OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
2:50 PM – Wednesday, October 4, 2023
An unidentified woman, who was reportedly a trainee at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), is suing the agency for her claimed sexual assault and for “repeatedly and improperly” discouraging her from making a police report against her attacker.
In 2022, the unnamed CIA trainee was sexually assaulted in a stairwell at the CIA headquarters, she alleges.
The woman has now sued the agency for “intimidating” her from testifying at her assailant’s trial and for repeatedly attempting to prevent her from documenting a criminal complaint against him.
The lawsuit specifies that the agency “improperly” shared the woman’s internal work messages with her assailant’s criminal defense team. She claimed that this was purposefully done in order to falsely depict her as having an extramarital affair.
As a result, the instant messages were not revealed to the court due to a court-ordered subpoena and a request from law enforcement, according to the lawsuit.
The victim has also claimed that the court’s provision breaches her Privacy Act rights and portrays an attempt by the agency to stop the conviction of her assailant by intimidating her from testifying against him.
The CIA has been in the midst of dealing with scrutiny on Capitol Hill regarding its treatment of sexual harassment and sexual assault cases.
In May, the CIA inspector general ordered a “special review” due to several women speaking out to congressional intelligence committees regarding allegations of sexual misconduct. The women claimed that the misconduct was “grossly mishandled.”
An agency spokesperson denied questions regarding the specifics of the case and ensuring the privacy of the CIA’s officers and the continuing litigation.
“CIA continues to take concerns about our handling of employee allegations of sexual assault and harassment extremely seriously, and we have already taken significant steps in this regard,” the spokesperson said.
“We are focused on instilling in all officers a culture of duty to act, and ensuring they know they are encouraged to report any incidents of sexual assault to law enforcement authorities. We have also strengthened our response, including making significant organizational reforms and bringing on an experienced outside expert to lead our sexual assault and prevention efforts.”
According to the lawsuit, which was filed in Washington, D.C., in 2022, a male CIA trainee “snuck up behind” the female victim in a stairwell.
The male proceeded to “wrap a scarf tightly around her neck, began strangling her with it, made lewd remarks, and tried to kiss her forcibly on her mouth.”
The woman told the man to “stop” and quickly left the scene as soon as he let her go.
“He immediately tried unsuccessfully to wrap the scarf around Plaintiff’s neck again, followed Plaintiff to her office, and grabbed and forcibly kissed her,” the suit reports. “Hours after the attack, her assailant twice texted Plaintiff to ask, ‘You good?’”
The victim and her attacker were Clandestine Service trainees who were in the process of learning how to recruit and manage CIA assets. Both of their names have been concealed in court proceedings and to the public.
According to a CIA officer, the agency has now hired a psychologist named Dr. Taleeta Jackson to run a program that will assist sexual assault victims.
According to the officer, Jackson is “developing a tailored training curriculum for Agency employees and is ensuring her office is fully resourced with trained officers to provide support to victims and respond to incidents of sexual assault within our Agency community.”
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