Pentagon Workers Viewed, Ordered Child Porn At Work

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The Boston Globe has reported that several Pentagon workers have been caught viewing and purchasing child pornography at work. Some contractors with high level security clearance were involved as well. Some of the workers had the highest level of security clearance. The workers were reportedly viewing and purchasing the child pornography from their government computers while on the job.

Among the departments implicated in the federal investigation are the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. These are all subdivisions of the Department of Defense. Some agencies named in the investigation were blacked out of the report for security reasons.

The workers involved in the child porn scandal are a tiny percentage of the total Department of Defense work force. Despite this, the security implications are staggering. People who are involved in illegal and shameful activities are subject to bribery and blackmail. It is not yet clear if any breach of national security has resulted from Pentagon workers involved in viewing child porn.

The investigations within the Defense Department date back to 2002. Some workers were prosecuted and some were fired. Out of 30 known cases of child porn use, one person has been convicted and sentenced to 5 years in prison plus life on probation. A contractor with access to sensitive information is believed to be hiding in Libya.  Some cases were dropped because evidence was not conclusive enough to convict the perpetrators.

It was an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation called Project Flicker that triggered the Defense Department investigation. Among the 5000 people who had ordered child porn overseas were some Department of Defense employees. These cases were referred to the Department of Defense for additional investigation.

Along with the Defense Department, people who deal with abused children were alarmed but not surprised by the Pentagon child porn scandal. The  Boston Globe quotes John Sheehan, executive director of the Exploited Child Division at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as follows.

“There isn’t a profile or stereotype, which makes it even more challenging for law enforcement.’’

The workers implicated in the Pentagon child porn scandal work in a number of locations. It was not a nest of perpetrators who formed a subculture. Even after this scandal is over, the Defense Department will probably keep a watchful eye on its employees for the sake of national security

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