The Central Intelligence Agency has reportedly fired a female employee who claimed she was sexually assaulted in a stairwell of the agency, according to NBC News. She accused the governmental agency of trying to dissuade her from filing a criminal complaint about the incident.
The woman’s attorney, Kevin Carroll, claimed that the CIA’s termination of the unnamed woman was a clear example of brazen retaliation. Her case has motivated at least two dozen more to come forward, claiming that they had also been sexually assaulted by those within the agency. The development has led to an inquiry from the CIA Office of Inspector General.
Carroll went on to suggest that his client’s termination was a case of “unlawful retaliation against a whistleblower to Congress, the inspector general and law enforcement about workplace sexual violence at the agency.”
“The only reason to terminate her is to intimidate all the other women from coming forward (about alleged sexual misconduct).”
However, the CIA has pushed back against Carroll’s claims. “This statement is factually inaccurate. To be clear, CIA does not tolerate sexual assault, sexual harassment, or whistleblower retaliation,” spokesperson Tammy Thorp said.
Carroll said the situation began after his client failed the CIA’s clandestine officer training program. When this has happened in the past, employees are free to apply to other positions within the agency. However, Carroll’s client applied for another job but was not selected. She was subsequently dismissed on Monday, according to the Associated Press.
The agency said the woman did not pass the clandestine training due to her poor writing skills. But Carroll — who said he had communicated with his client for months — claimed she was an excellent writer and that it was alarming that the agency arrived at a different conclusion.
But the agency did not give in.
“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. Our mission demands no less,” Thorp said.
Former CIA officers chimed in on the issue. They suggested that a significant portion of those who go through the clandestine training do not pass, and they are not guaranteed another job within the agency if they fail.
Ashkan Bayatpour — who the woman accused of wrapping a scarf around her neck and threatening her — was convicted of a state misdemeanor charge of assault and battery in a court in Virginia last year.
The investigation is still ongoing.
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