The federal porn intiative moves to the Pentagon, intel community

After finding out that the SEC spent more time watching porn than derivatives and failed to protect American investors from the secondary effects of the housing market collapse, it hardly seems shocking that some of the high-clearance staff were more concerned about their own thrills than the chills of the war on terror.  The Boston Globe’s story gets more disturbing when considering the type of material that held the attention of NSA employees, among others (via Newsalert):

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.

Some of the individuals have been prosecuted and other cases have been dropped, while more have languished several years without resolution, according to the previously undisclosed documents about the investigations.

Most of these cases aren’t new, and some are no longer open.  The probe began in 2002 and continues to this day, however, and it impacts some of the most trusted organizations and people within the national-security apparatus.

And while we’re on the subject of trust, this seems even more disturbing:

At least two of the cases were contractors with top secret clearances at the National Security Agency, which eavesdrops on foreign communications, according to the documents. When one of the contractors was indicted two years ago, he fled the country and is believed to be hiding in Libya, according to a summary of the investigation from last year.

Hiding in Libya?  Did he pick the country by tossing a dart at the map and just happened to hit Tripoli?  There are plenty of other nations with no extradition treaties with the US, including Venezuela and Brazil — and at least a couple who don’t extradite when the issue is child rape, France and Switzerland, much to Roman Polanski’s relief.  If the first instinct of this NSA contractor was to flee to Libya, it should prompt a review of how he got that clearance in the first place.

Also, the bigger issue may not be what he did while at the NSA, but what he’s telling Gaddafi’s security forces and terrorist allies about NSA and its operations now.  This doesn’t sound like a blackmail operation, but something more like a double agent, albeit one forced into it by circumstances.