100 Feds Found to Be Frequent Workplace Porn-Watchers

The scope of a long-discussed agency problem came into focus on Monday when a Washington, D.C., TV news station reported it had counted about 100 federal employees who acknowledged watching pornography for hours during the workday.

Using the Freedom of Information Act, News4 I-Team reporter Scott MacFarlane and his colleagues found “egregious on-the-job pornography viewing” at 12 agencies, including the Transportation, Justice, Interior, Labor, Energy, and Health and Human Services departments. Also listed were the Environmental Protection Agency, Postal Service, NASA, Social Security Administration and Export-Import Bank.

An FBI employee, his back to the camera, was interviewed, saying he regrets his actions, which he called “ridiculous.”

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“While only some of the cases revealed by the I-Team were criminal in nature, because they included viewing of pornographic images of underage teens, the I-Team investigation raised questions about whether the federal government has instituted sufficient penalties,” the TV spot said. The penalties, the reporters were told, are flexible and can include written reprimands.

At EPA’s Office of Water, one employee caught in the act was suspended for five days. Another EPA staffer acknowledged watching porn online for six hours a day for “several years.” A Federal Railroad Administration staffer searched porn for 252 hours in a single year. And at the Patent and Trademark office, an employee made 1,800 connections to porn websites, telling past investigators, “When I am working hard, I go to these images to take a mental break.”

Administrators consider such use of time waste, fraud and abuse.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform panel on federal employees, told the station the problem is not going away. Last year, he pushed legislation to ban porn on government computers.

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