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May 25, 2010

Ex-CIA officer claims he was caught in an Algerian honey trap

Andrew Warren is the ex-CIA officer accused of drugging and raping an Algerian woman. His defense is as provocative as the allegations themselves. Warren says he was set up in a honey trap, in which hostile intelligence services use sexual lures to compromise their targets. Think Mata Hari, or From Russia With Love.

A new ruling spells out Warren's argument. As he prepares for a June trial, Warren sought to depose three witnesses who would buttress his case. One of the potential witnesses, identified as Witness C, would, according to the new ruling:

"testify that she personally knew Algerian women who acted as 'honey traps' to manipulate American officials."

The other two potential witnesses, identified as A and B, were foreign nationals who would allegedly testify that Warren:

"suspected that the Algerian government had attempted to use a female agent against him."

Warren further asserted that the three potential witnesses couldn't show up for the actual trial; in two of the cases, because of their positions with foreign governments. This week, U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle acknowledged that "evidence regarding the use of honey traps...is arguably relevant to Warren's defense," but she added that there was no evidence the potential witnesses had first-hand information in the case.

Judge Huvelle added that Witness C's belief that Warren might have been sexually targeted by Algerian agents was likewise potentially relevant, but the judge said there no evidence C had first-hand information to support her belief. So the witnesses will not be deposed, and Warren's defense just got harder.

Prosecutors, for their part, want to introduce as evidence what they call other examples of Warren's bad acts, including this alleged event at the U.S. Embassy in Algeria in September 2007:

"The defendant provided Person B with alcoholic drinks. After consuming the drinks, Person B became violently ill. Person B was then assisted by a female friend to a nearby spare bedroom....Person B then passed into unconsciousness."

"The next morning, Person B woke up in the downstairs bedroom and felt irritation in her genital area that lead her to believe that someone had sexual intercourse with her during the night. However, due to her physical condition and sickness the night before, Person B had no recollection of anything that happened the previous night after she became violently ill. During the night, sometime after her female friend put Person B in bed, someone entered the spare bedroom, removed Person B’s bra and underwear while she was unconscious, and left what appeared to be a used condom on the floor next to the bed. The defendant made a statement admitting that he had sexual intercourse with Person B, but the defendant asserts that it was consensual sex."


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"Suits & Sentences" is a legal affairs blog written by Michael Doyle, a reporter for McClatchy's Washington Bureau. He was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Yale Law School, where he earned a Master of Studies in Law; he also earned a Masters in Government from The Johns Hopkins University with a thesis on the Freedom of Information Act. He teaches journalism as an adjunct instructor at The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs.

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