-- The Director of the CIA today addressed recent allegations by a gay CIA contractor who said he was harassed while on a dangerous deployment by other CIA contractors and staff officers, saying his spy agency has “zero tolerance” for such behavior and indicating the agency is moving swiftly in response.
“We have a zero tolerance policy and whenever there is a situation where there is an allegation and that allegation is found to be well-founded, we take action immediately,” John Brennan told reporters at a meeting in New York about diversity within the CIA. “I think you can understand I can’t obviously address any particular case or allegations that may be working their way through a system.”
Before he left, though, Jones said he made copies of some evidence including a PowerPoint presentation that he said was shown to the men just before a dangerous mission – in which the slides had been altered to include extremely vulgar, sexual and racist language. He also copied what he said was a myriad of offensive images from an official CIA computer, including one that appeared to make a racist joke about President Obama.
The CIA did not dispute Jones’ account, but declined to comment on his specific allegations or acknowledge Jones' work with the agency. Today the agency declined to say if Brennan had seen the offensives images or slides.
Despite Brennan’s comments, the CIA has also repeatedly declined to tell ABC News exactly what the agency is doing in response. Jones said he’s been in contact with a CIA representative and is working with them on their investigation -- an investigation the CIA won't confirm is ongoing.
“As someone who came in at a time when individuals were prevented from joining the agency for sexual preference, we, I think, have been leading in some respects of the last two decades,” Brennan said, citing the work done by the CIA’s internal LGBT support organization, the Agency Network of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Employees (ANGLE). “That’s not saying that as a large organization that’s a microcosm of U.S. society that there’s still not places where we need to work on it. But the track record is strong there.”
In his interview with ABC News, Jones agreed and said that the CIA hired him back in the early 2000s well aware that he was gay. Jones praised the organization and said that beyond some fairly common low-level incidents, he’s never had a major problem with harassment, until this latest deployment.
Still, Jones said the whole point of him coming forward was to make sure there is a “change within the organization... to where these kids that are coming through training and going into their prospective careers can go in there knowing that they’re not going to have to deal with stuff like that.”
"I would like to see them be proactive in eliminating negative sub-cultures in all branches of the service," he said.