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Investigator's Report Shows Dozens of Defense Employees Picked Up in Child Porn Sting

Several dozen Pentagon officials and contractors have been accused of -- and in some cases were convicted of -- purchasing and downloading child pornography on government computers, the Department of Defense's inspector general's office disclosed in documents released Friday. 

The investigation that led prosecutors to these government workers was actually part of a larger Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency sting called Operation Flicker, aimed at identifying individuals who paid money over the Internet to access child pornography overseas, according to the inspector general's office.

That sweep collected information on more than 5,000 people in 60 undercover stings involving 18 child porn websites. Among those were several dozen who worked for Pentagon intelligence services.

Offenders include people with highly sensitive security clearances who have the potential to blackmail the government using closely held military and intelligence secrets, according to the documents released. Some of the people involved have such high-level clearance, identifying characteristics about them were blacked out in the report.

Among those investigated are employees of the National Security Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and other offices at the Defense Department. 

"Some are in high-ranking positions, in positions of trust," John Sheehan, executive director of the exploited child division at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, told The Boston Globe, the first newspaper to report the IG's conclusions. The center has been consulted, which has reviewed 36 million images of alleged child pornography since 2002 at the request of law enforcement agencies, consulted the government as part of the investigation. 

"There isn't a profile or stereotype, which makes it even more challenging for law enforcement," Sheehan said. 

Click here to read the IG's report.

Click here to read the Boston Globe report.

Fox News' Justin Fishel contributed to this report.