"Secrecy, being an instrument of conspiracy, ought never to be the system of a regular government."
January 28, 2009 12:46 PM   Subscribe

In yet another case of possible criminality within The Company ranks, the CIA's station chief in Algeria is facing investigation for sexual assualt, accused of having drugged and sexually assaulted at least two Algerian women. Though recent events have raised doubts about the prosecution of other possible crimes at the CIA, this case may actually lead to an eventual conviction. After all, he made tapes.
posted by saulgoodman (30 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh. I was hoping your link was to the tapes themselves.
posted by bz at 12:51 PM on January 28, 2009


"Investigators searched the station chief's residence and found videotapes of him engaged in sex acts, including with a woman 'in a semi-conscious state.'"

Setting aside the horror of the act for a minute. The CIA station chief of a major foreign embassy taped himself having sex with semi-concious locals? Aren't high-level CIA people usually, umm, at least smart, if not law-abiding?
posted by jckll at 12:57 PM on January 28, 2009


Cklennon, he probably thought (and I'm sure it'll end up that he thought correctly) that he would have to rape semi-conscience Algerian women live during the Superbowl for him to actually face any real consequence. From what I can tell, being in any kind of CIA/FBI/PD job means you can thwart any accusations or charges, regardless of evidence, with something as simple as the Chewbacca defense.
posted by Bageena at 1:07 PM on January 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


The CIA is disgusting. They use their 'secret' status to get away with all kinds of crimes.
posted by delmoi at 1:08 PM on January 28, 2009


he probably thought (and I'm sure it'll end up that he thought correctly) that he would have to rape semi-conscience Algerian women live during the Superbowl for him to actually face any real consequence.

So that's this year's GoDaddy ad.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:12 PM on January 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


Directorate of Intelligence is OK, though too willing to bend to the will of the executive branch (as the world discovered after the Iraq invasions and occupation). The Directorate of Operations is where the real scumbaggery lies.
posted by Auden at 1:13 PM on January 28, 2009


Drugging and raping two women probably isn't the most morally reprehensible thing a CIA agent did that week. That day. That hour. That minute, even. Take the kind of amoral power-tripping high-n'-tight meatheads that become cops, subtract all but the most elite fuckheads from that group, give them almost no accountability to anyone but other fuckheads, then imbue them with the idea that they're Protecting The Free World from Turr'ism/Commies/whatever instead of Protecting Fuckclamp County from Meth Labs, and you have CIA agents.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:20 PM on January 28, 2009 [13 favorites]


Of course, the tapes make him prime blackmail material; the CIA, KGB, MI6, etc all went to great lengths to get tapes like these of the opposition. How the hell does a trained CIA officer end up making blackmail tapes of himself?
posted by orthogonality at 1:21 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


You just didn't get the same quality of civil servants when W. was running things.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:24 PM on January 28, 2009


Setting aside the horror of the act for a minute. The CIA station chief of a major foreign embassy taped himself having sex with semi-concious locals? Aren't high-level CIA people usually, umm, at least smart, if not law-abiding?

Based on the last 50 years of American history, no. Agents of the CIA are not smart.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:29 PM on January 28, 2009


Drugging and raping two women probably isn't the most morally reprehensible thing a CIA agent did that week. That day. That hour. That minute, even. Take the kind of amoral power-tripping high-n'-tight meatheads that become cops, subtract all but the most elite fuckheads from that group, give them almost no accountability to anyone but other fuckheads, then imbue them with the idea that they're Protecting The Free World from Turr'ism/Commies/whatever instead of Protecting Fuckclamp County from Meth Labs, and you have CIA agents.

Actually, usually these types are lawyers from the best schools, often liberals. Your every day cop won't make the cut here.

I'm not saying this guy was, but the traditional CIA operative has always been a liberal arts major from an excellent school. That's why Bush didn't trust the CIA and tried to go around them because they would not provide them with the data they wanted to justify the invasion of Iraq.

As for accountability, I believe the fact that we are all on this thread indicates that there is some accountability.

A husband of a friend joined right after 9/11. He was a lawyer from a top school. We all thought he was working at State until he was killed.

The real criminals aren't the foot soldiers here, they are the 'generals' in this effort.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:31 PM on January 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


I don't know much about the organizational structure of the CIA, but does station chief qualify as "foot soldier" or "general"?
posted by saulgoodman at 1:34 PM on January 28, 2009


Oh. I was hoping your link was to the tapes themselves.

Christ, what an etc. etc.
posted by jokeefe at 1:36 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


You gotta pity the CIA, in a way. All their successes, by definition, are secret.
posted by gottabefunky at 1:41 PM on January 28, 2009


robert hanssen made tapes of he and his wife and gave them to his friend. He also trolled and posted to swinger sites and what not.
opps he was FBI.


hmm a recent convert too.
say bye-bye to your soial and work life mr. station chief.

the traditional CIA operative has always been a liberal arts major from an excellent school

for Operations, yeah, back in the day. Alot of ex-FBI and military intel joined the ranks of operations esp. after ww II
posted by clavdivs at 1:46 PM on January 28, 2009


anyone consider that he got burned?
by who is the real question.
posted by clavdivs at 1:57 PM on January 28, 2009


I don't know much about the organizational structure of the CIA, but does station chief qualify as "foot soldier" or "general"?

Probably sergeant. His job was to likely to recruit locals to provide him information as well as to coordinate electronic intelligence gathering. Most human intelligence work is done by locals, there are few "James Bond" types now. Not that there were very many to begin with.

