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Posted at 9:43 AM ET, 03/ 9/2011

SEC porn sting netted workers in 7 cities

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated and corrected 3/11/11 1:32 p.m. ET

The 33 Securities and Exchange Commission employees and contractors reprimanded in the last five years for accessing pornography on agency computers worked in Washington, D.C. and six regional offices, according to documents released as part of a lawsuit.

The employees and contractors worked at agency offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Fort Worth, Los Angeles and Washington; the documents didn't disclose how many worked at each office. Denver-area attorney Kevin D. Evans, who sued the SEC last May for more information on the pornography sting, obtained the information as part of a Freedom of Information Act request

The agency contractors caught up in the sting worked for Labat-Anderson, CACI International, Garda Security, Keane Federal and ISN Corporation.

Evans has defended clients in securities cases and is involved in ongoing litigation against the agency. He said he pursued information about the pornography matter because it "galled me to no end" that SEC employees were spending "hours and hours over weeks and weeks" viewing porn while collecting government pay.

But his legal case regarding the pornography sting ended in December when a federal judge denied a request to publicly release the names of the disciplined employees and contractors, citing federal privacy laws. Until Congress changes those laws, which permit agencies to withhold sensitive personnel information, "I think FOIA requesters will continue to get stiffed" in their attempts to learn more about government employees and contractors implicated in such investigations, he said.

Several of the employees involved in the pornography investigation held senior positions and earned between $99,300 and $222,418 per year, according to the SEC inspector general investigation. Three of the incidents occurred in 2010, 10 in 2009, 16 in 2008, two in 2007 and one each in 2006 and 2005.

Staff writer David S. Hilzenrath contributed to this report.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

RELATED: SEC porn investigation nets dozens

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the 33 workers and contractors were reprimanded last year. They were reprimanded over five years.

By Ed O'Keefe  | March 9, 2011; 9:43 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
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Comments

How many were fired? ZERO - same old federal baloney. Now they'll just be more careful about how they waste taxpayer time.

Posted by: hill_marty | March 9, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Yawn.

Posted by: YadaYada1 | March 9, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Yawn.

Posted by: YadaYada1 | March 9, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Has the SEC ever heard of a "firewall".

Is there a reason they can't simply block access to time-wasting sites?

Posted by: info23 | March 9, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

While Wall Street ejaculates in everybody's face. They should be watching that porn.

Posted by: coogene | March 9, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Of course there should be repercussions for the workers. It should be done in private unless the agency refuses to provide information generally about the discipline.

The entire episode is STUPID and avoidable from an IT and executive management standpoint.

Every government agency should be using webfiltering and blocking entire categories of the internet that enable criminal activity (porn, child porn, drugs, gambling) or time/taxpayer money wasting activity (facebook, shopping,
or dangers to protected data (malware, phishing, peer-to-peer networks).

I don't work for a vendor of such a system, but am very pleased with the system I put in place at my firm. It is just one layer of security, but has tons of other management benefits too, not the least of which is reducing the expense of non-business bandwidth usage.

Posted by: ohiomc | March 9, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Why they still work there, and why so many contractors?

Posted by: citigreg | March 9, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

If every man who viewed porn at work or went to NSFW sites were fired, there will be no men left in any office in America. As long as they were not doing other things while watching the porn, let it go with a warning.

Posted by: RickJohnson621 | March 9, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

And the only thing that happened to these porno freaks was that they got a slap on the wrist.

Posted by: JimW2 | March 9, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Why haven't the employees been fired? I do not want to pay for execs looking at pron. Call me crazy but I do not view that as acceptable work time activities.

Obviously they were able to circumvent the SEC's internet usage blocks?

Actually when I was a grad student teaching at a state college we found out our office mate was using the office computer to view, dowload, and print porn, but since it wasn't kiddie porn, nothing happened to the guy.

They didn't give us a new chair either.

Posted by: hebe1 | March 9, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

"If every man who viewed porn at work or went to NSFW sites were fired, there will be no men left in any office in America. As long as they were not doing other things while watching the porn, let it go with a warning."

Um, really? Every man does this? Or just you and few other slackers?

Posted by: hebe1 | March 9, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

These idiots spending their days looking at porn are the ones defending us against the billionaire banksters/traitors who CDO'd the economy into a ditch, and took portions of the 750 billion in illegal gifts of public funds under a joke called TARP. As well they were supposed to be reconstructing the ENRON energy trading scandal and other major thefts of people's money, the files for which conveniently vaporized on 9/11.

Doesn't inspire confidence in the system.

Posted by: thousandsdied | March 9, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I see these were using work computers but were they laptops used at home after hours or during work hours?

Posted by: HardyW | March 9, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

" If every man who viewed pron at work or at the NSFW sites were fired, there will be no men left in any office in America."
REALLY?!!
The men who do this at work should be fired!

