CIA accused of ‘witness tampering’ by assault victim

A federal intelligence agency is facing a lawsuit after a victim of sexual assault came forward with accusations of “witness tampering,” “retaliation” and attempted “slut shaming.”

With public trust failing in government agencies, particularly after reports of collusion with Big Tech to censor and suppress stories to maintain a narrative, a lawsuit brought against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) intimated new lows. Having already been forced to deal with a slew of complaints of sexual assaults, the Langley, Virginia-based agency now faces a lawsuit from an anonymous trainee over how they handled those allegations.

Tuesday, the woman said to be a victim of fellow trainee Ashkan Bayatpour, convicted in August of a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery, filed her request seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial over the CIA’s response, according to a report from The Messenger.

According to the trainee’s suit, in July 2022 she was attacked by Bayatpour in a stairwell at which point he allegedly choked her with a scarf, made lewd statements, and attempted to forcibly kiss her as she fought him off. Though she was said to have escaped the attack, the assailant pursued her and was said to have kissed the fellow trainee in her office.

The trainee was said to have reported the incident to the agency within 48 hours and went on to report it to the FBI in the months that followed, but the alleged assailant was neither disciplined nor prosecuted. The suit also indicated that Bayatpour had sent her obscene messages through a communications channel used by the CIA.

“The messages included ‘bizarre’ statements such as, ‘why to bleach the anus,’ … and a remark that a physical fitness trainer at CIA was ‘hot af,'” detailed The Messenger of the lawsuit.

The new filing alleged that CIA employees, named as John Doe and Richard Roe for the sake of suit, had leaked those communications during Bayatpour’s trial in a Fairfax, Virginia court as part of an attempt to clear his name.

“CIA must have reviewed Plaintiff’s workplace messages in search of evidence to exculpate Plaintiff’s assailant, and then selectively edited and produced her workplace IMs to assailant’s defense counsel,” read the suit. “For example, Plaintiff’s remarks about feeling sore after a physical fitness workout performed with a colleague were presented out of context, as if her remarks referred instead to feeling sore after sex with that colleague.”

The leak was described as “slut shaming” in addition to computer fraud and felony witness tampering in the suit.

While the trainee went on to obtain protected whistleblower status and detailed her assault to inspectors general and congressional investigators, the suit alleged that she was retaliated against in her performance review that was downgraded over supposed “disclosure of personal information” regarding communications with an instructor about her congressional statements.

“By downgrading Plaintiff’s performance review, CIA retaliated against Plaintiff, a federal officer, because Plaintiff agreed to Congress’s request for her testimony about a crime she suffered at the hands of a CIA colleague at the Agency’s headquarters,” detailed the court filing.

In August, after Bayatpour was convicted and sentenced to six months’ probation, which he is appealing, Fox News reported that at least two dozen women had brought forward complaints of sexual assaults and abusive treatment within the agency.

“There are harassers everywhere and bosses that try to cover them up,” Washington attorney Kristin Alden, counsel for a number of the women who’ve filed complaints, told Fox News. “But the whole nature of intelligence work — the culture of secrecy and people working under assumed names — really elevates the chilling effect of retaliation and isolations that victims feel.”

It was also reported that complaints about sexual harassment and discrimination to the CIA’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity had doubled the previous year’s total by August at 76 separate incidents.

At the time, in response to scrutiny, CIIA spokesperson Tammy Kupperman Thorp had said, “Our officers deserve no less than our laser sharp focus on ensuring they have a safe and secure work environment.”


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Kevin Haggerty


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