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Pentagon Workers Tied To Child Porn

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the your-tax-dollars-at-work dept.

Crime 253

finalcutmonstar tips a Boston Globe report on details released today of Operation Flicker (PDF), an investigation of subscribers to child porn websites, which seems to have implicated a number of government employees in sensitive positions. Quoting: "Federal investigators have identified several dozen Pentagon officials and contractors with high-level security clearances who allegedly purchased and downloaded child pornography, including an undisclosed number who used their government computers to obtain the illegal material, according to investigative reports. The investigations have included employees of the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — which deal with some of the most sensitive work in intelligence and defense — among other organizations within the Defense Department. The number of offenders is a small percentage of the thousands of people working for sensitive Pentagon-related agencies. But the fact that offenders include people with access to government secrets puts national security agencies 'at risk of blackmail, bribery, and threats, especially since these individuals typically have access to military installations,' according to one report by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service from late 2009."

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253 comments

Surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33007990)

This is why we need more surveillance. We will save tax dollars and government workers can obtain it freely!

We should grant them amnesty (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008142)

Clearly as so many people are violating the law, even the Government officials charged with enforcing it, that we might as well give up and just let them take over. In fact, we should pass laws encouraging such behavior.

Just wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33007996)

I am speechless.

Re:Just wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008994)

Wait until they're all acquitted, promoted and touting the health benefits of the love shared between a 60 year old politician and an 8 year-old, then be speechless.

No Story here (4, Insightful)

bobwrit (1232148) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008010)

So, the ones who are looking for child porn all day are keeping it/are attracted to it. Who would have thought...

Re:No Story here (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008156)

I think it's an elaborate sting gone wrong. You've got someone in the pentagon doing cyber black ops and tracking down people who buy this stuff to take care of the problem in an "extra-legal way." It was just that Operation Flicker stumbled upon this black project and caught people who are already working a sting. It's the beat cop busting the undercover narc agent.

Re:No Story here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008334)

uhm yeah wtf ever.

Re:No Story here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008250)

Exactly why people in such positions should all be reviewing each others work to ensure that none of them are abusing their positions.
Same can go for policing agencies, doctors abusing drugs, handing out drugs and so so many other places.
But then there comes a point where the entire group could all be doing it, so the system breaks down.

Re:No Story here (-1, Troll)

flyneye (84093) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008438)

This story covered the FEW who were dumb enough to get caught . Can you imagine how many didn't?
This only confirms to me that anyone who wants to work for the government , are exactly the people to keep out of it.
Pentagon my ass! Let's look a little closer at Crapitol hill, The Supremes, The off-White house and all of Omamas toadies, appointees,Diplofarts and our extra sleazy Secretariate of state.
            This Government is stupid. We are stupid for allowing it to get this far. We are retarded for letting it continue. We are brain dead if we don't revolt sometime SOON! We have the original plans, just wipe the slate and start all over again.

Re:No Story here (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008524)

Libertarians are all words. You'll never do anything, and you know it.

Wow (4, Funny)

Renraku (518261) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008014)

Wait, you mean people with high security clearances that work for the government can also be disgusting perverts??

Quick, we need to revise the process to make it to where only god fearing Christians that have sex for procreation only can get government clearances!

Re:Wow (5, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008076)

Wait, you mean people with high security clearances that work for the government can also be disgusting perverts??

They try and avoid this. A friend-of-a-friend recently applied for full UK security clearance (or whatever it's called). A man in a smart suit visited my friend for a "background check". Every other question was about the guy's sex life -- number of girlfriends, whether he ever cheated, if he looked at porn, what kind, and so on. The defence guy said he didn't care what the answers were, but they needed to know whether someone might try and blackmail the friend into revealing secret details. A person with many partners but who's open about it is fine, someone with a very secret hidden relationship isn't.

Re:Wow (5, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008190)

Certainly appropriate for the UK, who has been burned many times by closeted gays that are hooking up on the side. All Russia had to do was get a nice pretty boy to sit next to their target and they had a solid lock on the target. You would be surprised the lengths these folks went to in an effort to try to keep their secret live a secret.

Not sure how much the US has been burned by this sort of blackmail, but several UK incidents managed to make it out into the tabloid press.

Re:Wow (4, Interesting)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008368)

Have a read of "The leaky establishment" it's got some entertaining musings on the subject.

essentially anything secret can be used as blackmail fodder.
In fact there should be no set list of things which forbid security clearance since anything on the list automatically adds a risk.

lets say ... drinking Russian vodka was considered grounds to loose security clearance tomorrow.
Some foreign agent gets a photo of you with a bottle... well now they have blackmail material.

etc

Re:Wow (2, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008720)

Not sure how much the US has been burned by this sort of blackmail, but several UK incidents managed to make it out into the tabloid press.

