Washington Examiner: House bill targets illicit use of Pentagon networks

Bipartisan legislation introduced Tuesday in the House seeks to stop the use of Department of Defense computer networks for sharing child pornography.

The bill, called the End National Defense Network Abuse Act, was introduced in response to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation that showed over 5,000 individuals used Pentagon networks to access child pornography websites. Reps. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia and Mark Meadows of North Carolina introduced the legislation.

The investigation, termed Project Flicker, prompted an inquiry by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the criminal investigative arm of the DoD Inspector General. The law enforcement agency identified hundreds of Department of Defense-affiliated individuals as suspects.

Of the 20% of cases examined, several individuals used official government computers to subscribe to illicit websites.

“The notion that the Department of Defense’s network and Pentagon-issued computers may be used to view, create, or circulate such horrifying images is a shameful disgrace, and one we must fight head-on,” Spanberger said in a statement. “This bipartisan bill would give investigators the tools they need to protect children, eliminate existing images, and prevent the future misuse of DoD networks.”

The END Network Abuse Act would upgrade and train military criminal investigative organizations to combat the misuse of DoD technology to access child pornography. It also requires the DoD to work with law enforcement, trauma-centered healthcare providers, social services, and child protection organizations.

Rep. Meadows says this proposed law is a “common sense solution that will confront the problem” and “[close] security gaps in the Department of Defense network.”

The House bill is being co-sponsored in the House by Democratic California Reps. Anna Eshoo and T.J. Cox. A Senate version was introduced by Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in early May.

According to a summary on Murkowski’s website, Department of Defense servers rank 19 out of 2,891 U.S. internet service providers in peer-to-peer file trading of child pornography.

Several child advocacy organizations are supporting the legislation, including the National Children’s Alliance, the National Children’s Advocacy Center, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

By:  Regina Barton
Source: Washington Examiner