Flashback: Pentagon caught in massive child porn cover up

As the Marine Corps becomes embroiled in a scandal involving the sharing of nude photos of female Marines, veterans and civilians, it harkens back to 2010, when reports surfaced that the Pentagon chose not to investigate hundreds of purchases of child pornography.

According to the findings of a 2006 investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), more than 250 civilian and military employees of the Department of Defense were found to have bought child pornography online using credit cards or PayPal to make their purchases. ICE, in its investigation, found that some of those allegedly guilty of making the purchases possessed the highest available security clearance.

As reported by The Upshot, via Yahoo News, the Pentagon declined to investigate all but a few of the cases, according to records from the DoD:

The cases turned up during a 2006 ICE inquiry, called Project Flicker, which targeted overseas processing of child-porn payments. As part of the probe, ICE investigators gained access to the names and credit card information of more than 5,000 Americans who had subscribed to websites offering images of child pornography. Many of those individuals provided military email addresses or physical addresses with Army or fleet ZIP codes when they purchased the subscriptions. (RELATED: Army preps for civil unrest in America’s largest cities as risk of civil war looms.)

In a related investigation, the Criminal Investigative Service for the Defense Department (DCIS) cross-referenced the list of suspects gathered by the ICE probe with military databases to assemble the names of DoD employees who were allegedly making the child pornography purchases.

Included on that cross-referenced list were staff members for the defense secretary (Robert Gates succeeded Donald Rumsfeld in December 2006), contractors for the NSA, and one who was a program manager for the super-secret Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. However, DoD’s criminal investigations unit only launched probes into 20 percent of those who showed up on lists; fewer were actually prosecuted, The Upshot reported.

The story was first broken by the Boston Globe in July 2010, but The Upshot later discovered, via Freedom of Information Act requests, additional documents in the investigation, codenamed “Operation Flicker” by the Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General, which manages the DCIS.

According to those documents, the DCIS found 264 employees and contractors with the Defense Department who had bought child pornography online; nine of them had “Top Secret Sensitive Compartmentalized Information” (TS SCI) clearance, which means they were granted access to many of the country’s most closely-guarded secrets and intelligence operations.

In all, 76 of those identified through the various investigations as having ties to the Defense Department had Secret or higher security clearances, but the DCIS only looked into 52 of those suspects. Far fewer – only 10 – were actually charged with the crime of viewing child pornography or possessing it. (RELATED: Teen Booked For Child Pornography After Being Caught With Naked Selfies.)

“Without greater public disclosure of how these cases wound down,” The Upshot noted, “it’s impossible to know how or whether any of the names listed in the Project Flicker papers came in for additional scrutiny. It’s conceivable that some of them were picked up by local law enforcement, but it seems likely that most of the people flagged by the investigation did not have their military careers disrupted in the context of the DCIS inquiry.”

Among those who were charged was an Army Reserves captain, Gary Douglass Grant, a judge advocate general, the military equivalent of a prosecutor. Investigators armed with a search warrant found child pornography that he had downloaded to his computer. He pleaded guilty in 2009 in state court in California to charges of being in possession of obscene matter of a minor engaged in a sexual act. In addition, others charged were contractors for the National Security Agency who also had Top Secret clearances. One of those persons fled the United States and, as of 2010, was believed to have gone to Libya.

Still, by far, most of the people who were investigated were never charged with any criminal activity – one of them an active duty Army lieutenant colonel with the office of the defense secretary. In addition to that outrage, 212 people on the lists were never even looked at. Follow stories pertaining to our military and national security at NationalSecurity.news.

J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.

Sources:

Yahoo.com

MarineCorpsTimes.com

Newstarget.com


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