific cases were declined, we do take very seriously any allegation that our prosecutors declined a potential case based on an improper assessment of the relevant factors.”

It appears that at least half of the sexual abuse investigations originated with a confession. The documents do not spell out the circumstances surrounding those statements, or whether they emerged during grueling “full-scope” polygraph examinations that can probe every part of CIA employees’ and contractors’ lives.

During those screenings, one former intelligence official told BuzzFeed News, it is not uncommon for a candidate to admit unlawful behavior in order to prove they aren’t lying — only later to realize that their statement might have sunk their chance to work for the agency and even put them in legal jeopardy.

Such statements are sent to the inspector general, which then tries to collect evidence proving the crime occurred. But that gives the subject time to delete or destroy evidence, said the former official.

That’s what happened in January 2010, when a CIA contractor logged into a chatroom using an agency IP address and solicited sex from an FBI agent posing as a child. The contractor acknowledged an obsession with child sexual abuse images, but by the time the inspector general obtained a search warrant and seized the man’s computer, someone had “removed the hard drives and thrown them away,” according to the reports.

Please CLICK HERE to read the entire detailed long article...
CNN published June 11, 2013: Prostitution, drugs alleged in State Department memo. State Department may have covered up investigations of criminal misconduct by staff, according to an internal memo. 
US State Dept overseen by Hillary Clinton under Obama presidency. (emphasis mine)
CBS News published June 11, 2021: State Dept. responds, strongly denies cover-up allegations. Following allegations of a cover-up, a State Dept. spokesperson said "ambassadors would be no exception" for criminal prosecution. Some agents told CBS News that investigations were manipulated to hide misconduct and criminal activity, including the suspected use of prostitutes by a U.S. ambassador.

Washinton Examiner
written by Sarah Westwood
Tuesday June 9, 2015

State Department Inspector General officials edited out passages of a high-profile report in 2013 that could have embarrassed Hillary Clinton just days before she quit President Obama's Cabinet.

The officials excised details of a cover up of misconduct by Clinton's security team.

The edits raise concerns that investigators were subjected to "undue influence" from agency officials.

The Washington Examiner obtained earlier drafts of the report which differ markedly from the final version. References to specific cases in which high-level State officials intervened and descriptions of the extent and frequency of those interventions appear in several early drafts but were later eliminated.

The unexplained gaps in the final version, and the removal of passages that would have damaged the State Department, call into question the independence of Harold Geisel, who was State's temporary inspector general throughout Clinton's four years at the head of the department.

The drafts were provided to the Examiner by Richard Higbie, a senior criminal investigator at the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, after he said he disclosed the documents to several members of Congress and multiple congressional committees under federal whistleblower protections.

Higbie is presently suing the State Department for retaliation.

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Royce said in the letter to Geisel that the inspector general's office had turned over to Congress two drafts of the report — one dated November 20, 2012, and another from December 4, 2012.

But an Examiner review of the documents indicates there are several additional drafts of the report that were not initially submitted to the committee upon request, according to Royce's first letter.

Hand-written comments in the margin of a November 27, 2012, draft of the report suggest there was an internal struggle over what information should be included in the document. Next to the passage describing an investigation into the pedophilia allegations against an unnamed ambassador, for example, someone typed: "[T]hese allegations must be deleted." Someone else wrote, "Why?" in the space below.

While the question wasn't answered in a nearly identical draft that followed on November 28, the offending language was missing from a December 4, 2012, version of the report.

Citizens United, a conservative nonprofit, filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking records related to the February 2013 report in September of last year.

After the group sued the State Department over their stonewalled request, agency officials claimed there were simply too many responsive documents to provide even an estimate of how many records might have mentioned the interim inspector general or the report in question.

The inspector general's office refused to comment on the earlier drafts of the report and said the final, published document should speak for itself.

Allegations that high-level State Department officials had stymied diplomatic security investigations first surfaced in 2013 when Aurelia Fedenisn, a former investigator in the State Department inspector general's office, told CBS that the February 2013 inspector general report had been heavily edited before its release.

Jen Psaki, then a spokeswoman for the State Department, said in response to the CBS report that "the notion that we would not vigorously pursue criminal any case is preposterous."

Fedenisn hired a Dallas-area law firm to represent her against the State Department after she was reportedly subjected to intimidation due to her whistleblower status.

That law firm was the victim of a break-in just weeks after the CBS report was published. The pair of thieves took only computers and files that contained information about Fedenisn, leaving untouched valuable items that included silver bars, the local Fox affiliate in Dallas reported.

Higbie said many whistleblowers like himself fear nothing will change if they take the risk to report wrongdoing.

"If a whistleblower reports a significant amount of criminal conduct that includes viable supporting evidence, some kind of action must be taken that is public," he said. "Otherwise, as is the case with the State Department, current and former employees do not believe coming forward with information that is vital to Congress in its oversight of the Department will materialize into any form of accountability."

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