White House Battles Employee Porn

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Source: AP

By: Deb Riechmann

(WASHINGTON) — When White House officials punished a handful of employees a year ago for downloading pornographic material from the Internet, they thought they had snuffed out the problem. It has resurfaced.

“There was a recent uptick in incidents of this in the last month or so,” White House spokesman Jake Siewert said Thursday. “We’re not certain who did it, but we’re starting to sort it out and those people will be punished too.”

The Internet news site WorldNetDaily, which first reported the story Wednesday, said a consultant hired last year to improve security in the White House’s computer network uncovered “massive pornographic video files passing through the system’s Internet firewall,” which protects the system against hackers. WorldNetDaily said the unidentified computer consultant from California alerted officials to the cyber-porn problem in February 1999.

“A handful of White House employees were reprimanded and one was suspended without pay a year ago for downloading pornographic material from the Internet,” Siewert said, insisting that the problem was not “massive” as WorldNetDaily reported, but amounted to “isolated incidents.”

He declined to provide details or say how many employees were involved. In response to the problem, the White House enhanced filters used to block access to inappropriate sites.

“This is clearly against White House policy,” Siewert said. “Every time you turn on a computer you’re told to use the Internet specifically for official government business only.”