Judicial Watch • Govt. Workers Surf Porn On Job

Govt. Workers Surf Porn On Job

Govt. Workers Surf Porn On Job

SEPTEMBER 30, 2009

Misconduct among federal employees is so rampant at one government agency that its overwhelmed inspector general has drastically scaled back on its duty to investigate fraud and recover wasted tax dollars to focus on the internal crisis. 

Investigations, often involving employees accessing pornography from their government computers, grew six fold in the last year alone at the National Science Foundation (NSF), created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science and advance national health. With 1,700 employees and an annual budget of nearly $7 billion, the NSF funds about 20% of all federally supported research conducted by the nation’s colleges. 

Last year the agency’s inspector general revealed that NSF employees spend substantial amounts of work hours viewing pornography on government computers. In a 68-page report to Congress the agency’s watchdog said some NSF employees actually spend significant portions of their workdays watching, downloading and e-mailing pornography without ever getting caught. 

The problem has only worsened in the last year, according to a news report that says the NSF Inspector General has spent millions of dollars to investigate internal wrongdoing rather than focus on its job of rooting out grant fraud and waste. Citing records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the story lists various examples of downright criminal activity among high-ranking agency officials who cheated taxpayers without consequence. 

In one case a senior NSF executive spent at least 331 days viewing porn on his government computer and chatting online with naked women without getting caught. Investigators say the porn surfing cost taxpayers between $13,800 and $58,000. A separate employee accessed hundreds of pornographic web sites during work hours in a three-week period and another was caught with hundreds of photos, videos and slide shows containing porn. 

None of the public employees was subject to criminal prosecution, civil court action or debarment, though some got suspended for short periods of time. NSF officials assure that they have enacted more rigorous computer training and tightened controls to filter out inappropriate web sites from work computers. Then again, they said that a year ago when the inspector general published its scathing report. 

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