CIA official's rape case headed to June trial
Criminal cases involving CIA officers are commonly settled quietly out of court, for the obvious reason that the spy agency doesn’t want windows opened into its secret business, much less the capers of its bad actors.
The Justice Department and Warren’s Florida-based attorney, Mark David Hunter, confirmed independently that the erstwhile covert operator is heading for a Washington trial, scheduled now for sometime in June. Hunter otherwise declined to comment.
CIA officials managed to keep the Warren problem under wraps for three months after learning of two women's complaints, infuriating leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee when they heard about it in news reports. Six weeks week later, in March 2009, the spy agency fired Warren, now 42, an Arabic-speaker who had reportedly also served in Afghanistan, Egypt and New York and who was once tabbed as a rising star.
According to the affidavits of State Department investigators, Warren initially told his CIA boss that he was “surprised” to learn that two Algerian women had complained of rape after they had been incapacitated by apple martinis at his U.S. government-supplied house.
Each described similar incidents of waking up undressed on his bed and discovering they had been sexually assaulted, investigators said. At parties beforehand, Warren had videotaped and taken pictures of them with his cell phone, they told investigators. Xanax and Valium were found in his home.
Summoned back to Washington from North Africa in October 2008, Warren met with his CIA boss, identified only as "Mr. X" in the government’s motion.
“According to Mr. X, when Warren arrived, he was dressed in a business suit and appeared to be at ease. Once Warren sat down in his office, Mr. X explained to Warren that two women alleged that he had sexually assaulted them in Algeria,” the motion states. “Mr. X testified that Warren appeared to be surprised. Mr. X told Warren that he should take care of this and talk to the Security Officer.”
But when he stepped out of Mr. X’s office, he was met by Special Agent Scott Banker of the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.
Banker told Warren he wanted to hear “his side of the story,” according to the government motion, because, “with these type of offenses, there are always two sides to every story, and that I would really like [Warren] to give me the opportunity to ask some questions so I could get [Warren’s] side of the story so that I could go out and begin to attempt to find some evidence that would corroborate his version of what happened.”
“Warren then agreed to be interviewed, and proceeded to provide an exculpatory statement wherein he stated that although he did have sex with both women, the sex was consensual,” the motion adds.
“Mr. Warren further described, in detail, the circumstances surrounding each encounter with each victim including their respective extreme alcohol use and that in both instances, the woman made advances toward Mr. Warren and explicitly asked for sex from him,” the motion states.
The motion then switches into high gear, recounting how DSS Agent Banker asked the CIA man about the whereabouts of his laptop. (One of the women had said Warren had text-messaged an apology to her.)
When Warren tells Banker the laptop is in his room at the Washington Hilton, agents are sent racing to find it.
“He lied,” Banker swore. “In fact, the laptop was not in the hotel room, but was with Warren the entire time,” the motion says. “Banker immediately posted agents at the hotel, to prevent the defendant from returning to his hotel room and destroying evidence on the laptop.”
When Warren returned to the hotel after his interview with Banker, the agents intercepted him. “Warren reached into his shoulder bag and produced his laptop, before stepping foot into his hotel room,” the motion says.
According to the motion, “child pornographic images” were discovered on Warren's computer.
Warren’s lawyer moved to suppress all such evidence, including Warren’s statements to Banker, on grounds that it was improperly obtained.
A ruling is expected within the next several weeks.
According to a Carnegie Endowment study last year, Algeria "has established a strong knowledge of Islamic terrorist networks worldwide and has shared the information with U.S. security and intelligence agencies."
Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.
| March 23, 2010; 11:20 AM ET
Categories: Intelligence | Tags: Algeria, Algiers, Andrew Warren, CIA, Department of Justice, Diplomatic Security Service, Jackie Collins, Mark David Hunter, Scott Banker
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