When wayward contract employees at the CIA began pilfering snacks from vending machines back in 2013, the Office of the Inspector General sprang into action. Surveillance cameras went up, the culprits were nabbed, and all lost their jobs.
From start to finish, the case of the $3,314.40 in stolen snacks lasted two months.
When more serious allegations of wrongdoing arise at the CIA, though, inspectors may be far less speedy, especially when their findings could embarrass the Langley, Va., spy agency.
In one notable case, that of John Reidy, a contractor whose resume shows that he worked with spies deep inside Iran’s mullah-run regime, charges of wrongdoing have sat idle in the hands of CIA inspectors. Details of Reidy’s charges remain highly classified. The case is now seven years old, and seems only to gather dust.
Reidy, 46, anguishes over his charges, angry at the years-long delay in resolving his complaints but also wary of crossing a line and revealing anything classified beyond his allegations of a “catastrophic intelligence failure” overseas.
“I cannot talk about the 2007 incident. It is classified. I risk incarceration. I have a family,” Reidy wrote in an email before meeting with a reporter.
But in addition to his whistleblower case, Reidy presses a larger issue, one that is pertinent to the era of President Donald Trump and his persistent charges that sensitive leaks cripple his six-month-old administration. Leaks may grow worse if intelligence agencies don’t learn how to channel dissent and protect those who offer it in a constructive spirit.
“I played by the rules,” Reidy said. “They are broken. … The public has to realize that whistleblowers [like me] can follow all the rules and nothing gets done.” In frustration, Reidy last month sent a 90-page letter and documentation about his case to the chairman of the Senate’s powerful Judiciary Committee, lambasting its lack of resolution.
“They have enough time to look into who is stealing candy from a vending machine but they can’t look into billion-dollar contract fraud?” Reidy asked in an interview.
The CIA refused to comment on Reidy’s case.
“As a general matter, we do not comment on ongoing litigation,” said spokesperson Heather Fritz Horniak.