US folks who spy for foreign countries tend to do it for the money . . . see Aldrich Ames http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldrich_ames [wikipedia.org] , John Anthony Walker http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Anthony_Walker [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Wow (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009210)

US folks who spy for foreign countries tend to do it for the money

And oddly enough - not very much money at all. For example, the Walker article says he was one of only a handful who got over a million, yet even that is doubtful with the NY Times estimating it to be more like $350K. Looks like Ames didn't even make half a mill either. Its like these guys are playing high-stakes games but only getting chump-change for it. Maybe there is something to the idea that people in government don't know how to run a business...

Re:Wow (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008426)

Every other question was about the guy's sex life -- number of girlfriends, whether he ever cheated, if he looked at porn, what kind, and so on. The defence guy said he didn't care what the answers were

Where this article and your story intersect, I don't quite believe the defence guy...

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008490)

Detailed Vetting is what its called.

Re:Wow (3, Insightful)

straponego (521991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008956)

I think this explains the prevalence of closted gays (and diaper wearers) in the Republican Party. I think they're encouraged, because it's easy to keep them in line that way. You'll notice that when the Larry Craigs, David Vitters, and Mark Sanfords of the world are exposed by people outside of their own party, they are never forced to resign, and they rarely do. While the Dummies, when caught (Spitzer), almost always step down immediately (Clinton is the rare exception). Dems shouldn't be as vulnerable to criticism on this front, because they're not as hypocritical-- but they are pussies, and the media does apply different standards to them.

And yet the GOP purports to be hardcore family values... and maybe they are, in the raunchier sense of "hardcore". But when push comes to shove, it clearly means nothing to them. As long as they toed the party line up until then, they're fine.

Now, one wonders how this ties in with warrantless wiretapping. I said the Dems aren't as vulnerable on the sex front-- not that they're not blackmailed, extorted, or bribed in other ways. In all of Congress there are perhaps as many as three Senators and a handful of Representatives willing to seriously annoy the national security industry when it matters.

Re:Wow (0, Offtopic)

The Pirou (1551493) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008098)

And due to the nature of the subject, let that procreational sex be with other consenting adult yada yada yadas.

Re:Wow (1)

cacba (1831766) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008126)

What should actually worry you is the intelligence of the people caught, there must be more anonymous ways of getting child porn other than AT WORK!

Re:Wow (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008180)

The problem isn't that people with security clearances are disgusting perverts, the problem is that people with security clearances are security risks. As an example, you'll find it difficult to get a clearance if you've declared bankruptcy or even just have a lot of unsecured debt because it makes you more susceptible to bribes. The same thing is true here. If a foreign interest were to find out you were downloading child porn, an offense where just being accused can cause your life to crumble around you, it would be trivial for them to blackmail you into revealing secrets.

Re:Wow (5, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008576)

If a foreign interest were to find out you were downloading child porn, an offense where just being accused can cause your life to crumble around you, it would be trivial for them to blackmail you into revealing secrets.

On the other hand, if, as you say, merely being accused could cause your life to crumble around you, all someone has to do is threaten to accuse any random person. It isn't really relevant whether that person actually committed the crime in question if the mere threat of an accusation is enough to cause someone to turn traitor.

Thus, one could reasonably argue that stigmatizing child porn in the way our society does is, in and of itself, a national security risk. Indeed, paranoia in any form is a security risk, whether it's fear of the kiddie porn boogeyman, the fear of the terrorist boogeyman, the fear of the "Big Brother" boogeyman, or any other such thing. FDR had it right when he said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

Re:Wow (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009084)

Thus, one could reasonably argue that stigmatizing child porn in the way our society does is, in and of itself, a national security risk. Indeed, paranoia in any form is a security risk, whether it's fear of the kiddie porn boogeyman, the fear of the terrorist boogeyman, the fear of the "Big Brother" boogeyman, or any other such thing. FDR had it right when he said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

Come on, this is nonsense. Every person that breaks the law fears being exposed, if we wanted to avoid that we'd have to either not have criminals or not have laws. What if one of the guys at Pentagon is secretly a murderer, wouldn't that be blackmail material? Would you like to strike that law too? Have a mistress/child on the side your wife doesn't know about? You just expect everyone to be cool about adultery? That quote is nothing but armchair-quarterback psychology, reality is that there's plenty people and things you should fear and defend yourself from, including war. It's been roughly 65 years since the last world war, the Romans pulled off 207 years of Pax Romana before decending into war and chaos. It's way, way too early to call off WWIII and that we'll all live happily forever after.

Re:Wow (3, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009318)

Every person that breaks the law fears being exposed, if we wanted to avoid that we'd have to either not have criminals or not have laws.

