- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 1, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I have a few problems with your story about pornography access at the National Science Foundation (“Porn surfing prolific at science foundation,” Page 1, Tuesday).

To begin with, if dealing with seven cases of employees looking at porn (out of 1,200 employees) in a year has, as your story says, significantly cut into the investigation of grant fraud, either the inspector general’s priorities are seriously wrong or he does not devote much time to fraud.

Second, the story does not say over what period of time this senior official looked at pornography sites over the course of 331 days. One would infer one year, but if he took no leave at all - and I would expect a senior official to have 26 leave days in a year - there are only 249 federal weekdays in a year. The man would have to work all Saturdays and three Sundays.

Lastly, the identification of porn sites can be problematic. Google Groups, for instance, gives access to written pornography and also to a group discussing classic ghost stories, to which I have posted more than 300 times (although not on a government computer), and to forums on computer-programming problems, which I have accessed from a government computer. They have many other legitimate areas, too. I question whether someone checking up on me would have seen anything but googlegroups.com.

MARK OWINGS

Baltimore

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