OT - White House porn junkies, a potential security breach.greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
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Two stories are included here.
Web-porn scandal rocks White House West Wingers downloaded gay, bestial, teen sex videos, jamming firewallsystem
WASHINGTON -- A consultant hired last year to beef up security for the White House's computer network found massive pornographic video files passing through the system's Internet firewall, WorldNetDaily has learned.
Some of the downloaded files were traced back to West Wing officials as recently as the beginning of last year, during the height of the impeachment crisis, say sources who were involved in replacing the firewall system as part of Y2K security upgrades.
The real-time video files -- which came from hard-core porn sites featuring homosexual, farm-animal and teen sex acts -- were so large in byte volume that they accounted for most of the traffic coming into the firewall, sources told WorldNetDaily.
All Internet links and e-mail must first pass through the firewall before coming into the local area network for the Executive Office of the President and on to individual network users. The firewall system is designed to screen Internet traffic for messages containing network-crippling viruses.
A Y2K computer consultant in early 1999 discovered the unusually large volume of porn-site traffic coming into the White House while reviewing the firewall logs.
A White House computer specialist recalled the reaction of one of the contractors at the time.
"He started to laugh and said, 'It looks like the majority of traffic going through the firewall is pornography,'" said the White House employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Both President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore have denounced cyber-porn and have pushed so-called "E-chips" to block the Internet's "purveyors of pornography," as Gore called them last year.
White House cyber-security experts have asked WorldNetDaily to withhold the name of the Y2K contractor that upgraded the firewall system, arguing that disclosing the information would tip off hackers to the security software the White House is using and make it easier for them to breach the network. WorldNetDaily agreed to reveal only that the company is based in California.
The firewall logs show the uniform resource locator, or URL (basically the Web zip code), of the porn sites from which the videos (MOVs) and still-graphics (JPEGs and GIFs) were downloaded.
"There were things that said 'teen,'" the White House computer expert said. "There was gay and bestiality stuff too."
Bestiality? "Donkeys, goats, dogs," explained the source, who later accessed some of the raunchier sites. "It's embarrassing."
Upon the discovery of the heavy XXX-rated traffic, White House security specialists undertook a "forensics" effort to ID the White House network users who were downloading -- and watching -- the videos on government computers and time.
Investigators, including White House Security Officer Charles Easley, looked at a number of variables to separate the habitual from the accidental Web-porn surfers. They scanned firewall logs over several weeks so they could see the repeat offenders. They also zeroed in on the large-byte files.
What they found was shocking.
"There were some significant names. I can say, yes, West Wing," said one White House source familiar with the investigation. "There were women too."
Many of the offenders also officed out of the Old Executive Office Building, including presidential personnel, sources say. One was in national security.
One of the worst offenders, however, was a senior White House computer-systems manager, who was reprimanded but allowed to stay in the White House after being treated for an "addiction" to porn. Sources say the porn abuser is so sensitive to the possibility of public exposure that he would likely take his own life if his name were disclosed here.
Security experts weren't just worried about the bandwidth-eating Web videos slowing down the White House computer network for legitimate business, or bringing a "Trojan horse" virus into the system. They also feared they could open up White House officials to blackmail from outsiders looking to access the network.
"It's a potential security risk," said one White House insider. "A hacker could call up an official and say, 'I have evidence you've been downloading kiddy porn. Give me your network passcode, or else.'"
The Internet-linked network is unclassified (although another, classified network exists in the White House), but most everything on it is still sensitive.
At any given time it may contain secret agendas for high-level meetings over trade and other policies, for example, or advance data from unpublished economic reports. Such information is potentially valuable to anyone from foreign diplomats looking for geopolitical leverage to stock traders looking for an edge.
By February 1999, after the California contractor had replaced the old firewall and alerted officials to the cyber-porn problem, White House computer specialists set up filters to block employee access to the porn sites.
Officials could have installed filters on the old Internet firewall, but never did -- except in the case of one site, an X-rated spoof of the official White House site. (Last year, a New Jersey man who says he accidentally logged onto the unofficial White House site in a public library, was escorted off by police and banned from the library.)
According to White House insiders, White House guidelines for proper computer use by employees prohibit using them for profit, but do not specifically restrict using them to access Internet pornography.
