FBI recruits for "War on Porn"

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Last month, the FBI's Washington Field Office began an internal recruitment drive to staff a new anti-obscenity squad. The job of the new squad would be to gather evidence against the "manufacturers and purveyors" of pornography, and would require eight agents, a supervisor and assorted support help. The squad would not be concerned with child pornography, but instead focus on pornography that depicts, and is marketed to, consenting adults. The squad would target bestiality, urination, defecation, and sadomasochistic behavior, which have a high rate of conviction in jury trials.

The initiative is described as "one of the top priorities" of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, as well as FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III. Gonzales has said that "adult pornography is a threat to families and children." Christian groups, such as the Family Research Council who have criticized Gonzales for what they consider his weak stance on abortion, welcomed the initiative with "a growing sense of confidence in our new attorney general."

Historians have criticized past FBI policies for focusing resources on cases which are easy to solve, especially stolen car cases, with the intent of boosting the agency's success rate. Congress began funding the obscenity initiative in fiscal 2005 and specified that the FBI must devote 10 agents to adult pornography.

The adult pornography initiative is seen as a "running joke" by many agents at larger offices which usually focus on national security, technology crimes, and public corruption.

Hard-core pornography is seen as far more mainstream today, partly due to its availability on DirecTV, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., and on in-room television offerings at the Sheraton, Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt hotel chains. Such companies are referred to as "white-collar pornographers" by Christian groups.