CIA to Change How it Handles Sexual Assault and Harassment Allegations

May 12, 2023

The Central Intelligence Agency has announced several measures to address internal allegations of sexual assault and harassment.

The move comes in the wake of the CIA’s inspector general opening an investigation into assertions that the agency has “grossly mishandled” such claims.

The CIA announced on Thursday the hiring of Taleeta Jackson, a psychologist who most recently oversaw the U.S. Navy’s sexual assault prevention program, to lead the agency’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. 

“I am pleased that Dr. Jackson has joined our team and will bring her extensive experience to this crucial new role,” CIA Director William Burns said in a statement. “I have personally met with several affected officers to hear their concerns and solicit their feedback on ways we can improve as an Agency. I have heard these concerns loud and clear, and Dr. Jackson’s appointment is just one of several steps we are taking to address them.”

In April, bipartisan leaders in the Senate and House Intelligence Committees opened up their own investigations into complaints brought by CIA employees regarding its alleged mishandling of cases.

“Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace,” Senate Intelligence Chair Mark Warner (D-VA) said. 

In a joint statement, House Intelligence Chair Mike Turner (R-OH) and ranking member Jim Himes (D-CT) further said, “Sexual assault and sexual harassment have no place in the Intelligence Community. We must protect our men and women bravely serving our country and punish the individuals who commit assaults.”

The Representatives went on to say, “We appreciate the CIA’s willingness to work with the House Intelligence Committee and their commitment to implementing meaningful changes within the agency that address this serious matter.”

Kevin Carroll, an attorney representing the first female officer to approach Congress, called the CIA’s reforms “an excellent first step.”

“More reforms are coming,” CIA Director Burns vowed. “We must get this right.”

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