Spying…and raping?!?

This has to be the most bizarre diplomatic crisis ever. A CIA station chief in Algeria is being investigated for drugging and raping Algerian women. According to news reports, he even made video recordings of the beastly affairs.

Observers are worrying this will reinforce the "Ugly American" image, but there's one yet more surreal detail that might complicate the discussion a bit. According to news reports, the guy's a convert to Islam, though presumably not a terribly practicing one given his alleged M.O. of serving alcoholic drinks spiked with "Rufy"-type drugs to women at his parties.

So much for him being a bridge between cultures. [You know the Firm will be sending a Mormon next time around!*]

ABC News: Exclusive: CIA Station Chief in Algeria Accused of Rapes

The CIA's station chief at its sensitive post in Algeria is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for allegedly raping at least two Muslim women who claim he laced their drinks with a knock-out drug, U.S. law enforcement sources tell ABC News.

Western men on the prowl in developing countries with money and prestigious jobs don't exactly have a lot of trouble getting dates. And if they're too impatient for such inconvenient formalities, buying sex is easy and (by American standards) quite cheap, thanks to global poverty.

Why in the world  would someone in such a position resort to such shockingly predatory  behavior? If the allegations are true, there must be some serious mental problems at work, as this is beyond irrational and self-destructive.

To say that life is stranger than fiction seems a heck of an understatement.

* I'm referring to how overrepresented Mormons are in US intelligence agencies due to the mix of upbringing (clean cut, patriotic, conservative) and life experience (missionary work, often abroad). Take the politico-cultural profile of a guy who grew up on a corn field in "Real America" and add a few years of international experience and perhaps even foreign language competence that most guys who grew up on corn fields by definition lack–namely significant experience interacting with people from other cultures–and you can see why these agencies are keen about these young men.  Many of the advantages of a Peace Corps type without the (to the Man) inconvenient leftist politics or tiersmondiste leanings. [No offense intended to Mormons--I'm obviously generalizing.]

Update (2009-02-03):

Since there are a lot of conspiracy theories about Mormons circulating, especially among American evangelicals, I should note that I'm not endorsing any theories of Mormon cabals (though the LDS Church clearly wields a lot of influence, as proponents of gay marriage–which the Mormon Church adamantly opposes–have discovered across the country).

The reasons for Mormons' relatively greater representation in intelligence and law enforcement are no more the result of a sinister conspiracy than the fact that a higher percentage of  American Jews are lawyers is. Or the higher high percentage of Arab Americans being shop keepers. It's an unsuprising result of demographics trends, socio-cultural circumstances and the values that are transmitted from generation to generation.

Having said that, it's hard to find MSM sources online that discuss this–I suspect that his is more the result of MSM caution about fanning anti-LDS prejudices–so the following quotes from sites whose professionalism I cannot vouch for are merely intended to illustrate the prevalence of this perception.

From a published review of a book by a critic of Mormonism:

Focusing on the highly visible Mormons, Shupe, a professor of sociology and anthropology at Indiana/Purdue universities, observes no lack of moral difficulties among this religious minority; indeed, he argues, their old-fashioned values place the Mormons at special risk within the American mainstream. Citing loyalty to the "Mormon Mafia" as the "dark side" of patriotism, and detailing the Latter-day Saints' disturbing involvement with the U.S. intelligence community, Shupe draws a startling picture of Mormon influence, including preferential treatment of LDS agents in the FBI and the Church's supposed culpability in the Challenger explosion, a case of white-collar crime. His controversial, negative view of the Latter-day Saints is not altogether credible.

Interesting observations in a book review on an atheist website:

Politically, the church has been conservative. Mormon leaders have served in important government posts. The late billionaire recluse Howard Hughes surrounded himself with a Mormon security squad, thinking that they were "incorruptible," and placed Mormons in administrative positions throughout his business empire — including gambling casinos. Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had an "affinity" for Mormon agents according to
biographers. A disproportionately high number of Mormons in the ranks of the Central Intelligence Agency has been noted as well. (Some contend that Mormon agents in the field do not function well in the fleshpots and back alleys of foreign countries where much intelligence and blackmail material is gathered.)

     The Mormon church is "establishment," with a strong streak of conservatism.  The church opposes homosexuality, abortion, and courts the political conservatives of the
Republican party.

From an article on George Bush, Jr.'s  alleged ties to the Mormon Church in a (seemingly credible) New Zealand newsite:

After all, it is widely known that Mormons have had a disproportionate representation in the CIA and FBI through the years, and that J. Edgar Hoover started the FBI with Mormon agents. They also have a disproportionate representation in the US Congress – five Mormon senators and 12 representatives – partly because of the concentration of Mormons in the Western US.

I did uncover one MSM discussion (and in none other than Salt Lake City's Deseret Times, of all things) that seems to document the point about Mormons being sought after within the intelligence community.

Concerning Brigham Young University in Idaho–the heartland of Mormonism in America–the article observes:

 "To go to one place and see so many people with that much language skill is unusual," said Mike Turner, a special-agent recruiter for the Drug Enforcement Agency. "It's a huge place for us to be. Students at other universities just don't seem to have the same interest in the position of special agent or the fluency in another language or languages."

It helps that many of BYU's students are former LDS missionaries who served overseas, but the level of proficiency necessary to be a U.N. translator or CIA analyst is beyond the capabilities of returned missionaries.

Thus ends the most irrelevant tangent yet.

  • Jim

    Hey Svend,
    Do you have a citation on the overrepresentation of Mormons in intelligence agencies? That’s an interesting point and I’m just wondering where you heard it.
    Thanks!

  • http://akramsrazor.typepad.com svend

    Great to hear from you, Jim. I’m flattered you still keep up given how remiss I perennially am in my blogging.
    Please see the postscript I just added.
    This is a claim I’ve heard repeatedly living in Washington DC, and for whatever it’s worth a Mormon neighbor in Georgia confirmed it when I asked.
    This is neither here nor there, but BYU is doing some really wonderful and important work in the field of translating classic Islamic texts from Arabic and Persian.
    http://www.aataweb.org/Default.aspx?pageID=20
    http://magazine.byu.edu/g/?act=view&a=126

  • http://profile.typepad.com/gatto_omar OmarG

    Interesting; I can’t say I ever personally encountered a Mormon in the intelligence community. But, then again those of us in uniform tended not to interact with the dufusses in the Agency…


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