CIA Agent In Algeria Accused Of Rape

A CIA station chief who was based in Algeria is accused of rape. A search of his home found date-rape drugs and at least two women have complained that they awoke — confused — in his bed.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

From NPR News, this is All Things Considered. I'm Robert Siegel.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And I'm Michele Norris. A CIA officer who was based in Algeria is being investigated on allegations of rape. The officer, who was the station chief in Algeria, has been relieved of his position and has been suspended from the CIA. The story was first reported by ABC News. NPR has confirmed the report and has details of what is alleged to have occurred. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston has been following the story. She joins me now. Dina, what have you learned about the allegations?

DINA TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, essentially, according to a source close to the investigation, the station chief in Algeria has been accused of date raping at least two women. Allegedly, he spiked their drinks with some sort of date rape drug, and they woke up in these comprising positions, naked, clearly confused of how they ended up in bed with this man. It's unclear if there's more than two women involved. There might be more.

NORRIS: And who's investigating the case?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Now, ABC News is reporting that the Justice Department is investigating. But as I understand it from someone close to the case, it's the State Department's diplomatic security service that's looking into it. They searched his apartment in Algiers in the fall. They had actually had the official go to a conference in Cairo, so he'd be out of town and this wouldn't raise any suspicions for him, and they looked through his apartment.

NORRIS: And when they looked through the apartment, what kind of evidence do the investigators have as a result of that? And is this contained just to Algeria?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, I don't know if it's contained to Algeria, or not. What I do know is that they allegedly found the drugs, and the FBI has apparently tested and confirmed that those drugs were some sort of date rape drug. And apparently the diplomatic security service also found videotapes of all of this. They also have at least two women who came forward, so presumably they would be witnesses in the case. Apparently, the CIA has known about this since last fall, and the officer was brought back to D.C. under the guise of some meeting, and then he was presented with the allegations and was immediately relieved of his Algiers post, and he's also been suspended.

NORRIS: So this reaches back to last fall, something that the new administration has inherited. Now, what is the CIA saying about this?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Now, they won't confirm or deny anything because it refers to an officer who was undercover. But spokesman Mark Mansfield did say, and I'm going to quote him here, "I can assure you that the agency would take seriously and follow up on any allegations of impropriety."

NORRIS: Because we're talking about very, very serious charges, allegations of rape, is there any indication that the government is going to be treating this any differently because of the obvious sensitivities within the Muslim world?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Now, that's a very good question, and it's unclear. I mean, there were jurisdictional problems to start. I mean, this occurred on embassy property, so technically, this is a U.S. crime that occurred on U.S. soil. So there were a lot of questions as to who would end up actually being the person to investigate this. And under that particular system, the deputy chief of mission in the embassy is the one who decided that the diplomatic security service would come in. Where it goes from here is really unclear. Apparently it's still being investigated.

NORRIS: Dina, I just want to clarify something. Did this all start because the women came forward?

TEMPLE-RASTON: That's what my understanding is, that the women actually reported this much after the fact. One of the women was actually married and apparently was friends with him and was shocked to suddenly wake up and find herself naked with him.

NORRIS: That's NPR's Dina Temple-Raston. Dina, thank you very much.

TEMPLE-RASTON: You're very welcome.

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