The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was aware that at least 10 members of its staff committed sex crimes against children, though only one employee was ever prosecuted, according to released documents first reported by BuzzFeed News.
One CIA employee had “inappropriate sexual activity with an unidentified two-year-old girl” and confessed to having sexual relations with a six-year-old, according to internal CIA reports dating from 2004 to 2019 accessed by BuzzFeed through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The employee was fired but never charged.
Another employee bought pornographic films depicting young girls, while another claimed to have viewed thousands of sexually explicit images of children, according to the documents. These employees also were not charged with any crimes.
One CIA staffer downloaded dozens of videos of child sexual abuse material depicting minors between the ages of 8 and 16, according to the documents. The employee would use government Wi-Fi to download the content and share it with others.
Many of the cases were referred to federal attorneys, who sent all but one case back to the CIA to deal with the matter internally rather than prosecute the employees, BuzzFeed reported.
A CIA spokesperson told BuzzFeed that the agency “takes all allegations of possible criminal misconduct committed by personnel seriously” but refused to answer detailed questions, while the Eastern District of Virginia, which reviewed many of the cases, said it “takes seriously its responsibility to hold accountable federal government employees who violate federal law within our jurisdiction.”
In addition to sexual crimes, the internal reports revealed several other improprieties carried out by CIA staff. One CIA employee was investigated in October 2018 for using CIA credentials and computer access to conduct “unofficial searches” on her brother.
The CIA did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
Buzzfeed News added:
A spokesperson for the Eastern District of Virginia, where many of the criminal referrals were sent, also did not answer detailed questions, saying the district “takes seriously its responsibility to hold accountable federal government employees who violate federal law within our jurisdiction.”
Four former officials who are familiar with how internal investigations work at intelligence agencies told BuzzFeed News there are many reasons that prosecutors might not pursue a criminal case. One of them, familiar with the workings of the CIA’s Office of the Inspector General, said the agency is concerned that in a criminal case, it could lose control of sensitive information.
The former official, who reviewed the declassified inspector general reports, characterized the concern from CIA lawyers as, “We can’t have these people testify, they may inadvertently be forced to disclose sources and methods.”
The official, who noted the agency has had a problem with child abuse images stretching back decades, said they understand the need to protect “sensitive and classified equities.” However, “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 Daily Caller News Foundation contributed to this report.]