BOSTON (CN) – The first full-time female FBI agent to be stationed at Guantanamo says she was made to bunk with vermin that gave her a tropical disease and was ostracized because she refused to join in a “spring break” atmosphere in which agents were encouraged to drink, date, and frolic when not interrogating alleged terrorists. She says FBI agents attended parties dressed in “mocking imitation of Arab or Afghan attire” and in orange detainee jumpsuits. And she says she has photos to prove it.
Theresa A. Foley, 43, requested a transfer to Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay in 2003, and says that from the moment she arrived she found a “generally sexist, discriminatory and ‘boys club’ atmosphere” at the island prison.
In her federal complaint, Foley says that because she is a woman she was assigned to filthy, rat-infested quarters where she contracted Leptospirosis, a tropical disease that causes swelling in the joints and other symptoms that left her completely disabled and forced to live with her parents.
In her claim against Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice, Foley says she has photographs depicting “personnel at Guantanamo engaged in drunken carousing in a sexually charged atmosphere, day and night,” including shots of “female employees in bathing suits or revealing attire sitting on the laps of male employees, and female employees being hugged, kissed and likely groped by male employees.”
Her complaint states: “Other photographs reveal, among other things, what appear to be intoxicated FBI employees wearing some type of mocking imitation of Arab or Afghan attire, and personnel at a Halloween party dressed in orange detainee jumpsuits (apparently as a joke). Still other employees appear to be completely intoxicated and engaged in various activities which indicate both a pervasive discriminatory atmosphere toward women, as well as behavior inappropriate for employees stationed at a detention facility for terrorists. Some of the behavior resembles stereotypical ‘spring break’ behavior. This highly inappropriate behavior by FBI personnel and other U.S. Government personnel working at Guantanamo, was known by the FBI, was encouraged by the FBI, and was tolerated by the FBI.”
She adds, “This pervasive sexually discriminatory and harassing atmosphere was at such an extreme, that it is accurate to describe the prevalent atmosphere as an ‘animal house’ atmosphere. When FBI agents were not busy interrogating terrorists held at Guantanamo, they were expected and encouraged by their managers and supervisors to be sun bathing, snorkeling, fishing, drinking, carousing and engaging in romantic relationships with each other. Over the course of her stay at Guantanamo, once it became clear that SA Foley did not believe this conduct was appropriate for an FBI Special Agent, and refused to engage in this conduct, SA Foley was ostracized and maligned.”
Foley says she was sexually harassed by male FBI agents, called a lesbian, and told that her “nipples were leaking.”
Foley says she has undergone numerous surgeries for Leptospirosis, a disease made worse, she claims, by the FBI’s unwillingness to allow her to stand – rather than the traditional kneeling pose – during firearms qualification. She has had a hysterectomy, her spine has collapsed, and she is constantly fighting off infections because of a compromised autoimmune system, the lawsuit claims.
Foley seeks a jury trial. She is represented by Mitchell Notis.