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The Spy Who Cracked Up in the Cold

Page 3 of 5

In June 2003, Warren returned to New York for another stint with the terrorism task force. Ken Beeth, a 21-year CIA officer, was impressed: "Andrew had abundant qualities: formidable intelligence and work ethic, confidence, tireless dedication to the mission, a willingness to break china when necessary." These qualities worked wonders in a war zone but were less suited to navigating office politics back home. "An officer like this also creates antagonisms, and Andrew was still too junior to take the institutional and procedural risks he did," Beeth wrote in a letter to the court after Warren's arrest, requesting leniency on his behalf. (What Beeth means specifically is unclear. The rest of the paragraph is redacted.) Another factor a few of his friends and colleagues point to is the turbulence Warren may have endured in the largely white CIA leadership due to his race. One former CIA officer, when asked about Warren's "hall file" – Langley slang for water-cooler gossip – was blunt about a root cause of the antagonism. "He's African-American. I can't think of another at that [senior] level."

At the same time, his own personal universe was beginning to show signs of cracking. In New York, his home between overseas assignments, he shared an apartment with his sister Renee, a journalist and publicist. They were close: She helped Warren throw a party for his book, and her boutique PR firm was listed on Warren's author website. But his time overseas had changed him, and Warren's entire family noticed the difference. "He could never sleep. He told me that he had nightmares," his sister wrote in a letter to the court, describing how at night she could hear him screaming in Arabic through the paper-thin walls of the apartment. "He no longer felt safe in NYC – he was always watching his back." Warren advised Renee to change her routes back home because "the bad guys" were following him and, by extension, her. The paranoia was running deep – but his family didn't know if it was legit fear (Al Qaeda, after all, did have CIA agents on its hit list) or the beginning of a delusional fantasy.

Warren's older brother Lewis, a successful Wall Street executive, would later accuse the CIA of failing to take proper care of his brother. Lewis' letter to the court said, "He had recurring nightmares … of colleagues being blown up, violently, by machine-gun fire and high explosives – the fact that his company offered Andrew zero medical care is a disgrace."

The fact is, psychiatric help is not widely available to CIA agents – and as in the military, there is a stigma attached to admitting post-traumatic stress. Warren, his psychiatrist would later testify, dealt with his demons himself. "He was clearly self-medicating his symptoms of posttraumatic stress with alcohol," the doctor said. After his return to New York, Warren "began drinking more heavily and began questioning his prior use of severe interrogation techniques." (A CIA spokeswoman responds that the agency provides ample counseling services for its officers: "The idea now that the agency is in any way responsible for Mr. Warren's despicable actions – for which he was fired and pled guilty in a court of law – is preposterous.")

Despite his private unraveling, in 2004, Warren got his biggest promotion yet: second in command of the CIA's Cairo bureau. Even though he was operating undercover as a State Department official, this was no desk job: During his time there, according to court documents, he was involved in "periodic gun battles" on the streets of Cairo.

With his State Department cover, he moved in diplomatic circles, attending social events and hosting parties – in other words, old-school spying. But Cairo was not a great place for someone with PTSD. "He traveled in armored vehicles every day, which caused him to feel extremely claustrophobic. … He continued to have difficulty sleeping, as well as frequent nightmares, and acknowledged drinking and using Valium and Xanax that were readily available without a prescription for more severe anxiety," according to his psych report.

Seemingly unconcerned to his mental decline, the agency was grooming him to run a CIA station of his own, overseeing American agents and cultivating a network of local sources. After three years in Egypt, he was tapped to be the next station chief of Algiers, capital of another North African nation, Algeria.

In September 2007, Warren moved to a mansionlike home in Algiers provided by the U.S. diplomatic mission. Officially, he was just another senior embassy official; unofficially, as CIA station chief, he was the second-most-powerful American in the country. The operation was his to run, with little interference from the bureaucrats he'd come to despise. Algeria was a key ally – its authoritarian leader, President Abdelaziz Boute-flika, was an enthusiastic supporter of the War on Terror. The Algerians had spent a decade fighting Islamic radicals and were a natural partner the CIA could use to keep tabs on Al Qaeda: Islamic militants operated there, and drugs, weapons, girls, boys, diamonds and bootleg oil were all available on Algeria's black market.

Warren lived it up. He threw a party at his house that same month. One of the guests was a young Algerian woman with German citizenship. According to a statement the woman gave to Diplomatic Security Service investigators, Warren offered her several Jack and Cokes, which she drank.

After her last cocktail, she suddenly got sick, clamped her hand over her mouth and ran to the bathroom, puking in the toilet. Another woman followed her to the bathroom to help. Warren offered to let her stay the night in the guest room.

That was the last thing she remembered. Later, according to her statement, she woke up naked in bed, wondering what had happened. She had a headache and her vagina was sore. A used condom was in the garbage can beside the bed. She called her friend, who was staying in another spare bedroom, and showed her the used condom before getting dressed and leaving the house. She never saw or contacted Warren again, nor did she report what happened, according to the statement she submitted to investigators. She would later be referred to in court documents as Victim 1.

Five months later, another Algerian woman he had befriended in Cairo came to Algiers to pick up her parents and take them to Europe for a medical appointment. According to her statement, on February 17th, 2008, she stopped by Warren's house. He gave her a tour, then they sat on the couch to talk. Warren asked if he could take her photo. He snapped a photo with his phone, then offered her a drink. He walked to the kitchen, out of sight, and came back with two apple martinis. As they talked and drank, Warren offered her another drink. This time, she followed him to the kitchen. He quickly handed her a platter with crackers and asked her to take them to the living room.

While drinking the second martini, she felt faint. She needed to puke. She "began to pass in and out of consciousness." The next thing she remembered was finding herself on the floor in the upstairs bathroom. She couldn't move, but she could see and hear. Warren was standing over her, taking off her pants. She managed to say one word: "Leave," she told him.

'You'll feel better after a bath," Warren replied, taking off her boots, jeans and blazer. Her next memory was being out of the tub and struggling to put on her jeans. She blacked out again and woke up in Warren's bed. "Stop," she said.

"Nobody stays in my expensive sheets with clothes on," Warren replied, again taking off her jeans and underwear.

She kept asking Warren, "What's happening to me?"

After blacking out again, she found herself naked in the bed. According to the affidavit, Warren was "nude, on his knees," with an erection. "Use a condom," she said.

She woke up sometime later in Warren's bed "but did not understand what had happened." She got her clothes back on and drove home but doesn't remember how. According to her statement, on February 19th, 2008, she sent Warren a text message "accusing him of abusing her."

Warren sent one back: "I am sorry."

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