You misunderstand me. What I'm saying is that being accused of having kiddie porn is so stigmatized that even people who DO NOT have kiddie porn could be blackmailed by the threat of being accused of having it. Unlike all those other crimes you mention, the burden of proof in the mind of the public when it comes to child porn is remarkably low. It pretty much boils down to "Somebody said he/she did, so he/she did". That degree of stigmatization is inherently dangerous. Period.

Re:Wow (2, Interesting)

TruthSauce (1813784) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009134)

I was just thinking this.

The GP said "even an accusation" and I was thinking "someone doesn't have to be guilty in order to accuse them!!!"

So the problem isn't the people downloading it, so much as the way that it's perceived.

I recall India is currently voting on legislation to make child sexual abuse the only crime in the country that sets a "guilty until proven innocent" precedent.

Frightening!

Re:Wow (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008320)

disgusting perverts??

god fearing Christians that have sex for procreation only

What's the difference? The guy who claims not to be perverted is many times the biggest pervert of all.

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008066)

How is requiring a polygraph for one of these clearances working out for you, OPM?

Slashbot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008078)

Let me try.

Well, as long as they aren't producing it, that's okay.

Clearly there is a demand for child pornography. Making child pornography illegal just pushes it further underground.

Take care of this problem quickly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008086)

It's easy to just take those people out back and put bullets in their head. I mean, it's the Pentagon right? I'm sure they've got some kind of firearms around there somewhere.

Re:Take care of this problem quickly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008150)

Yeah I mean having an investigation or trial to actually establish it was them and not someone else using their computer, or a virus or something would be silly. Possession of child porn as a summary execution, brilliant. What's your email address again?

How they did it (4, Funny)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008090)

NSA just copied the child porn whenever anyone sent it over the net. The NRO took the pictures themselves, as the original pornographers were setting up the shots. And DARPA set up a contest in which they got teams from the best universities in the country to compete to make child porn meeting their criteria.

Re:How they did it (5, Funny)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008354)

And DARPA set up a contest in which they got teams from the best universities in the country to compete to make child porn meeting their criteria.

Ah, the lesser known XXX-prize.

Re:How they did it (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008784)

Wouldn't xxx-prize be more appropriate?

Re:How they did it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008482)

You're trying to be witty, and failing hard.

What percentage of the workforace? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008108)

The only way that this would really be interesting is if the number of people caught, as a percentage of those employed at said facilities, was greater than that for the greater population of the country.

Summary snipping (0, Redundant)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008122)

an investigation of (1)subscribers to child porn websites [...] officials and (2) contractors with high-level security clearances who (3) allegedly purchased and downloaded child pornography, including an undisclosed number who used (4) their government computers to obtain the illegal material

Emphasis and selective cutting my own - but I don't think I really took anything too out of context.

1) So they were silly enough to subscribe to child porn website - create a paper trail for something they know is illegal. Instead of persuing attempts to acquire it without purchasing it - which would be a lot easier to deny. If you're credit card is on a statement, that'd difficult to deny. So already, I think these people are idiots.

2) The next thing - is Contractors with high level security. I know they meant officials included in that, but why on Earth would you give a Contractor high level security clearance? I wouldn't trust them further than broom closet.

3) Couldn't help but notice the word Allegedly. Just pointing it out, make of that what you will.

4) Seriously? On your work or government supplied computer you would partake in those activities?

Seriously the lack of common sense either completely astounds me - or smells fishy. I haven't yet decided if I want to put on my tin foil hat. (Never attribute to malice blah blah blah)

Re:Summary snipping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008398)

For number 3, I think they put the word allegedly because they can't just put whether or not they did it. Imagine you get caught doing something bad and the police arrest you. The news would say alleged because you didn't have a trial yet that proves you did it or not, even if the police saw you doing it.

Re:Summary snipping (1)

dsoltesz (563978) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008822)

(2) So the government should employ every single person required to do any high security level work it requires? That's practical and completely feasible.

(3) As AC notes, this is a standard term used to discuss people suspected or charged with a crime. To state a person is guilty before the result of a trial proves that guilt leaves the author open to a defamation suit, particularly if the person is found innocent.

(4) Yeah. People are that fucking stupid. And not high school drop-outs either... Ph.D.'s are really that stupid. It boggles the mind.

Re:Summary snipping (4, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009304)

2) The next thing - is Contractors with high level security. I know they meant officials included in that, but why on Earth would you give a Contractor high level security clearance? I wouldn't trust them further than broom closet.

So you propose nationalizing Boeing, Bell, Lockheed Martin or indeed every one of the 200+ companies on this list?:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_defense_contractors [wikipedia.org]

Any and every one of them likely has high level clearance for some employees for some field.

