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February 2nd, 2009
02:28 PM ET

Drugs, sex and videotape?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/africa/01/28/cia.rape.allegations/art.cia.hq.afp.gi.jpg caption="Two Algerian women allege that the CIA's former Algeria station chief raped them at his home, a source says."]

Octavia Nasr
AC360° Contributor
CNN Arab Affairs Editor

Did a CIA official drug, rape and videotape two women in Algeria?

Rape in the Arab world carries a stigma that is rarely discussed. When two Algerian women came forward to allege that a CIA official drugged them and raped them the news was shocking to an entire region.

Algerian media were hesitant to report the story at first. It is unclear whether the sensitivity of the topic or lack of early information available to Algerian authorities and reporters kept them from reporting. Algeria’s press is very much like the rest of the Arab world. Mostly controlled by the government and doesn’t enjoy much independence. The two women carry double nationalities and their whereabouts are unknown to us. One is Algerian-Spanish and the other Algerian-German. They filed their complaint against the CIA official directly with the US embassy in Algiers without going through the Algerian authorities.

Over the weekend, newspapers published the photo of the official, named as Andrew Warren in a U.S. affidavit, along with editorials expressing unfriendly sentiments towards the US.

The French-language El-Wattan newspaper’s headline read, "Sex, rape and videotapes at the U.S. embassy in Algiers."

Eshourouk is Algeria's main Arabic-language newspaper. It blasted the U.S. in one editorial. Naela B. wrote, "Diplomacy of kidnapping, rape, terror and spying. This is not the best way to reward Algeria."

The U.S. chose the North African country as a strategic post in its war on terrorism. Since then, there have been more frequent and deadly militant attacks linked to al Qaeda. And radical Islamist propaganda has flourished.

A video from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb - a group based in Algeria - was released at the same time the story was unfolding. In it, militants vow to carry on attacks until “all French and Americans leave Algeria.”

An editorial in El-Watan warns that this scandal is likely to undermine U.S. efforts to bridge the gap with the Muslim world. Samy Ousi-Ali writes, "Warren's misconduct could have a disastrous impact on America's image at a time when the new U.S. president is trying to re-start its relations with Muslim countries."

Meanwhile, Ennahar newspaper reports that Warren speaks fluent Arabic and can read the Quran. The newspaper also says that as a convert to Islam, Warren used to pray at one of the mosques known as a recruiting ground for al Qaeda.

For now, it's hard to discern speculations from facts. Warren has not been charged with any crime; the only official account of the case comes in an affidavit released by the U.S. Justice Department. And the investigation is ongoing.

soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Baher Ibrahim

    CNN must investigate this matter to the fullest extent and Warren must be brought to justice if in fact he did commit this crime – and why not? Sadly America has gained a reputation for this foul behavior. Remember Abu Ghraib?

    February 3, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  2. Andrew M, Australia

    I think if this case does come out to be a issue with a CIA agent this will end up just like the case of the German man who was taken by the CIA. Of course it was done wrongly and the man was also the wrong man. But even with all the evidence at hand like copies of passports (of the CIA agents) and so on, America will (even if Obama is trying) will still have it's bully boy status, it's alot of work to turn around the Bush legacy. I watched a documentary where they followed a EU investigation into the dissappearence of the man from Germany and all they got from the American government were threats and "No comments".

    Which comes to this issue with the two women, If the EU, a "close friend" of the United States, gets bullied how do countries like Algeria and others who make deals for support and money stand a chance to get any real justice???

    America seems to enjoy the vanishing government agent/employee/diplomat act when things go wrong.

    Andrew

    February 3, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  3. Roberto

    Rape is a common crime commited by US military personell in US military bases all around the world, e.g. in Okinawa, Japan, to teenage girls. A country is known by its representatives abroad.
    Besides, what do they mean by "the investigation is ongoing".

    February 3, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  4. Leith NZ

    Dear Fellow Readers,

    I'm amazed that some of you are able to navigate to this site read and article and even post some responses.
    For those readers that take this "speculation" and use it to call this man a jerk or condemn his actions it is a great feat that you have accomplished by making it here, I will be even more surprised if your able to understand me because that just isnt going to happen..
    For instance if I advise you that 72.34% of CNN readers interfere with children does that make it a bonified fact? Nothing has been proven this man has not been convicted no evidence has been produced and this can be considered a "possibility" at most until it is otherwise proven.

    Think before you flame people...

