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WASHINGTON — If any White House official, “from the chief of staff
on down,” has downloaded pornography on government computers, they
“ought to be fired,” the head of White House personnel told
WorldNetDaily in response to Wednesday’s exclusive story about
widespread Web-porn use in the White House.
first reported Wednesday in WorldNetDaily, a Y2K contractor early last year discovered that White House staffers were downloading hard-core pornographic video files from the Internet.
The videos — featuring gay, teen and bestial sex acts — made up the majority of traffic coming into the Internet firewall that protects the White House computer network.
White House security was called in and an ensuing investigation traced the illicit activities back to “dozens” of staffers and some officials in the White House Office and the Office of Administration, sources who worked on the investigation told WorldNetDaily.
Several contractors, including some from Northrop Grumman Corp., also were busted, sources say. The contractors were forced to leave the White House.
“We’ve had some occasional transgressions by some people here,” White House spokesman Joe Lockhart confirmed in response to questions from the Washington Post, which picked up the WorldNetDaily story in its Thursday edition.
“They’ve been disciplined,” Lockhart added, “and it’s been made quite clear to everyone what the rules are.”
Porn filters were added to block employee access to the porn sites, but only after the February 1999 discovery of massive porn downloads.
Lockhart claimed that he “was told” West Wing personnel were not involved in the cyber-porn scandal.
But several habitual porn downloaders, including a senior West Wing aide and one senior OA manager who confessed to being a porn “addict,” were allowed to stay in their jobs, say the White House sources, who wished to go unnamed.
“The contractors took the hit, not the government employees,” said one White House worker.
“Anyone who does something like that ought to be fired,” said Bob Nash, assistant to the president and director of the personnel office, in an interview with WorldNetDaily.
“It shouldn’t happen,” added Nash, who says he’s never surfed the Web for porn and doesn’t even know how to download. “Anyone who uses government time and computers to do that ought to be fired — whoever it is. Anybody. Starting from the chief of staff on down. Anybody.”
Nash said he “never heard about any of this” last year during the porn sting.
But he says he wouldn’t have been notified because he deals more with recruiting staffers than managing them. He referred questions as to why guilty officials might have gone unpunished to Mark Lindsay, assistant to the president and director of management and administration.
Lindsay did not return calls.
Attempts to reach Sidney Blumenthal, assistant to the president for communications, for comment also were unsuccessful. He did not return calls.
Several White House officials were involved in the cyber-porn investigation last year. Attempts to get them to discuss the scandal on the record were unsuccessful. Many said they can’t talk about it, and have been told that all questions must be directed to the press office.
The officials include White House Security Officer Charles Easley, Information Systems and Technology branch chiefs James Wright and Terry Misich, former IS&T director Dorothy Cleal and White House computer and phone security expert Jaime Borrego.
Cleal, now working for contractor SRA International Inc., did not respond to requests to talk about the investigation, which involved tasking computer operators from her division to help with the forensics of tracing the porn data on the firewall logs back to White House network users.
Instead, an SRA spokeswoman Thursday called to say that the White House has asked SRA not to comment on the cyber-porn scandal — even though Cleal no longer works for the White House.
“They have asked us to refer any press inquiries directly to the press office,” said Laura Luke, SRA’s director of corporate communications.
Asked why a private company is letting the White House dictate its communications policy, Luke says it’s merely acting out of “respect” for a client.
“They’re our client and we respect our client’s wishes,” she said.
SRA is the subcontractor on a more than $8-million court-ordered White House project to restore some million missing White House e-mails under subpoena.