New angle (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008172)

Since ordinary child porn stories don't capture the public's attention as much as they used to, sensationalists must now seek a fresh new angle: Child porn is so prevalent it can even be found at the highest branches of our government! Never mind that it's only a small number of employees, and that being a government employee doesn't make you an inherently good person. Just look in this direction... this is what we want you to see.

Not that I want the gory details but... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008192)

...anything from a glamour shot of a naked 17-year-old girl to a child being sexually abused could be classified as "child porn".

And whilst I don't consider either to be particularly healthy in a civilised society (if it's consenting adults doing stuff to each other that other adults look at then let them get on with it), there's clearly a great difference between the two extremes.

Re:Not that I want the gory details but... (5, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009160)

...anything from a glamour shot of a naked 17-year-old girl to a child being sexually abused could be classified as "child porn". And whilst I don't consider either to be particularly healthy in a civilised society

That 17 year old, you know in most of the world you could legally be banging her right? Just don't take the glamour shot...

Child porn laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008254)

Devil's advocate - basically our own laws are providing the fodder for blackmail. If the laws were restricted to actual abuse of a child, these people wouldn't be potential blackmail targets.

Re:Child porn laws (3, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008318)

Unless they actually abused children that is.

Anything that is forbidden/taboo/illegal/embarrassing is blackmail fodder.
Even if it was made legal it would still be socially unacceptable and almost as good for blackmail.

there are arguments to be made but that's a weak one.

Re:Child porn laws (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009216)

Maybe, maybe not. I rather suspect that the taboo is predominantly because people naively believe that pedophilia is rare. It isn't. Roughly one in twenty-five people in the U.S. show some predisposition to pedophilia, and if you include teenagers in the mix, it jumps to... well, pretty much every adult male I've ever met who isn't lying. Given those numbers, I think it's likely that the social stigma would diminish significantly if people did not fear going to prison if found to be part of that one in twenty-five.

That said, doing anything that harms children is a particularly horrible abomination, so it's possible that the taboo won't ever go away under the (mistaken) assumption that pedophiles are a ticking timebomb just waiting to molest kids. In much the same way that every heterosexual male is a ticking timebomb waiting to rape or abuse an adult female, I suppose that is true.... I haven't raped anybody today. Have you?

And getting pedophilia out into the open would cut down on child molestation. Historically, statistically, there has been a strong correlation between repression of sexual desires and rates of sexual crime/violence. There's certainly no reason any sane person would believe pedophilia to be different in that regard.

Like I've said before, banning possession of anything is almost certainly a sign that somebody didn't think things through, whether it's kiddie porn, pot, handguns, knives, or even munitions. It's better for it to be out in the open so that you know where everyone stands than to be shrouded in secrecy so that everyone is always watching their neighbors in fear.

Is it endemic to a certain type of person? (5, Interesting)

linzeal (197905) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008344)

After reading the article, I'm left in a lurch on whether I should be concerned or not. On the one hand, there are some personality types who work in those 3-letter agencies being associated ostensibly with some pretty shady business but without more information on the positions these people had, we will be left making fallacious assumptions. From the 2 instances I have had to turn in people for child porn on their computers to the FBI, I noticed that both seemed normal and likable enough most of the time, but gave off a secretive vibe when they brought their laptops down for repairs, or we had to do a manual upgrade.

One got caught when he forgot to bypass the VPN login when he was away on a business trip. I got paged at 3 am after a long night partying at a rave and it kept going off till I got up 20 minutes later and I was still receiving pages when I arrived on site along with the CIO of the company. The FBI arrested him when he flew back into Phoenix the next morning.

The other one was less dramatic, we were getting ready to partition all of our laptops to dual boot W98 and 2000 because we could not get some legacy software for our inventory system to work in 2000. When we wrested it physically from his hands after him telling us as HR he did not need to check inventory we discovered 5 Gigs of unallocated space that shouldn't be there because we used Norton Ghost, suspicious we made a FAT partition in the space non-destructively and proceeded to recover 10's of thousands of images of child porn.

TMI (1)

BancBoy (578080) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008730)

we will be left making fallacious assumptions

Hey man, they didn't say what kind of pictures they found.
Oh fallacious, sorry.

Re:Is it endemic to a certain type of person? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33009336)

Really?

Back in the year 2000, somebody operating in HR--was good enough to store images in unpartitioned FAT space? On a corporate, prebuilt laptop...

I mean yeah, it'd be as simple as taking partition magic, resizing the partition, reformatting, and then getting a drive that could hit it on a preimaged machine to make the space. But I assume that was beyond the abilities of most people not in IT (Most, not all). But on top of that, he had to have some sort of software or filesystem driver that'd operate on unpartitioned space without an obvious file table? Maybe the filetable lived elsewhere encrypted?

