The FBI has explaining to do over its treatment of female employees.
Yesterday, a report by the Justice Dept's inspector general – the agency's internal watchdog – was released and said multiple FBI agents used "provocative" photos of young female support staff. They used them as bait to find online sexual predators in undercover sex trafficking stings. But the agents went outside of the chain of command, and did not get permission from their supervisors. And asked female colleagues to "not tell anyone." The report also says the women were not certified to be undercover or covert. But that's not all the IG found.
The FBI potentially endangered these women. It's unclear how many female staffers could be affected. But it doesn't help that an FBI special agent didn't keep track of where he posted the photos. Instead, the agent allegedly said he posted the pics to an unknown number of social media sites to 'fish' for sexual predators. While the employees were clothed and their faces blurred, their pics could still be floating around online. And available to be copied, downloaded, and shared. The IG said this puts the staffers at risk of "becoming the victims of criminal offenses."
The FBI has reportedly used fake photos, filters, and undercover agents to provide pics of 'children' to catch criminals. But the agency doesn't have a specific policy on whether it can use non-undercover staffers' photos. Now, the IG's saying 'make one.' And requesting it outline the specifics, including what sites the agents use and the dates and times the photos are posted. The FBI has accepted the recs and says it'll spend the coming weeks creating a policy and then train employees.
This is not the first time the FBI's actions have raised alarms. In this case, those who could be affected are fellow FBI staff members. And it's raising concerns about the potential long-term effects of the agency's actions.
The US. Yesterday, the State Dept said its expanding eligibility for Afghans seeking US refugee status. The new pathway creates an opportunity for thousands of Afghans who worked with the US during its nearly 20-year war in Afghanistan. Participants who are or were employed for US gov-funded programs or projects (think NGOs or contractors) can apply with their immediate family members if they are ineligible for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) under the Biden admin. An estimated 18,000 applicants and 53,000 family members are reportedly waiting for the special visa.
Thing to remember: It's expanded not expedited. The application process can take between 12-14 months to complete. And the program's participants must (on their own) relocate to another country before it even begins.
Why now?: The US's move comes after US-based media companies, lawmakers, and others urged the Biden admin to protect Afghan allies. And as the Taliban gains territory amid a wave of new attacks – which the Afghan president blames on the US troop withdrawal.
Krystsina Tsimanouskaya. Yesterday, the Olympic sprinter was granted a humanitarian visa from Poland. The athlete – who was scheduled to represent Belarus in the 200-meter race – approached Japanese police for protection. She said team officials tried to force her on a plane home to Belarus after she criticized her coaches for entering her to compete in a 4x400-meter relay – a race she said she did not train for. The sprinter said the head coach told her the order for her removal came from "above." Meanwhile, The Belarusian Olympic Committee says Tsimanouskaya was pulled because of her "emotional and psychological state." But the international community is lining up behind the athlete.
Background: The Belarusian Olympic Committee is run by President Alexander Lukashenko's son. And Lukashenko – who has ruled the European country with an iron fist for decades – doesn't seem to tolerate negative feedback...from anyone. (Remember the plane that was diverted to arrest a dissident? Or when his gov violently cracked down on demonstrators?)
Case in point: Earlier this year, tens of thousands of protesters tried to oust Lukashenko over what they called a rigged election. Some of those protesters included athletes who were jailed or reportedly cut from national teams.
Simone Biles. Today, the US gymnast took bronze in the balance beam final. China's gymnasts Guan Chenchen took gold and Tang Xijing took silver. Last week, Biles withdrew from other events, including the all-around, citing mental health concerns. This comes amid a growing conversation about the mental health of athletes and how they're treated like Kerri Strug, McKayla Maroney, Elena Mukhina, and Julissa Gomez.
Black Women's Equal Pay Day. Black women earn, on average, 63 cents for every dollar paid to non-Hispanic white males. Today marks how long it takes Black women to make as much money as white men in 2020. Yes, it's an additional eight months.
Skimm’d by Rashaan Ayesh, Maria del Carmen Corpus, Mariza Smajlaj, Kamini Ramdeen, and Julie Shain
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