NASA system found child porn on exec's office computer

The Smoking Gun story on NASA raid

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A monitoring system on NASA’s network helped reveal that a NASA executive was using his office computer to trade and view child pornography, according to a search warrant affidavit posted on The Smoking Gun Web site.

On Friday, Smoking Gun reported that NASA’s Washington headquarters was raided Wednesday as part of a child porn probe targeting James R. Robinson, a GS-15 program executive for the In-Space Propulsion, Mission and Systems Management Division.

NASA’s “skin tone filtering system captured Robinson’s Internet Protocol address viewing images depicting child pornography,” according to NASA’s affidavit.

Officials from the NASA Inspector General’s Office requested a search warrant to seize a laptop computer, a hard drive, CDs and other material from Robinson’s office, according to The Smoking Gun.

Robinson’s activity was initially discovered through an online undercover operation conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. After tracing exchanges of child pornography files back to Robinson’s home and office computers, the Postal inspectors referred the matter to the NASA OIG to investigate.

Paul Danley, a special agent assigned to the OIG’s Computer Crimes Division, filed the search warrant affidavit last Tuesday, citing the Postal investigation and a review of NASA’s own internal network. Danley’s division oversees criminal investigations of intrusions into NASA’s phone, Internet and space systems networks.

Danley’s signed search warrant affidavit, copied on The Smoking Gun site, states that Robinson’s work IP address was used to view 67 images “that depicted two young, apparently pre-pubescent females. . .mostly nude” in sexual poses. “The [NASA] logs recorded this activity on January 3, 2006, between 16:00 and 16:06.”

The filtering system also found 122 images captured on Jan. 9 from what appeared to be a Yahoo Photos Web site. All images depicted nude young girls.

The affidavit states that a staff analyst with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children who reviewed the NASA and Postal inspectors’ findings disclosed that a pornographic movie file viewed by Robinson contained a child victim who has been identified by law enforcement.

NASA OIG officials would not comment.

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