What software was he using if you don't mine me asking? HR isn't known for being tech savvy, and while I've heard of simple steganographic schemes to do similar things I've not yet encountered an 'off the shelf' application that made it so easy. At least--not back then.

Idiots (3, Insightful)

md65536 (670240) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008352)

Whether or not it's acceptable to have the criminally perverted working in the pentagon, I think it's discouraging to have people that dumb working in critical positions. How can people in high-security positions be that clueless about what information is available about them?

Re:Idiots (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009190)

This is about sex. People's IQ points just drain away in proximity to that subject. Your garden-variety heterosexual is bad enough, they are liable to do transparently stupid things even though their sexual partners of choice are widely available and often legal. If somebody's sexual tastes can only be satisfied illegally, the odds are quite good that they will, eventually, get themselves caught trying to satisfy them.

Why? (1)

ceraphis (1611217) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008372)

Can someone explain why child pornographers can't just limit their porn consumption to those that are 18 or older? It seems to just reek of actually having committed an offense in the past and needing the obvious images of someone underage in order to relive that fantasy.

I feel as if I'm asking a stupid question but it's always bothered me, there's so much legal porn out there, why do some people feel the urge to look at shit that was more likely than not the product of abuse? Are there any studies that have unmistakably proven it's a disorder instead of a natural response?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008520)

Can someone explain why straight men can't just limit their porn consumption to pictures of men getting it on with each other? It seems to just reek of actually having committed an offense in the past and needing the obvious images of someone female in order to relive that fantasy.

I feel as if I'm asking a stupid question but it's always bothered me, there's so much gay porn out there, why do some people feel the urge to look at shit that was more likely than not the product of a make-believe heterosexual coupling? Are there any studies that have unmistakably proven it's a disorder instead of a natural response?

Re:Why? (1)

ceraphis (1611217) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008644)

Funny. I'm rather sure child pornography/abuse is completely unrelated to the sexual orientation choices of mature adults. I'm also rather sure videos/pictures of two consenting adults having sex is a different product than a videotape of a 10 year old being abused by someone in his thirties.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008762)

I'm rather sure child pornography/abuse is completely unrelated to the sexual orientation choices of mature adults.

Why are you so sure? If it's really a matter of opportunism rather than of sexual preference, why don't pedophiles do as you say and simply look at legal pornography?

Re:Why? (1)

ceraphis (1611217) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009054)

Well, OK. I can understand the idea that a pedophile's sexual preference could be "underage" as opposed to "male" or "female", but isn't it a more natural human trait to take care of or protect the immature of our species rather than exploit or abuse them?

Or for that matter, self preservation, as being a pedophile must be one of the quickest/easiest ways to be put in jail, and consequently, be tortured in said jail and even after being released.

Anyways, I suppose a lot of the reason why pedophiles might take the risks they do could be their lack of understanding of the consequences and/or technology in general, why else would these government workers have actually surfed child porn at work of all places? (notwithstanding the possibility of being involved with some sort of undercover/sting operation)

Re:Why? (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009394)

Well, OK. I can understand the idea that a pedophile's sexual preference could be "underage" as opposed to "male" or "female", but isn't it a more natural human trait to take care of or protect the immature of our species rather than exploit or abuse them?

Yuhuh. And isn't is a more natural human trait to have sex with the opposite sex, rather than with your own?

Nature .... evolution ... they're all about variety. Rule 34 exists for a reason, you know.

Re:Why? (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009268)

Yeah, and I'm rather sure that people who steal bread are completely unrelated to having hunger. They just like to do illegal things.

Re:Why? (1)

TruthSauce (1813784) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009280)

I'm rather sure child pornography/abuse is completely unrelated to the sexual orientation choices of mature adults.

Well, research shows that you're an idiot. :-)

Just because you want it to be different doesn't mean it is. Simply accepting the fact that pedophilia is a sexual orientation like many others doesn't automatically make it acceptible and justified. It simply underscores the fact that humans who find themselves attracted to kids aren't "fundamentally broken". Research doesn't back that up at all. In fact, research indicates that the majority of them are profoundly normal in almost every way.

The image of a drooling pervert with low self-esteem and poor impulse control is based on studies out of the 1970s and 1980s that used population samples from high-security prisons and mental institutions. When you take people out of prisons and mental hospitals, wouldn't you expect them to be a tad off, from the norm?

There is shockingly little study on non-offending pedophiles, because of the social stigma of the topic, but what research there is indicates that something over 70% of exclusive pedophiles claim to have never abused a child and within that group, MMPI inventories and other social adjustment standards seem to lead us to believe that these people are very normal, well adjusted people, many of whom indicate they would remove those sexual feelings if they could, but they can't, so they have to learn to live with them.