The "generals" I refer to are at CIA headquarters.

Interesting that he is a convert to Islam.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:12 PM on January 28, 2009


Though recent events have raised doubts about the prosecution of other possible crimes at the CIA....

Unless prosecuting this case makes the test case for "it's not about torture, it's different", and then when he is found guilty, the administration can then come in and say, "oh, well, now that we know that some CIA station chiefs were up to this kind of thing, maybe now we should reconsider not prosecuting them for anything else."

...I live in hope.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:12 PM on January 28, 2009


The real criminals aren't the foot soldiers here, they are the 'generals' in this effort.

Just following orders, eh? How many degrees do you need to shred someone's genitals with a razor?
posted by stet at 2:19 PM on January 28, 2009


I'm not saying this guy was, but the traditional CIA operative has always been a liberal arts major from an excellent school. That's why Bush didn't trust the CIA and tried to go around them because they would not provide them with the data they wanted to justify the invasion of Iraq.

What? George W. Bush's father was the director of the CIA. And in case you didn't notice, He was a liberal arts major (History) at an excellent, ivy league school (Yale)
posted by delmoi at 2:29 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


stet: don't you see? you have to have at least a couple of advanced degrees in psychology and cultural studies to really understand the full value of an interrogation that involves carrying out a rite of circumcision--which is, after all, a jewish rite--on an adult muslim male.

christ, what a disgusting freak show all of this is.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:30 PM on January 28, 2009


The real criminals aren't the foot soldiers here, they are the 'generals' in this effort.

Just following orders, eh? How many degrees do you need to shred someone's genitals with a razor?


Uh, those were North Africans who allegedly cut the genitals, not the CIA, so I'd suspect they have no Ivy League degrees. The question is how much did the CIA officers know about potential torture when they shipped the subject off to North Africa. It seems to me a pretty high likelihood. They would thus be co-conspirators to torture by a third party. This was (and will be) the standard set of facts for extraordinary rendition. These will be the sort of charges we will see.

None of the alleged persons who performed rendtion will be tried in Britain. I suspect they will just never travel there, just like the CIA officers involved in the extraordinary rendition who were tried and found guilty in absentia in Italy.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:34 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


So that's this year's GoDaddy ad.

Well it fits the whole pro-torture thing.
posted by rokusan at 2:42 PM on January 28, 2009


None of the alleged persons who performed rendtion will be tried in Britain. I suspect they will just never travel there, just like the CIA officers involved in the extraordinary rendition who were tried and found guilty in absentia in Italy.

I suspect that they can't travel anywhere that has an extradition treaty with Britain or the ICC, except maybe the US.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:49 PM on January 28, 2009


So Burn After Reading was a documentary?
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:02 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Aren't high-level CIA people usually, umm, at least smart, if not law-abiding?

The presence of the word "intelligence" in the organisation's name doesn't preclude idiots from joining.
posted by WalterMitty at 3:23 PM on January 28, 2009


What? George W. Bush's father was the director of the CIA.

Possibly all the more reason why Dubya didn't trust them (a documented fact). Bush Sr. was not, at least in any aboveboard capacity, a CIA man, he was an ex-Congressman/diplomat sent in to "clean up" an agency that has traditionally resisted or outlasted many such attempts. In fact, Bush Sr. was responsible for the infamous "Team B" challenge to the CIA's dominance of threat analysis.

this case may actually lead to an eventual conviction

Note the crucial difference was that this was on his free time. I don't think his hobby has a legal justification brief penned by John Yoo.
posted by dhartung at 3:30 PM on January 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


Aren't high-level CIA people usually, umm, at least smart, if not law-abiding?

Come on dude, this has "Bush appointee" written all over it.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:58 PM on January 28, 2009


Interesting that he is a convert to Islam.

Interesting that this is the news that goes around right now...lets see what actual facts pan out.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:05 PM on January 28, 2009


I know nothing of this case, but I've met one or two intelligence people in my time. The psych profile is typically = (State Dept -bookishness +appetite for risk +a small helping of military ethic). But at base, they are still civil servants and when I write "appetite for risk" the psych profile also aims to weed out reckless risk taking for obvious reasons.

At station chief level at his age he will be a high flier and certainly not some bonehead jock with no understanding of ethics or the subtleties of diplomacy. He's not a sergeant. The military terminology of "officer" is an appropriate comparison. This guy will rank at around Brigadier/Full Colonel level. Typically (in the UK at least) station chiefs will be the same rank as an ambassador in high strategic value, low commercial value countries like Algeria. They are also "declared", i.e. while they have a diplomatic title the host government does know what they are.

Put simply: this guy has had a massive meltdown. It's possible that the circumstances of his job have somehow led him to take huge risks in getting his sexual kicks, but I'd venture it's more symptomatic of a flat out meltdown akin to family values politicians occasionally who end up in bed with oranges in their mouths, leather belts round their nuts and a person half their age spraying whipped cream on them - some kind of pathological need to expose oneself to tremendous risk of professional destruction.

If I were to guess, I'd suspect that signs of this behaviour will have shown up somewhere before and had either felt to have been dealt with or deemed tolerable. Hence why the report mentions that investigators will go back to Egypt and see what he may have done there. I would bet there was already something in the file hinting at what might be. In which case, someone at Langley will be answering difficult questions about how they OK'd him into this role.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:17 AM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


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