Jeffrey Sterling, 43, who now works as a senior investigator in St. Louis for health insurance giant Wellpoint Inc., was indicted Dec. 22 on 10 counts related to obstructing justice and disclosing national security information.Part of the back story is that Sterling filed a discrimination lawsuit against the CIA in 2001:
Sterling joined the CIA in 1993 and two years later became a case officer in the Iran Task Force. (He was the only black among its more than 20 professionals.) To prepare, he spent a year studying Farsi, the language of Iran. Sent to Bonn in 1997 to recruit Iranians as agents, he grew frustrated when he wasn't given new prospects to recruit. Perplexed, he returned to Langley and confronted his supervisors. "I asked why I wasn't receiving any assignments. They said, "Well, you kind of stick out as a big black guy,'" Sterling recalls. "They said, 'You bring unwanted attention to where you're assigned.' Everyone in management agreed I was too conspicuous. And I said, 'Well, when did you realize that I was black?'"Interesting. I wonder if we'll ever know enough to make an assessment of his guilt or innocence.