CIA Station Chief Accused Of Sexual Assaults
RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
We turn now to a story involving serious charges against a CIA officer based in Algeria. He's being investigated for sexual assault against two Muslim women. The story was first reported by ABC News. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston has confirmed the report and has details of the case.
DINA TEMPLE-RASTON: The CIA's station chief in Algiers was summoned back to Washington for a meeting this past fall. At the meeting, CIA officials confronted him with the allegations that two women had accused him of raping them after spiking their drinks with a knockout drug. Both women, according to a source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation, say they fell ill and woke up in the CIA officer's bed. They say they didn't know how they got there.
The state department's diplomatic security service is handling the investigation. And in an affidavit, an investigator said that the CIA station chief admitted having sex with the two women, but he said that it was consensual. The state department is handling the case because the assaults took place in embassy housing.
Sources told NPR that investigators found a bottle of pills in the CIA officer's apartment in Algiers, which the FBI later tested. They found evidence of several drugs that could be used in date rape. The official said investigators also found videotapes in which the sexual encounters were recorded. The two women appeared semiconscious in the videos.
Officials have been investigating the allegations since the fall, when the first woman came forward to complain. A short time later, another woman emerged with similar charges. As station chief in Algiers, the officer worked high-profile intelligence and terrorism cases. For example, he was the CIA's top agent working with Algerian intelligence to track down al-Qaeda operatives behind a wave of bombings there, including an August 2008 incident that killed 48 people.
After being summoned to Washington, the station chief was not allowed to return to Algiers. He was relieved of his post and was suspended from the agency. He told investigators he would cooperate with their inquiry. A CIA spokesman refused to comment on the case directly, but said the agency would take seriously any allegations of impropriety. The Justice Department is preparing a criminal complaint. A grand jury could consider an indictment in a matter of weeks. Dina Temple-Raston, NPR News.