Revealed: CIA Staffers Involved in Child Sex Abuse Crimes Dodged Prosecution Despite Evidence
14:49 GMT 03.12.2021 (Updated: 17:16 GMT 03.12.2021)
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) did not explicitly comment on the reports of its staffers being involved in multiple sex crimes involving children, only saying the agency “takes all allegations of possible criminal misconduct committed by personnel seriously.”
The CIA has been secretly collecting evidence linked to child sex crimes committed by at least ten of its employees and contractors, BuzzFeed.News reported
, citing CIA documents obtained through the Freedom of Information act.
While the majority of the cases were referred for prosecution, just one person was actually charged with a crime, with the others going unprosecuted.
According to CIA insiders cited in the report, among the many reasons the agency has to shield its staffers from prosecution are fears of losing control over sensitive information and concerns that people may "inadvertently" be forced to disclose sources and methods.
A handful of internal CIA reports
revealed by BuzzFeed.News said that one CIA employee had sexual contact with a two-year-old and a six-year-old before being fired. Another one purchased three sexually explicit videos of young girls made by their mothers before he resigned.
There was also an agent who estimated that he had viewed some 1,400 images containing sexual abuse of children while on agency assignments – in this case, it is unknown whether the CIA took any action against him. The report noted that said employee admitted to seeking child sexual abuse images since college and said he was "truly sorry." He also noted that “he did not understand that it was a violation of agency policy to access child pornography until he took the Agency Information Security Course.”
The documents mentioned a contractor who arranged for sex with an undercover FBI agent posing as a child. The contractor then had his contract revoked.
The one (and only) individual charged with a child sex crime was also under investigation for mishandling classified information.
The outlet referred a question on why the majority of the cases were declined by prosecutors to the Eastern District of Virginia – its spokesperson did not provide any details but said that the district “takes seriously its responsibility to hold accountable federal government employees who violate federal law within our jurisdiction.”
“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.”
One of the officials who spoke with the outlet said that the CIA acknowledged that it has had a problem with child sex abuse images for decades, but feels the need to protect “sensitive and classified equities.” Nevertheless, they said that “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.”
The outlet said that it obtained the CIA files after years of requests and lawsuits.
"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," the report says.
The documents are still heavily redacted due to the agency citing "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.
This is not the first time stories about CIA staffers being involved in child sex crimes have emerged. Joshua Schulte, a former CIA software engineer who designed malware that could hack into the computers of suspected terrorists, was prosecuted on child pornography charges. He pleaded not guilty.
A CIA inspector-general report cited by BuzzFeed.News also said that a CIA contractor was suspected of possessing child pornography
and mishandling classified information. He was fired and stripped of his security clearance, pleaded guilty to child abuse charges, and was even registered as a sex offender. While the report says he was sentenced, his personal details have not been disclosed.