There are plenty of men who don't view porn at work.
There are plenty of women who are qualified for the porn viewer's jobs too!

Posted by: 10bestfan | March 9, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Watching porn at work is the STUPIDEST thing anyone could do, male or female. The idea that your employer "won't find out" is idiotic.

These people need to be fired not because of WHAT they were doing, but the fact that they couldn't put together 2+2 and realize the consequences. This is inability to think analytically writ large, and anyone who can't connect the dots in this situation doesn't deserve to be working for the SEC.

Posted by: mwashington2 | March 9, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Please do note that these were not federal workers, but contractors. The agency cannot fire them; their companies can.

Posted by: lavd46 | March 9, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The lead to this story states, "The 33 Securities and Exchange Commission employees and contractors...", so it is a mix of both. The inability to get details cited in the article prevents us from knowing how many of each.

Nevertheless, you can be sure that both the employees and the contractors signed an "Internet usage agreement, virtually all of which prohibit this kind of behavior. Breach of this would be solid grounds for dismissal.

Certainly, no contracting agency would be obligated to continue working with people who violated this agreement and essentially committed theft of services (internet time/resources) for these purposes.

Posted by: mwashington2 | March 9, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

the fact that the lame IT dept. permits this access is appalling. how much of my $$ paid workers, gov or gov-hired, to watch porn.
disgusting.
fire them, hire some unemployed women - the real victims of the recession. the sense of entitlement, disreagard for professional standards and "plenty of time on my hands" 'tude is revolting.
downsize gov, starting with these dopes or the people "supervising" them. and the IT dorks who are clueless (or maybe in on it also...)

Posted by: FloridaChick | March 9, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I used to work for a contractor at a government facility. Accessing pornography on a government computer was automatic firing for contractor employees. I saw it happen.

Posted by: Chippewa | March 9, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Viewing porn at work can land you in trouble with the ugliest 99 percent of the female population. I'm not convinced that porn is any worse a waste of time than any other non-work internet activity.

Posted by: blasmaic | March 9, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Why so many contractors someone asked?

Well, it's the game the GOP plays .. you cut off the heads of lower paid, government workers, then cite the absence of things getting done, then allow funds for the hiring of more friends ..errr..contractors to fill the gap (ie, generate very important 'deliverables'). Want to shink the government, start at the Beltway and eat inward. They're largely a dime a dozen.

Posted by: tslats | March 9, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

10bestfan I have never intentionally viewed porn at work, because its gross to view it at work, and it could get me fired.

Why would that ever be acceptable?

Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | March 9, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Why does anyone think these workers would be fired for wasting tax money watching porn?

Who got fired for allowing September 11th to happen?

Who got fired for Katrina mismanagement?

Who got fired for saying there were WMD's in Iraq?

Who got fired for letting Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac collapse?

Who got fired for BP oil spill?

Posted by: pmendez | March 9, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse


Hours? Those guys must not get bored easily. It reminds me of my favorite Onion headline:

"Pornography-Desensitized Populace Demands New Orifice To Look At"

Posted by: edbyronadams | March 9, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Y'all making the baby Jesus cry!

Posted by: MarilynManson | March 9, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

First, what kind of a nitwit is watching porn at work? What can they possibly do with it unless they are in a private office with the door locked. I'm not against porn, but I'm against my tax money going to waste. The earlier posters were right, the IT dept. can make it hard to even get to those sites. They should be doing that. And the workers who were caught should be fired.

Posted by: tojo45 | March 9, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Global financial reforms are long overdue. And the mega-banks had to be stabilized, they are too interconnected in the financial system we are all dependent on. Now they should be broken up into smaller pieces so that they are never again "too big to fail".

- Balkingpoints / www

Posted by: Reg373 | March 9, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"If every man who viewed porn at work or went to NSFW sites were fired, there will be no men left in any office in America. As long as they were not doing other things while watching the porn, let it go with a warning."

hebe1 Said "Um, really? Every man does this? Or just you and few other slackers?"

No, not everyman... but certainly not you self-righteous wanna-be christians with your 16th century mentality and evangelism spew that has infested the whole republican pary and has cancer'd to the tea party. Certainly not any of you pricks!

Posted by: spankyfrost | March 9, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Aside from knowing two federal employees who received promotions within a year of being nailed for viewing porn during work hours, IT insiders say porn sites were the first stops when the government converted from typewriters to PCs with Internet access.

If the feds want it stopped, they need to consult with China's Peoples' Republic Google-Stoppers to learn how to plug-off the sites.

Posted by: clitteigh | March 10, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

"Has the SEC ever heard of a "firewall".

Is there a reason they can't simply block access to time-wasting sites?"

My agency did it, and did it very well.

Posted by: ceebee2 | March 10, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

May be they were investigating the Playboy.

I can't believe their salary numbers.

Posted by: nevercheck | March 10, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

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