Most important government agencies have inspectors general, whose job is to guard against the unholy trinity of waste, fraud and abuse.

Even the Central Intelligence Agency has an inspector general – though the IG;s reports are often classified. One report that recently came public detailed a horrifying pattern of abuse, including sex crimes…which were not prosecuted:

Over the past 14 years, the Central Intelligence Agency has secretly amassed credible evidence that at least 10 of its employees and contractors committed sexual crimes involving children.

Though most of these cases were referred to US attorneys for prosecution, only one of the individuals was ever charged with a crime. Prosecutors sent the rest of the cases back to the CIA to handle internally, meaning few faced any consequences beyond the possible loss of their jobs and security clearances. That marks a striking deviation from how sex crimes involving children have been handled at other federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Drug Enforcement Administration. CIA insiders say the agency resists prosecution of its staff for fear the cases will reveal state secrets.

Needless to say, the CIA the courts, and just about everyone else had no comment” on the revelations, which were “contained in hundreds of internal agency reports obtained by BuzzFeed News through Freedom of Information Act lawsuits.”

Some were utterly horrifying:

One employee had sexual contact with a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old. He was fired. A second employee purchased three sexually explicit videos of young girls, filmed by their mothers. He resigned. A third employee estimated that he had viewed up to 1,400 sexually abusive images of children while on agency assignments. The records do not say what action, if any, the CIA took against him. A contractor who arranged for sex with an undercover FBI agent posing as a child had his contract revoked.

Only one of the individuals cited in these documents was charged with a crime. In that case, as in the only previously known case of a CIA staffer being charged with child sexual crimes, the employee was also under investigation for mishandling classified material.

Institutional paranoia over state secrets should not be allowed to trump justice, let alone basic human decency. But that appear to be standard operating procedure – and it’s sickening.