WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency warned its employees and contractors recently to stop using their government computers to surf the Internet for pornographic sites, according to the agency’s executive director.
In a one-page memo, Executive Director John James wrote that in recent months government employees and contractors were detected “engaging in inappropriate use of the MDA network.”
“Specifically, there have been instances of employees and contractors accessing websites, or transmitting messages, containing pornographic or sexually explicit images,” James wrote in a July 27 memo obtained by Bloomberg News.
“These actions are not only unprofessional, they reflect time taken away from designated duties, are in clear violation of federal and DoD and regulations, consume network resources and can compromise the security of the network though the introduction of malware or malicious code,” he wrote.
Individuals identified as violating the rules face referral for “appropriate” disciplinary action, he wrote. They put “their security clearances in jeopardy, and are subject to suspension and removal from federal service or MDA sponsored contracts.”
Agency spokesman Rick Lehner said in an e-mail that the memo was written in response to “a few people downloading material from some websites that were known to have had virus and malware issues.”
“MDA has more than 8,000 employees, and less than a half-dozen were found to have accessed restricted sites or downloaded inappropriate materials,” Lehner said.
A government cybersecurity specialist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because such work is classified, said that many pornographic websites are infected, and criminals and foreign intelligence services use them to gain access to and harvest data from government and corporate computer networks.