Defense CP Purchases Went Uninvestigated, Report Says

Ariana Rodriguez
WASHINGTON — Of more than 250 civilian and military employees of the Defense Department that purchased child pornography online that turned up following a 2006 investigation, only a handful were pursued by the Pentagon, Defense Department records show.

The investigation conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, called Project Flicker, provided information on nearly 5,000 Americans with child porn website subscriptions. It also revealed hundreds of Defense Department employees — some of which had the highest available security clearance — that used credit cards or PayPal and provided military email and/or physical addresses to purchase website subscriptions.’s The Upshot news blog obtained Project Flicker investigative reports through a Freedom of Information Act request that show that 264 Defense employees purchased CP online. Nine of those had Top Secret Sensitive Compartmentalized Information security clearance, granting them access to the nation’s most sensitive secrets.

In total, 76 of the individuals had clearances, of which 52 were investigated by the Pentagon's Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and 10 were charged with viewing or purchasing child pornography.

ASACP CEO Joan Irvine weighed in on the matter.

‘It is shocking that the Pentagon, ICE, and others in charge would not investigate such acquisitions of purchasing child pornography,” Irvine said. “There should be the same zero tolerance of such crimes not matter who such criminals work for but especially people who are responsible for our country’s security. I doubt that such horrific behavior would be overlooked if a person worked for any other industry.”

The Upshot reports it spoke to an unnamed source close to Project Flicker that said lack of resources are the blame for the Pentagon’s negligence, noting that judges don’t issue warrants based on years-old evidence.

"We were stuck in a situation where we had some great information, but didn't have the resources to run with it," the source told The Upshot.

The source also told The Upshot that there was no systematic effort to inform the superiors of the 212 Project Flicker names that the DCIS didn’t investigate.