Why Will This FBI Agent Not Be Prosecuted for Child Porn?

We don’t know why the Department of Justice declined to prosecute the supervisory FBI analyst who “knowingly possessed child pornography” in violation of federal law. We don’t know how many images he or she possessed. We don’t know the identity of the child or children who were exploited for the sexual gratification of this FBI supervisory analyst. We don’t know what vile sex acts the child was coerced into performing. We don’t know whether the supervisory FBI analyst supervised cases involving child pornography or whether he or she steered law enforcement away from criminals with similar tendencies.

We don’t know the supervisory analyst’s name. The Justice Department is protecting the supervisory analyst from embarrassment. He/she will not be “perp walked” from his/her office. He/she will not spend a day in jail. He/she will not need to testify. Swarms of blue windbreakers will not crash through his/her front door. He/she will not be required to register as a sex offender. Parents allowing their children to play near his/her house will know nothing of his/her sexual appetite for children.

Federal law prohibits the possession of “visual depictions” of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. We don’t know the circumstances of the possession of this child pornography. But the Justice Department inspector general’s public notice raises the inference that the FBI supervisory analyst went to the trouble of downloading the image or images for repeated viewing.

Child pornographers profit from customers. There is no profit in exploitation of a child without a market for illicit images. Thus the same statute that criminalizes the use of children in pornographic media makes it illegal to purchase and possess the material. Each image of a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct could result in a sentence of up to 10 years and up to 20 for pre-pubescent victims.

But that criminal statute, like all others, appears to come with an invisible asterisk: “except when the offender works for the Justice Department.”

As the Justice Department’s own website notes:

[V]ictims of child pornography suffer not just from the sexual abuse inflicted upon them to produce child pornography, but also from knowing that their images can be traded and viewed by others worldwide. Once an image is on the Internet, it is irretrievable and can continue to circulate forever. The permanent record of a child´s sexual abuse can alter his or her life forever. Many victims of child pornography suffer from feelings of helplessness, fear, humiliation, and lack of control given that their images are available for others to view in perpetuity.

The images of children having sex survive indefinitely on the internet leading to long-term shame and psychological harm. A recent study of the productive and active trading of child sexual exploitation images found that the trend has whetted an appetite for increasingly “egregious” sexual conduct with many of the cases originating with sexual exploitation by the child’s trusted family member. According to this study, prepubescent children are at the greatest risk to be depicted. When boys are victimized, they are much more likely than girls to be subjected to very explicit or egregious abuse.

Yet the Department of Justice offers near-immunity to its employees, including those in the FBI, when they are found to have committed crimes for which most citizens would be prosecuted.

Investigative journalist Eric Felten recently surveyed the decisions to refrain from prosecuting these privileged members of our society. In just one year, 2019, the Justice Department’s inspector general issued 27 reports of alleged wrongdoing by officials and employees within the velvet rope of the upper-tier of our two-tiered system of justice.

Justice officials received no criminal sanction for many of the same crimes it has invoked to put so many lower-tier citizens in prison: “making false claims on mortgage documents, to lack of candor with federal investigators,” and sexual assault.

“In at least a dozen of those cases,” Felton noted, “the inspector general determined that the wrongdoing was serious enough to be criminal. Even so, the Department of Justice declined to bring criminal charges.”

This supervisory FBI analyst, whomever he or she might be, is entitled to a presumption of innocence. But the public has an interest in an FBI that observes and is subject to the same laws it’s charged with enforcing.

Had this agent been prosecuted, it might have led to the uncovering of a black market broker peddling these images. A legitimate law enforcement agency might have followed the links in the network until it reached an ongoing operation victimizing new children every day. We don’t know whether yet another Department of Justice cover-up to protect its own might have prolonged the sexual exploitation of a voiceless child.

Enough is enough. The Justice Department has demonstrated beyond all doubt that it cannot be trusted to police its own. Immunizing Justice employees from prosecution needs to come to an end. It’s too cozy. It’s too incestuous. It’s corrupt. America can do better.

About Adam Mill

Adam Mill is a pen name. He works in Kansas City, Missouri as an attorney specializing in labor and employment and public administration law. He graduated from the University of Kansas and has been admitted to practice in Kansas and Missouri. Mill has contributed to The Federalist, American Greatness, and The Daily Caller.

Photo: Nes/Getty Images

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