    Also to other readers that have offered constructive ideas to this article this is in no way directed to you. I just think its laughable that just because there has been a report of it more than half the people reading the article believe it is fact and condemn this man to hell (or what ever they believe)

    February 3, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  5. 2Gud2betrue

    This is too good to be true. I suspect that this is more propaganda by Al Qaeda supporters to undermine the US influence in Algeria. BTW, if they women were drugged how did they know they were being taped? Why would any CIA Chief fully disclose what he was doing–sounds like his cover was blown and now a chance to discredit American presence in Algeria and reduce the host government support. To think that this story is truthful as stated......you believers have to be smoking something.......

    February 3, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  6. EX

    I am not trying to diminish this charge if true.
    I just think that this could also be a setup,
    it also may have been consentual, later to be reported as a rape
    for religious and familial reasons
    With the weight of the political ramifications involved
    and diplomatic channels that will wither over this.

    I think I will wait for the trial and look at all of the evidence
    before making my opinion known!

    February 3, 2009 at 8:24 am |
  7. Basma

    if it is true then i understand why the women waited long to tell the story to the public, it is because they consider what happened to them as a shame or a scandal that should be hidden...also sometimes under the effect shock people don't act wisely.

    February 3, 2009 at 7:17 am |
  8. Philip Morris

    From what I am reading here , this man is found guilty aready for your readers. If the allegations are proven, I hope he sits for a long time because rape is a ruthless crime. But please wait for the evidence, its not unknown for women to accuse men of this crime, it does ruin a mans life. You must also take into account where this crime allegedly took place ,they are not to friendy with the US.

    February 3, 2009 at 7:10 am |
  9. Daniel M

    Sad how many people on this thread are jumping to conclusions when all we have are allegations.

    If the allegations are true, I hope Warren receives the punishment he deserves.

    If they are false, I hope that the media (US and Algerian) follows up on this story with the same coverage to ensure blame and innocence is as publicised.

    February 3, 2009 at 7:06 am |
  10. Sandy

    Victor, are you a dumb ass or worse? I bet you are just like most of other dumb americans (just like your former president). You cannot even understand the news written in your own language.

    "Rape in the Arab world carries a stigma that is rarely discussed"

    If you are not so narrow minded, you will know that in many countries raped women will be seen and treated like garbage. So most of them choose not to come forward.

    February 3, 2009 at 6:52 am |
  11. Djibril, Paris

    The majority of these comments assume the allegations are true, yet the story provides no information about evidence of the crime beyond the accusations of the alleged victims. There is no mention of a recovered videotape, no mention of a doctor's report being conducted. What shoddy journalism is this? I would expect it of the government controlled media in Algeria, since the Algerian government can use the public uproar from this "story" to pressure the U.S. government for concessions in their on-going collaborations. But why does CNN run a story without like this without any being told that basic evidence to support the allegations has been recovered? This practice utterly opens pandora's box!

    February 3, 2009 at 6:34 am |
  12. Jan Doernte

    The al-quida allied group in Algeria the article names could have paid these two women to fabricate these claims. A clever piece of pyschological warfare propaganda, using the taboo of rape in the Muslim world.

    I would be very cautious about pointing the finger at anyone regarding these allegations until the facts are established.

    February 3, 2009 at 6:08 am |
  13. Jim Hall

    As a necessarily clandestine operation the CIA is the subject of endless conspiracy theories that spill over into popular fiction,e.g., The X Files. "Dirty Tricks" departments must accept that they will be just as open to attempts to discredit themm whatever their nationality.

    February 3, 2009 at 5:18 am |
  14. Issam K

    Martin, you are generally right. However please bear in mind that such a felony, if the charges prove true, are from an American official, working in the capacity of CIA station chief. It would be practically impossible for Algerian media not to portray it as "typical institutional" especially at a time the Arab world still has the Abu Ghreib scandal fresh in its memory.

    I ask you a rhetorical question: if the Algerian president raped an American woman, would you call him a rapist or would you call Algeria a rapist nation?

    February 3, 2009 at 4:51 am |
  15. urch

    I feel that this is a Hoax. Who envited the ladies to his house, how did they get the tape and why waiting for so long before reporting. Questions should be asked to avoid mistakes. He is innocent

    February 3, 2009 at 4:37 am |
  16. Kevin

    I am an American living in the Middle East and I frequently attend Western Embassy parties. I am sure this is how Warren met these women. I'm not surprised that casual, coercive or even forcible sex occurs. I am shocked, however, that the CIA station chief would be the perpetrator and that he would record it. If it is true he should be hung. That the Greatest Nation That Ever Lived might allow this man to get away alive with this betrayal to our ideals, our security, and our image should shock our national conscious.

