The U.S. Spy and the Algerian Sex Scandal

He seemed just the sort of spy the CIA is looking for to fight the war on terror. Andrew Warren is a 6-foot-4 African-American schooled in the martial arts. Steeped in Middle Eastern history, he is a convert to Islam who speaks six Arabic dialects. He was a natural to be the CIA's top man in Algiers, a North Africa listening post and frequent hotbed of terrorists. He told his friends that he entered the U.S. Foreign Service—his cover story—because he wanted to be "at the center of things."

Last week, he emerged at the center of a lurid scandal deeply embarrassing to the United States. According to an affidavit signed by a State Department security investigator, in the past two years Warren allegedly drugged and then raped two Algerian women. Though the CIA won't confirm it, numerous U.S. government officials acknowledged to NEWSWEEK the revelation, first reported by ABC News correspondent Brian Ross, that Warren was serving in Algiers as CIA station chief.

Warren, who has not publicly commented, has not been charged with any crime. But the affidavit is damning. Two women told investigators that while visiting Warren at his official U.S. government residence in Algiers, Warren plied them with cocktails, which eventually caused them to vomit and pass out. One woman woke up naked in a bedroom and found a used condom in a nearby trash can. The court affidavit describes in hard-core detail how the other victim remembers drifting in and out of consciousness as Warren sexually assaulted her. Warren was called back to Washington last October; during a subsequent search of his Algiers home, investigators found what appeared to be evidence of "tradecraft" more associated with stalkers than spies: multiple computer drives and data-storage devices, a handbook on the investigation of sexual assaults and quantities of Xanax and Valium—tranquilizers that government experts claim are commonly used in date-rape assaults.

Warren is an aspiring author as well as a spy. Eight years ago, he published a pulp thriller called "The People of the Veil." The hero of the book is a U.S. diplomat, based in Algiers, who battles terrorists trying to take over the U.S. Embassy. In a subplot, the hero, Nick Phillips, has an affair with Mariam, a beautiful Algerian woman who shunned Arab men ("because they were too controlling") but fell in love with Nick because he "respected her and treated her as an equal," and who "never pressured her and understood her culture." Speaking anonymously in order to be candid, one of Warren's former instructors at the "Farm," where spies are trained, told NEWSWEEK that Warren was "a loose cannon" whose confidence "bordered on narcissism." Still, he added, people at the agency "are crushed by this." A former academic mentor, Professor William Alexander of Norfolk State University, described Warren as "an incredible person" and said that he had been working on a second novel.