Pentagon Failed To Investigate Employees Who Viewed Child Porn

*Authors note* The original story is over 1 year old however I hadn’t heard of it until today and I believe that it should be read. I will also be looking into this to determine if anything was actually done or if this was swept under the rug. Stay tuned for updates.


America’s iconic defense hub, the Pentagon, houses nearly 25,000 employees with varying degrees of expertise and security clearances and most have access to government computers round the clock.

The Pentagon was under heavy fire after nearly 5,200 people were reported to have viewed child porn and in most cases the Pentagon’s response was to do absolutely nothing. The Department of Defense has admitted that investigators failed to see whether or not employees were on the list of suspected porn viewers. 5,200 people is quite a lot however the background checks required to work for the government are very thorough and many suspected of viewing child porn had security clearances of “top secret”.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency heads investigations into child pornography and in 2006 they produced a list of Pentagon employees who were suspected of viewing this type of porn. When they asked the Pentagon to review it, the Pentagon only reviewed about 2/3 of the names on the list and produced 300 suspects who allegedly viewed child porn on their work computers or home computers. If they produced 300 legitimate suspects in the first 2/3 of the list then why didn’t they check the last third? Defense investigators failed to review roughly 1,700 names on the list and they were not investigated because “child porn investigations were not a priority at the time”.

The Pentagon stated that they were checking the remaining names on the list.

Congress is not only concerned that the Pentagon mishandled possible felony charges that have a maximum of 20 years in prison but also about the types of material these individuals were responsible for. They believe that these individuals posed a greater risk of being blackmailed because of the content they allegedly viewed which in turn could have put state secrets at risk. It is unknown if any secrets were lost due to this.

Senator Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa has been leading the charge to figure out what exactly the Pentagon was thinking. “These cases were not considered a priority by the Defense Department in the first place, and they should have been,” Grassley said in an interview. “We want a change in behavior in the Defense Department where things of this criminal nature are a top priority, even more than government employees at other agencies because of the national security connections,” Grassley said.

The information that Grassley has released indicates that there could be more involved than the 300 that the Pentagon originally identified as alleged child porn viewers. The government has not released new numbers since they recently started reviewing the investigation again. It was also noted that due to the Pentagons lax response many of the 1,700 individuals would likely never face criminal charges if it was determined that they did view child porn because of the statute of limitations on the crimes.

Pentagon inspector general Gordon S. Heddell said that child pornography was “not one of DCIS’ investigative priorities.”

The Pentagon would like it to be stated that they did identify 300 individuals who accessed or possessed child porn however only 70 of them were investigated further and even less were recommended for prosecution. Why were these individuals not prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law? The Pentagon said that they didn’t have the resources available to fully investigate the matters. To properly prove that a person has viewed child porn one must accurately determine the age of the alleged minor in the images/film.

What is also currently unclear is how many of these individuals’ employment was terminated. The government has not released statistics on the number of people who had/have top secret security clearances, neither why so many cases were dropped nor if any were referred to military investigators. What is clear however is that the Pentagon screwed up and bad. Those who work at the Pentagon are tasked with our nation’s defense but there always needs to be oversight and when the system actually worked (for once) the Pentagon failed to react. This investigation is 6 years old and as usual the government is running far too slow, hopefully Senator Grassley can get some heads to roll over what can only be described as a clusterfuck.

Updates

November-Tue-0143-2012

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Brian Bender has continually declined to respond to my emails even after inviting me to contact him frequently. What’s the deal?

September-Tue-0547-2012

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I’ve been continually trying to get a hold of Brian Bender at the Boston Globe ever since he told me that I was free to bug him but I haven’t received any responses, short of a tweet, for months. I sent off an email yesterday morning asking for an update to the story if there is one and I have still heard nothing. His last response to me said that he was working on it however I am finding that harder and harder to believe. It is possible that he was told to stop digging into this matter which is believable considering no one has done any update on the Pentagon’s investigation into this matter even though the results of that investigation are long overdue.

August-Wed-1934-2012

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It appears a problem with porn runs rampant within the Department of Defense as more cases of watching pornography while on the job has come to light. This time though it wasn’t child porn but it is clear that there is a complete breakdown in oversight and morals within the department that is responsible for American defense. The most recent incident took place within the Missile Defense Agency.

“Specifically, there have been instances of employees and contractors accessing websites, or transmitting messages, containing pornographic or sexually explicit images,” James wrote. “These actions are not only unprofessional, they reflect time taken away from designated duties, are in clear violation of federal and DoD and regulations, consume network resources and can compromise the security of the network though the introduction of malware or malicious code.” Via the Verge

July-Tue-2131-2012

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After receiving the following message from Mr. Bender on June 30 I’ve contacted him a few more times seeking updates and haven’t heard anything back. I’ll keep the pressure on and see where this “investigation” stands if there even was one.