I would also point out that the most common kind of child porn, according to a talk I heard a few years ago, are images and videos of teens that they take of themselves, alone in their bedroom, often on a webcam. These apparently outnumber other types of images by a notable factor.

But then again, feel free to continue to believe what makes you comfortable.

Re:Why? (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009392)

As best research has been able to determine, pedophila(in the sense of sexual interest in prepubescent individuals by postpubescent ones, particularly those with a significant age delta) behaves pretty much the same as any other sexual orientation. It is substantially more problematic than most; because virtually all outlets for its satisfaction involve either raping children or employing material with a very problematic production history; but structurally it works about the same.

Given the pretty severe legal risks that pedophiles run(not only can they go to jail, they won't exactly receive a warm welcome on the inside, and if they survive, they will face extremely severe residency and employment restrictions post release), there is strong reason to suspect that the legal options don't do it for them.

This probably does not apply to those people who are commonly called "pedophiles"; but who are actually interested in post-pubescent individuals. This population includes people who are arguably victims of witch hunts(your 18-19/16-17 no evidence of any coercion types); and also includes much nastier opportunists(teens tend to be comparatively naive, economically and socially powerless, and otherwise very convenient victims) who are either hetero or homosexual; but who have a taste for easy targets. In terms of strictly sexual taste, they are much closer to the norm, post-pubescent but youthful partners being desirable almost across the board; but they presumably have other psychological abnormalities that make them target children rather than associate with peers. I suspect(admittedly without statistical evidence) that this class is much less likely to be caught in internet porn sweeps(since, visually, it isn't going to be hard to find perfectly legal 18 year olds who function for the fantasy purposes of somebody who prefers a couple of years younger, and possessing illegal porn where legal porn would do is unbelievably idiotic); but probably a bit more likely to be caught in real-world law-enforcement situations.

Re:Why? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009416)

It depends on what you mean by "abused". By most people's opinion, a 10-year-old is unable to give consent because (s)he lack maturity to make that decision for himself, but if you read pedophilia advocacy, they don't agree - they believe a child's consent is as valid as an adult's.

Personally, I think most people are right, although I find the age of consent in the UK (16) to be more sensible than 18.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

TruthSauce (1813784) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009434)

Let me point out one thing that you might be partially correct about.

More than half (the FBI estimated around 60% in a paper in 1999) of child abuse that goes to trial IS, in fact, situational. It is an otherwise normal person doing something bad that they normally wouldn't do, under unusual circumstances.

However, the group "pedophiles" and the group "child molesters", while overlapping, are not equal. Many pedophiles never abuse children. Many who abuse children are not pedophiles (by a strict diagnostic criteria). Some pedophiles view child porn, some do not and keep their thoughts to themselves.

I'll leave the rest of the conclusions to you.

Re:Why? (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009242)

> shit that was more likely than not the product of abuse

I hate to blur your black and white understanding of this, but what about a 17 year old girl who takes a picture of herself nude and sends it to her 17 year old boyfriend, who thinks it's a good idea to post it on 4chan after they break up?

The guy is a jerk, but there was no child abuse.

Re:Why? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009436)

There is apparently some evidence of a difference in brain structure that shows up on MRI and where there is a difference in brain response showing up on fMRI. One of the problems with this subject is that it would be almost impossible to come up with a test that is both convincing and legal. The other problem is that although high-resolution MRI scanners exist (9.4 T, as opposed to the usual medical 2.5 T), they are unimaginably rare - only three such high-res scanners exist - and they exceed FDA limits on magnetic radiation exposure. There are about 25-30 other ways to scan brain activity, and it is arguable that to produce definitive results you'd need to carry out a meaningful number of tests using each method.

Even then, it is unclear whether you'd be able to absolutely tell the difference between a conscious choice, a subconscious choice or an imposition due to a neurological or biochemical quirk.

But let us say that there were examples of all three, or even examples in which all three variables were present to some degree. What do you plan to do about it? America has adopted the philosophy of standardizing the punishment according to written law. It has no capacity to handle multi-variable situations and very little capacity for handling anything other than a pure binary guilty/not guilty. (In cases where the statute has an automatic fixed penalty - and there are some - then it is pure binary.)

I believe the question of "why" is perhaps the most important - and least-asked - question the legal system could concern itself with. I do not advocate treating people with (or without) leniency according to cause, but I believe the magnitude and not the form of punishment should be what is fixed. I also do not think a fixed form is necessarily useful - stage it so that there is a clear distinction between punishment and therapy/rehabilitation. In cases where therapy/rehabilitation is impossible at the present time, treat as best you can. Further, in no case should punishment be permitted to worsen the mental state of the person, as that risks aggravating whatever caused them to offend in the first place - at best doing nothing of any good or value, and at worst punishing society for the criminal's acts.

