Senator: Federal Website Hosts Porn Enron Emails

Rhett Pardon
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. government publishes porn.

It may be inadvertent, but a senator from Washington state says a website operated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) contains links to pornographic emails written by Enron Corp. employees.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., called on FERC Thursday to review the database linked to its website and remove any emails containing offensive or sexually explicit material from the former Houston, Texas-based energy giant, which had an apparent crass corporate culture.

"How serious are they about the investigation [of charges of manipulating electricity prices] if FERC doesn't even know that their website has pornographic emails?" Canwell asked. "It shows how amateur and ineffective FERC is in pursuing the case against Enron."

FERC spokesman Kevin Cadden said access to the emails is indirect and includes clear instructions that a user must leave the FERC site to view the material, Cadden said.

"The FERC does not put pornography on its website, period," Cadden said, noting however that anyone who gains access to the site could see pornographic material.

FERC hired private contractor Aspen Systems of Frederick, Md. to create a database on Enron that includes hundreds of thousands of emails from company employees after the company was fingered for nefarious activities that eventually created an energy crisis in California in 2000-01.

Some personal information, such as Social Security numbers, were removed from the emails, but the agency does not have the resources to go through all the documents and remove all offensive or questionable material, he said.

On Thursday, the state of California sued Enron and several of its divisions for allegedly manipulating market prices, costing consumers hundreds of millions of dollars.