Pentagon Reopens Probe Into Employee CP Purchases

Ariana Rodriguez
WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense is reopening its investigation of more than 250 of its civilian and military employees that allegedly purchased child pornography online.

Gary Comerford, a spokesperson for the Department of Defense said that the decision to reopen the investigations stems from persistent calls to the Pentagon; and in turn 264 criminal investigations will be pursued.

"I’m pleased to see that the Pentagon will police their own – even if it took pressure from the media and child protection groups," ASACP CEO Joan Irvine said.

Two weeks ago, Yahoo’s news blog The Upshot broke the news involving Project Flicker, a 2006 investigation of hundreds of purchases among Defense Department employees, of which only about one-fifth were followed up by the department.

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.

Yahoo.com’s The Upshot news blog obtained Project Flicker investigative reports through a Freedom of Information Act request showing 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.

The military's Defense Criminal Investigative Service quietly dropped its investigations in 2008 citing resource constraints.