There will always be criminals and there will always be people who merely enjoy crimes for no reason other than that they do. But it comes down to divide and conquer. If we can treat that component which is treatable (even in those who otherwise willingly broke the law), you automatically reduce the problem in future. If we can identify that component which is untreatable using existing methods, we know more about where we need to improve. If we can identify unambiguously those who lack the capacity to choose between "right" and "wrong" (whether or not they can distinguish between them), then we can more reliably segregate such cases and not rely on people paid to hold specific opinions. (What possible value is a test for distinguishing between right and wrong? It makes those who intuitively respond correctly but cannot say why Criminally Insane, and makes those who know the difference but cannot act on that knowledge Evil Vermin. What kind of logic is that?)

Solution (1)

z-j-y (1056250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008388)

Pentagon should have an internal porn library with all kinds of flavors, so the employees won't be subject to blackmails from outside.

What surprises me (3, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008424)

What surprises me about all these child-porn-bust stories is how many people are looking at it. I would have figured less than a thousand in the whole country.

Re:What surprises me (5, Insightful)

Hadery (1858536) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008686)

The population of the USA is roughly 300,000,000. You thought that only 1 in 300,000 would look at cp?

Re:What surprises me (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008870)

The population of the USA is roughly 300,000,000. You thought that only 1 in 300,000 would look at cp?

That would make 4chan full of exceedingly rare people...

Re:What surprises me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33009138)

Yeah, looking at it and being aroused/attracted/addicted to it are (at least) two different things.

Re:What surprises me (2, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009250)

The population of the USA is roughly 300,000,000. You thought that only 1 in 300,000 would look at cp?

Yes.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I assume that this isn't merely a vice - that there's something seriously wrong with the way these people are wired. Like serial killers, who I likewise assume are quite rare.

Re:What surprises me (1)

Monolith1 (1481423) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008896)

What surprises me about all these child-porn-bust stories is how many people are looking at it. I would have figured less than a thousand in the whole country.

I agree, there are either a lot of normal people getting screwed over (pardon the pun) thinking "honestly, I thought she was 18 your honour", or there are a lot of dumb people who don't realise how little privacy they have left on the internets when they go hunting for the blatantly underage stuff.

Re:What surprises me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33009038)

There may be some normal people getting screwed over, but there are a *lot* of dumb people who are avid consumers of serious CP (and a lot of dumb people who also abuse children, sometimes the same people). With the amount of time it takes to prosecute them and the limited resources available for doing so, it's likely that the smart people who are doing the same thing just aren't getting caught. (Either that, or everyone who looks at serious CP is also an idiot.) These guys act like they'll get away with it or that they don't care if they're caught -- one of the two.

Re:What surprises me (2, Informative)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009230)

I know someone who is currently serving 15 years in Arizona State for picking up a 17 year old girl at a bar and doing some heavy petting.

I think you are talking a different subject (3, Informative)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009406)

When that occurs (and it is a horrible abomination of the law) it is due to all this privatization of prisons and the use of prison labor by corporations, etc. (Just check out BP and prison labor.)

Thanks to all those private equity firms like the Blackstone Group, who have funded and/or bought up vile organizations such as Corrections Corporation of America, Prison Realty, Geo, etc., Korporate Amerika now has a ready supply of slave labor.

Especially with the thoroughly corrupt judicial "system" and the absolutely corrupt and degenerate Supreme Court!

Re:What surprises me (2, Interesting)

TruthSauce (1813784) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009478)

OR, there is an extremely large number of closeted pedophiles and it IS, IN FACT, a very small percentage of them that are dumb enough to get caught.

To be honest, I think that is the most likely case. There is nothing about being a pedophile that would make someone stupid or ignorant of the law and stigma, or the risks, and there is nothing to indicate that this is some sort of government conspiracy to screw over innocent people.

Research indicates there are likely approx 1.5 million pedophiles in the US (around 0.5% of the population based on several recent studies). That's about the same number of people as there are Muslims in the United States and about twice as many as all Buddhists in the US.

Food for thought.

Re:What surprises me (3, Informative)

TruthSauce (1813784) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009314)

I think there's reasonable evidence from a series of population surveys that around 0.5% of the population is attracted to kids, exclusively or primarily. That's about 1.5 million in the US, 35 million in the world.

Most manage to live a pretty normal life without doing illegal stuff, but even if 10% of those people do get porn at some point, that's still 150,000.

How many get caught? :-)

From the Declaration of Independence (1, Offtopic)

copponex (13876) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008446)

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good...

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance...

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures...

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power...

For protecting [troops], by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States...

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences...

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation...

