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NSF Porn Accusations Resurface

September 16, 2010

Workers at the National Science Foundation (NSF) may still be using agency computers to view pornography on government time, according to various media reports Wednesday.

In a press release distributed through the AVN Media Network, author Tom Hymes states that Grassley claims the NSF “isn’t doing enough to curb illicit viewing of porn at work.”

“For the second time in two months, Grassley has fired off a letter to the agency, letting them know that anonymous sources within the bureaucracy have let him know that people are still watching porn on NSF computers and that the filters installed to curb the problem are not working, and even when they do, people find ways to work around them by embedding sexual images in PowerPoint presentations, where traditional web filters don’t work,” Hymes adds.

According to Jim McElhatton of The Washington Times, three unnamed whistleblowers have come forward with the claims. The sources also state that the agency may not be dolling out equal punishment for those caught viewing pornography, as higher-ranking officials have reportedly received more severe discipline than lower-level NSF employees.

“Based upon information provided to me, it appears that despite your representations and assurances, NSF staff continues to engage in inappropriate behavior,” Grassley wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Politico and is the subject of a recent story by staff reporter Tony Romm.

Furthermore, he also says that he was informed by one of the whistleblowers that the agency only started collecting the names of porn-policy offenders after they received a letter from him in August–a letter in which the Senator pointed out alleged flaws in the NSF’s filtering technology.

“NSF spokeswoman Maria Zacharias on Wednesday said the foundation handed down appropriate disciplinary measures within the guidelines of the foundation’s administrative system,” writes McElhatton. “She said the pornography problems, which surfaced in 2008, have been fixed.”

According to Hymes, Glassley has requested a meeting with NSF officials by September 28.

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