Four FBI employees accused of using steroids

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 16, 2010

Three Washington area FBI agents and an analyst were charged Wednesday with covering up their use of steroids and human growth hormone, officials said Wednesday. The unusual federal investigation comes as U.S. authorities are bringing high-profile prosecutions against baseball stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

The special agents and investigative analyst, all living in Northern Virginia, made false statements by omitting mention of their use of the performance-enhancing drugs as part of required disclosures in annual fitness reports to the bureau, the FBI alleges. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.

Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young award-winning pitcher, was indicted last month by a federal grand jury in Washington on charges that he perjured himself before a congressional committee when he denied using steroids or HGH. Career home-run leader Bonds faces federal perjury charges in San Francisco for allegedly lying to a federal grand jury when he said he never used performance-enhancing drugs.

In the FBI case, according to court papers, Katia Litton, 42, a special agent with the Washington Field Office since 2003 and a former bodybuilder, used steroids and HGH along with her husband, Matthew Litton, 39, an agent since 2001 whose FBI medical file describes him as "5'8' and 190 lbs." and "muscular."

Along with Special Agent James Barnett, 42, also with the Washington office, and counterterrorism analyst Ali Sawan, 45, the four allegedly met with doctors and received fake diagnoses for conditions including pituitary dwarfism beginning in 2006.

They allegedly received prescriptions for medications including anabolic steroids and HGH. The medications are used in bodybuilding to increase muscle mass and reduce recovery time after workouts.

The four FBI employees appeared one after the other Wednesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson as charges were unsealed in U.S. District Court in Washington. The defendants were not asked to make any statements, and attorneys for Sawan and Matthew Litton declined to comment afterward. Attorneys for Barnett and Katia Litton left the courtroom before they could be questioned.

The Littons, of McLean; Barnett, of Alexandria; and Sawan, of Sterling, were required to submit to a drug test, give up their passports and any weapons, and stay within 50 miles of their homes. They were released on their own recognizance pending an Oct. 5 hearing.

It was not immediately clear what prompted the investigation.

However, an arrest affidavit filed in the cases of the Littons and Sawan by Special Agent J. Brian Burnett of the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General, notes that each worked with a part-time emergency room doctor.

In a side practice, the doctor advertised "hormone modulation therapy" to address such conditions as "adult onset growth hormone deficiency" and "adult onset growth testosterone deficiency," Burnett wrote.

Burnett said that the doctor wrote more than 5,200 prescriptions for anabolic steroids between September 2005 and January 2010 and that a nearby laboratory drew blood from 307 of the doctor's patients, all of whom were given a diagnosis of pituitary dwarfism or other recognized growth hormone deficiencies.

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