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CIA fires whistleblower who is suing over claim she was sexually assaulted at spy agency’s headquarters

A female CIA trainee who claims she was sexually assaulted in a stairwell at CIA headquarters in 2022 and is now suing the agency alleging intimidation has been fired, her lawyer said on Thursday.

In an email sent to House Intelligence Committee staff, who have been hearing testimony from alleged victims of sexual assault at the CIA, the lawyer called the dismissal “clear retaliation for her protected whistleblower statements to law enforcement, Congress and the IG (Inspector General) as a sex assault victim.”

In a statement, CIA spokesperson Tammy Thorp called the attorney’s statement “factually inaccurate.”

“To be clear, CIA does not tolerate sexual assault, sexual harassment, or whistleblower retaliation,” Thorp said.

The unnamed trainee failed the agency’s rigorous training program for clandestine officers, known colloquially as “The Farm,” according to the lawyer, Kevin Carroll — after she had testified before the House Intelligence Committee about her assault, he said. She was then given 90 days to find another job within the agency or be terminated. She was unable to secure another posting and was dismissed on Monday, he said.

According to Carroll, the trainee is a highly qualified project manager who speaks multiple languages, including Russian and Ukrainian.

Thorp said: “Regarding allegations related to the Agency’s rigorous training, as you would expect, CIA uses consistent processes to ensure the fair and equal treatment of every officer going through training.”

The trainee’s dismissal comes four months after she filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in Virginia claiming that the agency inappropriately intervened on behalf of her assailant in his criminal trial last year.

The suit comes as the CIA continues to face scrutiny on Capitol Hill over its handling of sexual harassment and sexual assault cases. The CIA inspector general last year initiated a “special review” after a number of women told congressional intelligence committees that their allegations of sexual misconduct were “grossly mishandled.”

At issue in the victim’s suit is not the assault itself — for which her assailant was convicted of assault and battery in Fairfax County General District Court — but the CIA’s handling of the victim’s initial report and efforts to seek justice.

The suit alleges that the agency improperly shared her internal workplace instant messages with her assailant’s criminal defense team, which the victim claims were intended to falsely portray her as having an extramarital affair with another colleague.

The IMs were not provided to the court as a result of a court-ordered subpoena or a request from law enforcement, according to the suit, and the victim now argues that their provision was in violation of her Privacy Act rights and represent an attempt by the CIA to prevent the conviction of her assailant by intimidating her from testifying.

A CIA spokesperson declined to discuss the specifics of the case at the time, citing the litigation. “CIA protects the privacy of our officers and acts in accordance with the law.”

Settlement negotiations are underway in the civil suit, Carroll said, but it’s not clear whether they will be successful.

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