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CIA Taking Steps to Address Handling of Allegations of Sexual Assault and Harassment

May 11, 2023

For Immediate Release:  May 11, 2023

CIA Taking Steps to Address Handling of Allegations of Sexual Assault and Harassment

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William J. Burns announced today multiple new steps the Agency is taking to address CIA’s handling of sexual assault and harassment allegations, including with the appointment of Dr. Taleeta Jackson to lead CIA’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO).

Dr. Jackson will fill a critical role in improving the ways that the Agency processes and responds to sexual assault allegations. She brings more than 18 years of experience in victim advocacy, sexual assault response and prevention, and program development. Dr. Jackson is a psychologist who comes to us most recently from the US Navy where she oversaw the Navy’s Sexual Assault Prevention Program for more than 70 installations.

"I am pleased that Dr. Jackson has joined our team and will bring her extensive experience to this crucial new role. 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," said Director Burns.

CIA is taking additional steps to streamline its organizational structure and processes for addressing incidents of sexual assault or workplace harassment, including through the establishment of an internal task force. This task force will be informed and advised by a group of outside experts with critical expertise in this field. By the end of this month, CIA will also issue new, clear guidance on how to report incidents of sexual assault and harassment.

Director Burns and the senior leadership team remain committed to ensuring a healthy workplace defined by respect. "We have no higher priority than taking care of our people," said Director Burns, adding "we will continue to act quickly and systematically to address concerns, and to improve our approach to these critical issues. More reforms will be coming. We must get this right."