[Trigger warning for child sex abuse.]

I just don't have it in me to parse everything that's distressing about this story in the Boston Globe about the "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."

But I will point out three things:

1. Note the number of people busted who are identified as "contractors." Yay, privatization.

2. This is absolutely stunning:
A separate case involves a contractor working at the National Reconnaissance Office, the agency that builds and operates the nation's spy satellites. The individual admitted in 2008 when he was being interviewed to renew his security clearance that he viewed child pornography at least twice a week on his home computer.

As of December, the individual had been transferred to an agency field office in New Mexico and had not been charged. A National Reconnaissance Office spokesman, Rick Oborn, said he was aware of a few cases of agency employees accessing such images but could not immediately say whether the particular contractor was still working for the organization.
So…a dude openly admits in an interview for security clearance that he regularly views child porn, and he's not only not immediately turned over to police and fired, but is just transferred to another office. (Is that because he didn't get the security clearance, or did he get it anyway? Who knows.) It appears the Pentagon has subcontracted the Catholic Church to run its human resources department.

3. I love that the main issue of concern to the Defense Criminal Investigative Service seems to be that, because many of the offenders had security clearance affording them access to sensitive and/or secretive government material, national security agencies were put "at risk of blackmail, bribery, and threats, especially since these individuals typically have access to military installations." I mean, I hate to get all "what about the children" and everything, but OMFG WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?! Yes, the possibility of government agents with top secret clearance opening themselves up to extortion plots is a grave concern, but my primary concern in cases of government agents looking at child porn is nonetheless still the children who were exploited to make it.

I'm funny that way.

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