Federal Workers Accused of Accessing Child Pornography

It was bad enough that SEC employees were caught accessing pornography in the workplace. Now, per The Boston Globe, over 30 Pentagon employees/contractors with high level clearance have been investigated for accessing and purchasing child pornography over the internet using government computers. Aside from it being completely reprehensible and disgusting, there seem to be other pressing concerns regarding national security:

The number of offenders is a small percentage of the thousands of people working for sensitive Pentagon-related agencies. But the fact that offenders include people with access to government secrets puts national security agencies “at risk of blackmail, bribery, and threats, especially since these individuals typically have access to military installations,’’ according to one report by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service from late 2009.

The investigation known as “Operation Flicker” (not Flickr) began in 2006, developed by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department (ICE). Since its inception, the investigation has uncovered over 5,000 incidents of child pornography, among those being a doctor in San Antonio and a former Florida State Attorney Investigator who was charged in 2009.

One would think that any employee, particularly those with high level security clearance, would know better to engage in such action at all, let alone in the workplace. Yet experts state that it’s difficult to spot someone who accesses child pornography:

“Some are in high-ranking positions, in positions of trust,’’ said John Sheehan, executive director of the exploited child division at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which has been consulted on many of these cases and has reviewed 36 million images of alleged child pornography since 2002 at the request of law enforcement agencies. “There isn’t a profile or stereotype, which makes it even more challenging for law enforcement.’’

This is very disturbing indeed.