For everything else, VISA (1)

RenHoek (101570) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008528)

A lot of times you read in the paper that they rounded up a large number of pedophiles due to the fact that they paid with a credit card. How can people be so stupid to think that this is in some way untraceable?

To be honest, I see this as pure Darwinism. Disregarding the fact that they are pedophiles, I strongly believe that people who do such stupid things should not be in a job of consequence.

Sounds like a great way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008566)

To get rid of people you don't like while only using a small amount of your expendable assets in the field. Seriously, who looks at fucking child porn... and who in a position where they have to literally polygraph weekly would risk that sort of exposure? This is exactly the kind of stinky story that smells like an op. Look at the Russian "spies" who were using technology to "hide" their transmissions... the intelligence community made it pretty public following the 911 comission that they were looking for stega on the internet. The reports indicated that there was such a small exposure of the technology in the wild that it was easy to find once you knew what to look for (and yes, you can identify stega patterns in most files, they leave a fingerprint.) That being said, even knowing that, the FSB would have never continued to use that technology, anyone in professional signals analysis would tell you it's almost as important to identify the Time, Location, and Communicating Agents, as it is to identify *what* was said.

Re:Sounds like a great way (1)

TruthSauce (1813784) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009360)

Frankly, the people in the linked PDF were folks like telephone repairmen and low level office workers. I doubt this was some sort of big publicity stunt. We're talking a dozen or so people here, nobody who really means anything to the organizations they represented....

Deja Vu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33008728)

I'm not saying it's morally equivalent, because with photos of children there's presumably a victim out there somewhere, but the "vulnerable to blackmail" concern is exactly the same thing that used to be said about allowing homosexuals in the military or in classified positions.

Re:Deja Vu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33009182)

but the "vulnerable to blackmail" concern is exactly the same thing that used to be said about allowing homosexuals in the military or in classified positions.

And it's correct. Being born with a socially unacceptable sexual orientation is an unfortunate reason to deny promotion, but no more than, say, being born gullible. Whether it's fair or not doesn't enter into it - if you have two equally-qualified applicants for a sensitive job, and one is a greater liability, you have to appoint the other.

Re:Deja Vu (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009450)

In terms of arguments founded upon rights, the two cases could hardly be more different(which is why homosexuals are doing better these days, while pedophiles are, if anything, at lower stock than ever(pedophiles have not, in recent history, ever enjoyed approval; but society's willingness to care about the rights of some kid, rather than respect the privilege of an adult, especially a socially powerful one, as increased markedly); but in terms of emotional appeals, the rhetoric surrounding homosexuals and the rhetoric surrounding pedophiles has always been strikingly similar(in fact, to this day, some people make a habit of casually equating the two, when it suits them, ie. when the catholic church responded to their pedophilia problem by doubling down on keeping homosexuals out of seminaries...)

It's unbelievable how can this be? (1)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 3 years ago | (#33008954)

Several dozen contractors and high level officials at the pentagon? It hardly seems credible. What if it's a frame up?

Re:It's unbelievable how can this be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33009226)

This is the work of Anonymous obviously.
Posting anonymously for obvious reasons.

Re:It's unbelievable how can this be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33009296)

Slashdot keeps identifying information on anonymous posters... just saying.

Re:It's unbelievable how can this be? (1)

Shark (78448) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009368)

I don't know about these specific departments, but a bit of research might yield surprising results when it comes to CPS. I remember several cases in Florida alone... Don't take my word for it though, it's more believable when you find out for yourself.

Authority likely makes one believe they are above the law... And while I wouldn't assume there are more pervs in these areas than anywhere else, those that are pervs have a tendency to think they can get away with it. Because more often than not, they can.

Remember, we don't have civil servants anymore, we have officials and authorities.

./ hero RMS is skeptical of the harm (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33009090)

And I quote:

"I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing."

These Pentagon officials are just showing support for RMS' lofty social ideals! Shouldn't Slashdot be defending these trailblazers?

pay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33009156)

I'm disappointed that these people lacked the technical skills to get this stuff without paying for it.

Smiley game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33009238)

Could be a sting. Vilification and smearing to ruin careers is big business. And corruption, too. Unfortunately.

Not news - just the law of large numbers (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 3 years ago | (#33009266)

I would be surprised if there were zero such people in any large organization outside of a police-state or hive-mind environment.

If you have hundreds of thousands of employees with top-secret clearances, and you draw them from the general population of technically qualified people, you are going to get some with undetected personal issues. You are also going to get some who were fine the day you hired them but something happened along the way.

The choices outside of a police state is either to be 10x or 100x as selective as you are now, which is impractical, or only draw people from a group that has been groomed for years for the task. Even then, you just reduce the odds you don't eliminate them. Personally, I think the status quo is better than the alternatives I listed.

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