The CIA's station chief at its sensitive post in Algeria is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for allegedly raping at least two Muslim women who claim he laced their drinks with a knock-out drug, U.S. law enforcement sources tell ABC News.
Officials say the 41-year old CIA officer, a convert to Islam, was ordered home by the U.S. Ambassador, David Pearce, in October after the women came forward with their rape allegations in September.
The discovery of more than a dozen videotapes showing the CIA officer engaged in sex acts with other women has led the Justice Department to broaden its investigation to include at least one other Arab country, Egypt, where the CIA officer had been posted earlier in his career, according to law enforcement officials.
The U.S. State Department referred questions to the Department of Justice, which declined to comment.
"It has the potential to be quite explosive if it's not handled well by the United States government," said Isobel Coleman, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who specializes in women's issues in the Middle East.
If the Ambassador found cause to send him home, I have to assume the allegations against the station chief aren't frivolous.
This is so wrong on so many levels, not least of which is the counterintelligence one.
Here's a detail that really struck me:
One of the alleged victims reportedly said she met the CIA officer at a bar in the U.S. embassy and then was taken to his official station chief residence where she said the sexual assault took place.
Embassy bar and embassy residence? Let's just say that the U.S. embassy community members in Algiers live in very close proximity to each other. The station chief couldn't have expected that to go unnoticed. Did he think he could explain it away as operational activity?
Update: ABC News has now posted the Affidavit in Support of a Search Warrant for the station chief's laptop computer.
Tidbit: He's the author of a 2002 novel, The People of the Veil, described by Amazon.com as follows:
In the midst of a bloody civil war in Algeria, and left in charge of the American Embassy in Algiers, Consul, Nick Phillips, is forced to make a decision that will have far reaching ramifications. An Islamic revolution is in the process of taking place and based upon information from his friend Sami, an Algerian detective, Nick fears the imminent attack by terrorists on the US Embassy with the goal of killing all Americans. Because of the deteriorating security situation, Nick orders an evacuation of the embassy. Nick goes head to head with Abu Fahad, leader of a violent Islamic terrorist cell, who has already killed the Prime Minister and several senior Algerian leaders, including Nick?s girlfriend?s family. In a race with the ultimate consequences, Nick, Sami, and his girlfriend must escape from terrorists who will stop at nothing to kill them and every other American in Algeria.
The following reader comment was added this evening to the Amazon page on The People of the Veil:
I haven't read it, but I am curious if the brave and so honorable protagonist uses Xanax and Valium to subdue and interrogate ruthless female enemy agents posing as nice, modest women while in Algeria?
If not in this book, perhaps in the sequel, which I understand a CIA operative with embassy cover manages to terribly harm the US reputation, feed Al Qaeda's hate machine, and endanger the lives of countless Americans in the Middle East -- all while having sworn to defend our country? That would be a great story!
A biography of Warren on his publisher's website has these details:
Andrew M. Warren grew up in Chesapeake, Virginia. An expert in Middle Eastern affairs, Mr. Warren served as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. State Department (1997-2001); during his tenure, he spent two years in Kuwait at the American Embassy in addition to traveling extensively throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Prior to his service at the State Department, he worked with the National Security Agency. Mr. Warren obtained a Masters Degree in Middle East History and Arabic from Indiana University; and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Norfolk State University.
Mr. Warren's career in the Foreign Service, and now as an author, has allowed him to fulfill his lifelong dream of combining his myriad of experiences and his love of writing into one career. Mr. Warren injects a cultural, intellectual, psychological realism into his writing that could only have come about by his many years of living and working abroad. He currently resides in New York City.
Prior to his service at the State Department, he worked with the National Security Agency???