10:11 GMT +316 December 2017
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    CIA Agent: I Was Punished for Revealing Secret Base Run Like ‘College Dorm’

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    A CIA agent has filed a lawsuit against the agency alleging that his commanding officer ordered him and other agents to travel through dangerous areas in a combat zone to shop and buy food for her, running the base like it was a “college dormitory.” He also claims that he was punished for blowing the whistle on her misconduct.

    As the case relates to US intelligence, many facts relating to it are classified, including the names of the plaintiff and his boss, or the location of the base. The CIA agent, who goes by the pseudonym "James A Pars," alleges in the lawsuit that his boss "placed her personal needs of cooking, baking, socializing, entertainment, exercise and shopping above the needs of the mission — often going days and sometimes more than a week without meeting with key personnel."

    Pars arrived at the base in December 2014. He had more than three years of experience managing a base in a conflict zone when he received the appointment, while he alleges that the mission chief had almost no prior experience in combat zones.

    His boss allegedly spent much of her time feeding and entertaining US soldiers she called her "adopted sons." He added that she once told him that she felt "horribly depressed" because she missed her family, causing her to skip important meetings.

    She also would deliberately move through areas that were known to be subject to intermittent rocket attacks. At one point, Pars says, his superior and other personnel traveled through an area that was hit with a rocket only 10 minutes later.

    The lawsuit alleges that Pars complained to his boss and her supervisors at the CIA's Office of Equal Employment Opportunity in early 2015. Within a few months, he had been reassigned and a black mark was placed on his file.

    Pars, a federal employee for more than 16 years, says that he was promised a promotion if he completed a one-year deployment at the base. Instead he was laid off, and he says he received no response when he complained to the CIA Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

    The lawsuit cites a 2012 policy directive of US President Barack Obama that was supposed to guarantee that intelligence agents could receive timely reviews of their claims of retaliation.

    The lawsuit's details were highlighted in a report from the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), an independent watchdog group that looks into allegations of US government corruption and misconduct. In intelligence, they are critical of policies they believe punish whistleblowers, claiming that they are what drive people within the intelligence community to leak classified information.

    "Whistleblowers in the Intelligence Community who use proper channels to disclose alleged wrongdoing deserve protection and due process," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) told POGO, in reference to the case. "Long delays at the CIA OIG underscore serious weaknesses in the system, and raise concerns over accountability at the CIA."

    The CIA did not issue a comment on the lawsuit, but they did file a six-page response to Pars' claims calling for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

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    Tags:
    whistleblower, lawsuit, Project on Government Oversight, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Barack Obama, Charles Grassley
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