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Friday, July 19, 2024

Epstein-Linked CIA Director Promises Reform after Internal Sex-Assault Scandal

'I take the issue of sexual harassment and sexual assault extremely seriously...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) CIA Director and Jeffrey Epstein associate William Burns issued a statement Tuesday promising reform after an internal review found that the agency mishandled internal workplace harassment and sexual assault incidents.

Burns’s statement followed the House Intelligence Committee releasing a report in April, finding that the CIA turned a blind eye to complaints from its female agents. The committee also requested the CIA to conduct an internal review of the matter. Burns’s Tuesday statement was made in conjunction with the CIA completing that review, which hasn’t been made public.

“I take the issue of sexual harassment and sexual assault extremely seriously. We must get this right. The senior leadership team and I will continue to build on the important reforms we have already made, and to ensure that [CIA agents] have all the support and resources they need,” said Burns, who had dealings with sex-trafficker and alleged Mossad agent Jeffrey Epstein, even after Epstein was charged with sex crimes.

“We will continue to act quickly and systematically to further reinforce the safe, healthy, and respectful workplace that all of you deserve.”

The CIA sex scandal stems from January 2023, when a CIA whistleblower approached the House Intel committee, alleging that she had been physically attacked and sexually assaulted at CIA headquarters by a fellow officer. In the following weeks, additional whistleblowers shared their own personal experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment while employed by CIA.

The House Intel Committee launched an investigation into the matter, interviewing 26 CIA whistleblowers, holding two hearings and reviewing more than 4,000 pages of records. The report also said the committee “engaged constructively” with Director Burns.

The House committee’s investigations yielded eight main findings, including that “there was confusion and disorder in the process for reporting sexual assault and harassment.”

Rather than hold anyone within the CIA accountable, the committee instead said the sex abuse problem can be handled legislatively.

“It was evident CIA was unable to appropriately address the challenges due to its lack of certain tools and authorities,” the committee’s report said. “The Committee sought to provide CIA with what it needs to fix these gaps in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024.”

The CIA has fired the initial whistleblower. The victim’s lawyer said the whistleblower’s firiing was a blatant act of retaliation for reporting the assault.

The attorney, Kevin Carroll, reportedly told the Associated Press that the agency had “unlawfully ended a young woman’s career only because she had the moral courage, lacking in her managers, to stand up and be a witness about her sexual assault.”

The CIA, for its part, has reportedly denied wrongdoing in relation to the whistleblower retaliation allegation.

As for the sexual harassment problem, the agency provided the following comment to the Associated Press: “We are absolutely committed to fostering a safe, respectful workplace environment for our employees and have taken significant steps to ensure that, both by bolstering our focus on prevention and strengthening the Agency’s handling of these issues when they arise.”

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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