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CIA Director affirms ‘zero tolerance’ to homophobia amid allegations

Nick Duffy August 10, 2015
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The Director of the CIA has addressed allegations from a gay contractor who says he was subject to homophobic harassment.

Brett Jones, who served with the Navy SEALs and as a CIA contractor for 13 years, told ABC last month that he encountered a pattern of homophobia, racist and sexist behaviour from colleagues while serving in Afghanistan.

The contractor said that the problems grew so bad while working for the American agency that he invented a fake cover story in order to leave the country.

The former Navy SEAL, who says he feared for his life due to the intense harassment, added: “It’s my hope in some way that it makes a change within the organization and not just the GRS program within the CIA, but all special operations units.

“Like Navy SEALs or [Army] Rangers, or any of those, 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.”

The Director of the CIA, John Brennan, told ABC that the organisation had a “zero tolerance” approach to homophobia.

He said: ““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.

“I think you can understand I can’t obviously address any particular case or allegations that may be working their way through a system.”

“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

He cited the work of the CIA’s Agency Network of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Employees (ANGLE), adding: “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.”

The CIA declined to comment on any investigation into Brett Jones’ specific case.

Related topics: Anti-gay, CIA, harassment, Homophobia, LGBT, Navy SEAL, US

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