July-Sun-0234-2012

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I’ve heard back from Brian Bender at the Boston Globe and he has been unable to sit down with his sources regarding this matter as of yet however he is in the process of doing so. I’ll be checking in with Mr. Bender periodically to see what his sources have to say and to see when he will be posting an update to the Globe.

As of this moment I have heard nothing from Senator Grassley or anyone from his office regarding this matter. I’ve also contacted my state represenative to seek answers.

June-Tue-2359-2012

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I have emailed Senator Grassley asking for an update. I did notice something odd while on his website though. There is absolutely no mention of his investigation that unearthed this entire matter. Have a look for yourself and see if you can find anything: http://www.grassley.senate.gov/

June-Tue-1255-2012

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I think the real story here is that nothing about this has been discussed officially since January of 2011. The national media never picked up on this story and the only one that did an update was again the Boston Globe. Could you imagine the coverage if 5,200 teachers nationwide were accused of viewing child porn only for investigators to say it wasn’t important? What if they were priests? Why has this story died? The individuals involved worked in a building that is vital to our nations national security and it can be argued that these individuals’ work was vital as well. National security was likely the excuse used when the Pentagon killed this story. We apparently live in an age where you can be excused for being a pedophile as long as you work for the government.

June-Mon-1851-2012

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My Bloggity Blog reached out to Bryan Bender at the Boston Globe. Mr. Bender is the original author of the article and the author of an update article that stated the Pentagon was going to do an “all-out pursuit’’ of any employees who downloaded child pornography. However that article was dated January 8 of 2011 and it seems that the story has completely died since then. In my email to Mr. Bender I asked him if the investigation is complete and if any action was taken. Mr. Bender promptly replied and said “thanks for the reminder to check up on it”.

I’m hoping that this means we will know what exactly happened after the Pentagons “all-out pursuit” but I’m not going to hold my breath. I have a feeling there was a reason I’ve never heard of this story before and that all updates on the original articles stopped in January of last year.

I’ll be sure to keep you updated if I hear anything else.

Sources:

Boston Globe

 

Author: James

I am the owner and main author of My Bloggity Blog. I started this blog on a whim and it grew faster than I ever imagined. I seriously enjoy debating politics and foreign policy as I'm sure you've noticed but I also enjoy a wide array of other things that I try to include here.

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  • AFV

    Oh so we should spend our tax dollars investigating why men get horny? This is retarded. The Pentagon made the right move.

    • http://www.mybloggityblog.com/wordpress/ James

      So you’re saying we shouldn’t investigate why men and women are watching illegal pornography that exploits underage children? Do you work at the Pentagon and watch child porn while earning tax payer money?
      —– Reply message —–

      • AFV

        I question the “child” part of the porn in this article. I remember when this story came out and this is the first I heard of “child” porn. The original article talked about 5,000+ people viewing porn on government time. They issued a decree and it supposedly stopped. Viewing child porn on the internet is not as easy as typing in kiddieporn.com. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

        • http://www.mybloggityblog.com/wordpress/ James

          The Pentagon held a press conference over the matter and ICE was the original investigating party. The child porn part isn’t new it’s just been swept under the rug but you can believe what you want. Thanks for your comments.

          • AFV

            It seems you are correct. My apologies. This freaks me out. The Boston Globe said in 2010 it was “several dozen”. And you’re right, I don’t find the porn viewing on government time that wasteful. Child porn bad regular porn just a time burner. Imagine how much more pleasant the mid-east would be with porn.

          • http://www.mybloggityblog.com/wordpress/ James

            From the source I have listed at the bottom of the article which is also the Boston Globe:

            “In 2006, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which conducts Internet pornography investigations, produced a list of 5,200 Pentagon employees suspected of viewing child pornography and asked the Pentagon to review it. But the Pentagon checked only about two-thirds of the names, unearthing roughly 300 defense and intelligence employees who allegedly had viewed child pornography on their work or home computers.”

  • Jill

    Where is the coverage? Where is the outrage? This should have been headline news.

    • James

      I really wish I knew. I'm working on finding out as we speak.

  • Cora

    This is disgusting. I am in shock. Clearly, the culture at the Pentagon is that child porn is acceptable – disgusting – and causes me to believe the numbers are probably even worst than suspected. Thanks for helping this cause see some more light. And the blackmail issue is scary.

    • James

      Thank you for you comment. Putting "national security" over the safety of children apparently is apparently their priority. It's pretty disgusting to think that no one in the government cared enough to do something about this. What is also rather scary is how the story just completely died. Politicians grab on to a juicy story like vultures to a carcass yet only one politician championed this issue and now even he is quiet.

  • Mary

    It does seem very odd that the mainstream media didn't pick up on this story because I haven't heard it either. Perhaps the Senator would not be as quick to provide answers as the journalist.

    • James

      Something is certainly not right about this entire thing. You would have thought that this would have been breaking news worldwide, yet it popped up on my radar yesterday and I thought it was a breaking news article rather than over a year old.