    February 3, 2009 at 3:41 am |
  17. Leslie

    I am an American woman, and I have lived in the Middle East for over 10 years now. First, I can understand where these women waited and went to the American authorities. The rights of women, especially when it comes towards legal protection, is not the same. Most likely, the case would have been dropped by the local police station. Local police/government would not want to make it a bigger issue with the US Government; this of course contradicts the sentiments by Al-Qaeda North Africa and probably most of the Algerian people.

    Secondly, rape is a very serious crime, and even in America, we must remember that some women hide previous rapes for months, years, lifetimes before/if they go see the authorities. Therefore, we should not view the woman's hesitation as a hoax.

    I agree that the Algerian media cannot portray this story as a commonality between all Americans. From my experience, here is the general perception of American and European women based on reality with a high dose of social phantasam. American and European women are perceived as coming to the Middle East, especially on vacations, in order to enjoy the scenes and have sexual experiences. I have met Western women in the airports with Moroccan and Egyptian men that they met on their 2-week tour of the country. This, more than the politics of Bush and the previous administrations behavior, contribute to the perception of Western women.

    As a society, when we travel, we have to remember that we are a guest, a guest in someone else's home. We should be respectful of their customs and views, otherwise DON'T GO. If you do go, keep your legs closed; sex and sexuality in the Middle East is similar to how we view violence in our society.

    February 3, 2009 at 3:30 am |
  18. Alaink

    I read in an other article about the case that the CIA found other tapes at WArren's place, recording rapes he allegedly committed while in Egypt.
    No tape of the Algerian women have been found yet.
    Any way I find many reactions in this forum despicable: either condescending toward "indegeneous" women, or quick to blame the women for on the rape.

    The US should not only change its head, but what inside it too....

    February 3, 2009 at 3:29 am |
  19. Brenda U.

    This constitutes the worst of human rights offences being perpetuated by the same people who are condenming African countries for brutalising their citizens. What does this guy take women to be? Dogs? How long are we going to keep quiet and let these hooligans get away with filrth. The abuse of prisoners of Iraq was just not enough for American officials and now two Algerian women? Why on earth would he videotape it? To bring shame and hurt to them? Justice needs to be done this time. It does not matter what country one is from, he should not have the liberty to do anything he likes to any one.

    February 3, 2009 at 3:21 am |
  20. Eta

    We will never know the truth until the case is taken to court, and above all the tapes are shown.

    February 3, 2009 at 3:01 am |
  21. Pat M

    Has anyone ever heard of innocent until proven guilty? Everyone here has this guy AND America blindfolded and smoking the ritual last cigarette already. Not one shred of evidence has been provided other than a statement by two women who cannot be found. And before everyone jumps to conclusions on the CIA having taken them out, remember, these women went to the US embassy to file the complaint. If the CIA or any American agency was going to cover it up by taking these women out, they would have buried the documents as if they never existed.

    That being said, if this guy is found to be guilty, he should be dealt with to the full extent of the law. IF he is guilty, they should take into account during his sentencing, that he was an American citizen/agent operating in another country and that his behavior needs to be above that of what could be normally be considered "standard".

    February 3, 2009 at 2:48 am |
  22. ben

    First of all i would like to take this opportunity correct Mr Nasr. Unlike "all arab countries" the Algerian press is quite independent and almost never stops criticizing the government. Of course like "all countries with free press" (actually if you really believe that the press is free in western countries you are quite naive, censorship in the west is more intricate to notice..... lobbies in the US have a non negligent influence on what is shown or written in the news and that is a fact) so yes in Algeria we have pro and anti government news papers that do enjoy FREEDOM of press. So Mr Nasr before writing something false and try to perpetuate this so called stereotype on arab countries please contact your Algerian counter parts and ask them or simply take the time to go online and read Algerian news papers. The government is indeed criticized daily depending on the news paper. Now regarding this incident, I believe that there is more into it and in all fairness treat him as innocent until proven guilty. Rape is the most horrible crime that one can do to a women. However, it is the easiest crime a women can use to put an honest innocent man behind bars keep that in mind.

    February 3, 2009 at 1:47 am |
  23. Markus Kemp

    How about you guys wait until he's actually proven GUILTY before you judge and berate him?

    February 3, 2009 at 1:39 am |
  24. Allen

    This, to my mind, could be a very private matter made public. Its my feeling that something may have gone sour in ´their´ affair. Private life should clearly be separated from official duty. I have my doubt in this kind of allegations.

