National Security

FBI analyst fired for alleged possession of child pornography after watchdog investigation

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The FBI has fired a supervisory intelligence analyst (SIA) after an internal watchdog investigation concluded that the official had knowingly possessed and viewed child pornography, the Justice Department Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announced Tuesday.

The watchdog in a press release said it began its investigation after receiving information from the FBI that the analyst had revealed during a “routine FBI security inquiry” that the person had viewed and downloaded child pornography from the internet several years earlier.

“Based on the SIA’s statements during the security interview, the OIG investigation concluded that the SIA had knowingly possessed child pornography, in violation of federal law and FBI policy,” the press release reads.

The analyst, whose name and gender were omitted in the press release, denied ever receiving or sending child pornography, the watchdog said.

As part of the investigation, both the analyst’s personal and FBI-issued devices were forensically examined, during which pornographic images were discovered on the individual’s personal devices, according to the release.

These images were then sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which was among one of the steps the inspector general took to establish whether such images represented child pornography.

The watchdog office, which is led by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, did not determine that any of the images were “evidence of child pornography” but the analyst’s comments during their security review led them to conclude the person had been in possession of such content, the release says.

As the investigation was underway, the FBI fired the analyst and the DOJ has declined to prosecute the official. 

“The SIA was summarily dismissed by the FBI while the OIG investigation was pending,” the release says.

“Prosecution of the SIA was declined. The OIG has completed its investigation and provided its report to the FBI,” it continues.

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