Former CIA Official Claims Agency Punished Whistleblowers

( – A female employee who stated she was sexually assaulted in a stairwell of the Central Intelligence Agency by a colleague and accused the CIA of dissuading her from filing a criminal complaint has been fired.

The woman accused her colleague, Ashkan Bayatpour, of wrapping a scarf around her neck and threatening her. Bayatpour was convicted last year in a Virginia court for misdemeanor assault and battery. She also filed a federal lawsuit alleging the CIA retaliated against her for reporting the assault. In the lawsuit, the woman alleged the CIA gave her negative performance reviews and shared personal information with the former colleague’s attorneys. The woman also testified before lawmakers about her experience during a closed-door congressional hearing.

According to her attorney Kevin Carroll, the woman’s firing is a clear example of “brazen retaliation.” Carroll stated the situation began when the woman failed the agency’s clandestine officer training program. He added that previously, employees could apply to other positions within the CIA if they failed the test. Though the woman applied for another job she was not selected and was dismissed.

According to the CIA, she failed the clandestine officer training program because of her poor writing skills. However, as her attorney, Carroll has corresponded with her for months, and he stated she is an excellent writer. He called it “alarming” that the CIA had reached a different conclusion and added that the woman has an accomplished academic record.

Since her allegations, over two dozen women have come forward stating they have also been assaulted by those in the agency, leading to an inquiry from the CIA Office of Inspector General. Carroll added that the woman’s firing was “to intimidate all the other women from coming forward.”

CIA spokesperson Tammy Thorp called Carroll’s statement “factually inaccurate,” adding that the CIA does not tolerate whistleblower retaliation, sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Former CIA officers weighed in on the matter, supporting the CIA, stating that being moved to another position is not guaranteed if you fail.

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