    February 3, 2009 at 1:24 am |
  25. Martin G., Switzerland

    If true,this constitutes the wrondoing of an individual. Algerian media should overcome the temptation to portray this as typical behaviour of American institutions (intelligence agencies). It is much easier to vilify foreigners than to look into taboos that are rampant in Northern Africa and much of the Musllim world – Ttboos that amount to blaming, shaming and even punishing women for beeing rape victims.
    Regards,
    Martin G.

    February 3, 2009 at 12:46 am |
  26. Salman Chand John

    This guy takes 2 women at 'HIS' place drug them and rape them and video tape them, and then he lets the females just get out and go public on this, I mean for crying out loud, this cleary shows that either this guy is not in CIA or is too dumb to handle such things, or the females are way to smart for CIA.....

    After reading the 'STORY' it cleary states that this person is being just dragged in to this to spoil the already 'not so good' image of U.S.

    February 3, 2009 at 12:42 am |
  27. John

    Well, this is how CIA operates in the third world countries. Doesn't it? Unfortunately very little comes above the surface. US/CIA treats them like animals and do whatever they wish to do.

    Ironic ....... if US is called the most civilised country.

    February 3, 2009 at 12:09 am |
  28. Lorraine

    Bad way to represent the USA....
    I feel really bad for the two women; we can't begin to know all these women will have to yet experience, because of a jerk!

    February 2, 2009 at 11:49 pm |
  29. Bruce James

    This is a painful reminder of the Bush days in office. When a government is corrupt just as the Bush administration was, all sorts of things happens like the Abu ghraib scandal, fraudulent contract award, torture, wiretapping etc. All these are signs that the Administration of George Bush was asleep at the wheel. And the only hall of fame that is willing to induct the administration is the JUNK HALL OF FAME based Crawford, Texas.

    February 2, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  30. bong

    He should go to trial in Algeria. Thats not fair He is using his power and advantage !!!!

    February 2, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  31. Bruce James

    This is a painful reminder of the Bush days in office. When a government is corrupt just as the Bush administration is, all sorts of things happens like the Abu ghraib scandal, fraudulent contract award, torture, wiretapping etc. All these are signs that the Administration of George Bush is asleep at the wheel. And the only hall of fame that is willing to induct the administration is the JUNK HALL OF FAME based Crawford, Texas.

    February 2, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  32. Doc

    I have the impression that Mr Warren's islamic faith somewhat diminishes the severity of his misconduct; at least in the eyes of the indegeonous populace...

    February 2, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  33. alex

    For me, I want [Warren] him to be punished, for he did what is immoral to the women.

    February 2, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  34. victor

    Why did the women have to wait all this while to say it. If he really raped and taped it against their wish they could have could the Police right away.

    Infact, the definition of rape shd be clearly defined to avoid women frm just abusing that word. U were absolutely enjoying the whole deal, he films it and u know but wait until now to say u were druged,raped and taped-if he did that at all. Women are abusing this word and shpuld be very shameful of that. If u didn't want to ve sex with him u simply had no business going to his residence what so ever and after several days of that 30min u enjoyed all alone by urselves u now come to disturb the public with ur sexual ordeal.

    ladies, wake up. be real. this is becoming too much. u don't seduce star,rich man, or any man in authority, sex him good enough.Both parties enjoy and then u come to disturb the public with stupid issues like this. U better sit home and don't follow any man to his room only to come out to complain. the bed room is not a business room..

    February 2, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
  35. milla

    Rape?recorded?CIA? were are the women? they made their allegations and varnished and the people are not suspecting a foul play.why?this may be another hoax.just wait and see.the truth will surface soon and the officer will be free.i strongly suspect that the reverse happened(the women drugged,raped and recorded the officer).this may be a planned skandal.think,think and pls think.

    February 2, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  36. Cliff

    america, what have you done?

    February 2, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  37. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    This is somewhat a bazar story. Usually the CIA is more discrete and secretive in their operations and avoidance of the public. It is very easy to charge anyone with a crime--it is done everyday--the meat and potatoes of the allegations will be to prove it--not that I condone any of these actions. This doesn't fit the CIA profile-and if it did--they are going to deny it anyway.

    February 2, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  38. Cindy

    If Warren did rape these women and tape it then he needs to be punished to the fullest extent! This is all we need right now is for people not to trust us.

    I'm just wondering where these tapes are that he made? Have they been found and if so will the U.S. even acknowledge that they exist or will they try to hide them?

    Cindy...Ga.

    February 2, 2009 at 2:46 pm |