Last year an Internet porn policy was submitted to White House lawyers, but was not instated as part of any global policy, sources say.
In 1997, Clinton and Gore announced a "strategy for a family friendly Internet" which included proposing the distribution of "E-chip" technology for filtering cyber-porn.
"We all know and we've heard the horror stories about the inappropriate material for children that can be found on the Internet," Clinton said during the July 16, 1997, press conference.
The event's press release said: "The president emphasized that government (has) an important role to play in achieving the goal of a family friendly Internet."
"The President made clear that the administration remains committed to the vigorous enforcement of federal prohibitions against the transmission of child pornography and obscenity over the Internet," the release added, "and the use of the Internet by pedophiles to entice children to engage in sexual activity."
Last year, Gore encouraged parents to "restrict their children's e-mail contact to keep the potential predators at bay -- purveyors of pornography."
He said they must be protected from "red light districts in cyberspace."
The White House has resisted requests from Congress, a federal court and other investigators to turn over Internet firewall logs -- which are stored on emergency back-up tapes -- in response to subpoenas for missing e-mail sent to West Wing officials over the Internet. Incoming e-mail also travels through the firewall.
White House lawyers have argued that the logs don't include the contents of the e-mail, just the "to" and "from," and therefore would not be helpful to investigators. Besides, they claim, only the past several months worth of firewall logs are stored on back-up tapes; previous tapes of logs are recycled.
Besides incoming e-mails, the tapes of the 1998 and 1999 firewall logs also recorded the massive volume of porn traffic going into the White House network over that period, sources say.
ALL THE PRESIDENT'S SCANDALS Porn downloaders 'ought to be fired'
White House personnel chief condemns abuse of government time and computers
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.
As 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.
Read Web-porn scandal rocks White House: West Wingers downloaded gay, bestial, teen sex videos, jamming firewall system
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 12, 2000
Andrew Jackson had many scandals but nothing compares the William Jefferson Clinton.
Let the record show we did not boot him out of office when we had our chance, we're just as bad as he is - actually worse we could of fixed it, but instead choose to enjoy the path of riches on the way to pergatory. The road to hell is paved by good intentions, said my fortune cookie.
-- (email@example.com), August 12, 2000.
Your tax dollars at work! Meanwhile, Clinton vetos the death tax and marriage tax relief bills! I guess they need the extra money to pay staffers to watch porn. Every company I ever worked for would can you for this!
-- K (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 13, 2000.
"We all know and we've heard the horror stories
about the inappropriate material for children
that can be found on the Internet," Clinton said
during the July 16, 1997, press conference. "As
an example check out these sites that I've
-- spider (email@example.com), August 13, 2000.
This whole thing just wants to make me throw up. What next, from this, the most decanent White House in our nations's history?
-- Uncle Fred (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 13, 2000.
Clinton checked all this out - himself? What kind of story does that tell you?
-- Wayward (email@example.com), August 13, 2000.
Doesn't this give George W. Bush, more or less, the frosting on the cake in his campaingn to fumigate the White House? His words of help is on the way for our our armed forces have a greater ring of urgency to them.
-- QMan (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 13, 2000.
I don't know whether to cry or regurgitate.
Why isn't this story front page news?
-- LillyLP (lilyLP@aol.com), August 13, 2000.
It seems piety is everywhere these days in the mainstream meadia.
Can you imagine, if this were a Republican White House, the hue and cry that would go up from the left wing media--the New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Post, CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, Newsweek and Time Magazines? over these revelations? There would be nothing but headlines, headlines, and more headlines. The evening TV news would lead with this story days on end. The indignant self-righteousness would be everywhere--all over you in the news like lead cement.
It would be just like, if, say, Bush had selected Pat Robertson for his selection to be Vice President, and Robertson mentioned God once--just ONCE--in his acceptance speech. There would be no end to the "mixing of church and state" condemnations. (Never mind that Lieberman mentioned God 19 times in his acceptance of Gore's nomination--that was O.K.--"Oh, he's such a religious man.")
The double standard in our mainstream media is about as repugnant as "news" reporting can get.
-- JackW (email@example.com), August 13, 2000.