For the last 14 years, the Central Intelligence Agency secretly collected evidence that at least ten of its contractors and employees may have been involved in sex crimes with children.
While most cases were directed to U.S. attorneys for prosecution, just one person was ever charged criminally. The rest of the cases were sent by prosecutors back to the CIA to handle the matters internally, so few employees or contractors ever faced consequences beyond potentially losing their jobs and security clearances.
The lax approach shows a stark difference from how sex crimes involving minors have been handled at other agencies including the Department of Homeland Security and the Drug Enforcement Administration. CIA insiders say the agency holds off on prosecuting its staff members over fears the cases will leak state secrets.
BuzzFeed News acquired hundreds of internal agency reports by filing Freedom of Information Act lawsuits. One employee, who had sexual contact with a 2- and 6-year-old, was fired. A second bought three sexually explicit videos of young girls who were filmed by the mothers, and he resigned.
Another employee said he viewed an estimated 1,400 sexually abusive images of children while conducting agency assignments. Additionally, a contractor had his contract revoked after he arranged for sex with an undercover FBI agent posing as a child.
The CIA did not answer specific questions, commenting only that the agency “takes all allegations of possible criminal misconduct committed by personnel seriously.” Only one person cited in the documents obtained by BuzzFeed News was ever charged with a crime.
The employee was also being investigated for mishandling classified material. Inside officials said there are several reasons that prosecutors would not seek criminal charges, one of them being that the agency would be concerned about the loss of sensitive information in a criminal case.
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: USA TODAY
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