By Del Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 4, 2011; A07
A former top CIA officer was sentenced Thursday to more than five years in prison for sexually abusing a woman in Algeria.
In sentencing Andrew Warren, 43, to a term nearly double what was recommended under federal guidelines, U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle said the CIA officer had taken advantage of an Algerian national whom he hadn't expected to report the crime.
Warren, who had a storied career in the CIA and was the agency's station chief in Algeria, pleaded guilty last year to abusive sexual contact. He had originally been charged with a more serious sexual offense.
"I can't take it back," said Warren, who was fired from the CIA in late 2008. "But I wish there was something I could do to take back hurting another human being."
In court papers, Warren's attorney, William R. Martin, extolled Warren's service to the country and his commitment to his family, and he urged the judge to impose a sentence of as little as one year and one day in prison.
Warren's plea agreement called for a recommended sentence of up to two years and nine months behind bars - far less than the five years and five months he received. In court papers, authorities alleged that Warren may have drugged the victim - and another woman - and then sexually assaulted them in his embassy residence in September 2007 and April 2008. Under terms of the plea deal, Warren admitted sexually abusing one of the women in 2008. He denies drugging either of them.
After the allegations became public in early 2009, Warren's life spiraled out of control, his lawyer said, and he began using cocaine to "self-medicate" post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from his time in war zones. "He served under fire," Martin said. "He witnessed colleagues of his die."
In April, after failing to appear at a hearing before Huvelle, Warren was arrested and accused of resisting police officers and federal agents, possessing a loaded handgun and being high on cocaine. He later pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a firearm while under the influence of drugs.
"It is rare," Huvelle said Thursday, "to see an individual who accomplished so much and who has fallen from grace so far."