May 11, 2023 - The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency announced that it would overhaul its process for handling sexual assault and harassment complaints in its workforce, responding to allegations by Kevin Carroll’s pro bono client, the first of over 60 women to come forward.

As part of its overhaul, the CIA has appointed psychologist Taleeta Jackson as the new director for the office that oversees sexual assault complaints, and plans to form an internal task force to seek advice from outside experts. By the end of May, the agency issued new guidance on reporting sexual assault episodes, with the goal of making it easier to report misconduct internally or to outside law enforcement.

Carroll told NBC that the CIA announcement is a “a great first step" and praised the agency for appointing Jackson, but also said it will need to resolve how to manage future criminal cases in order to ensure justice for victims while safeguarding national security secrets. “It's not something [the] CIA, which is not a law enforcement agency, can handle on its own,” he said.

The investigation began in January, when the firm’s client, a CIA employee, approached the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the U.S. House of Representatives, saying that the agency had not punished a male colleague who assaulted her. She went on to say she reported the attack to numerous offices at the CIA to no avail, and was warned that moving forward with the allegation would end her career at the Agency. She added that CIA officials repeatedly failed to facilitate meetings with law enforcement, told her they would no longer protect her from the alleged assailant if she reported the incident and stressed the need for her to make false statements.

The client was also told that she could be sued for defamation by her assailant if she continued to complain, and was threatened with unspecified “consequences” for speaking to Congress.

In April, Carroll, who was once a CIA case officer, told Politico that the agency had been making it difficult for alleged victims to speak to law enforcement. “This is the CIA’s Me Too moment,” he said at the time.

In response to HHR’s client, the CIA claimed that it refers allegations of criminal sexual misconduct to law enforcement, which in some cases declines to prosecute, leading the CIA to take “appropriate action.” The agency also admitted that it needs to make changes and improvements to its reporting process, which many have criticized as difficult to navigate.

The allegations are among several against the CIA to become public over the last 15 years. In 2009, former Algeria station chief Andrew Warren pled guilty to assault and served five years in prison, and in 2021 former CIA officer Brian Jeffrey Raymond pled guilty to several federal charges, including sexual abuse.

In addition to NBC and Politico, The New York Times and CNN covered the case. The latter reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee, mere hours after speaking to the firm’s client, called on the CIA Inspector General to initiate an immediate investigation into the mishandling of these cases.