Cheating Site Logged Federal Subscribers with Sensitive Jobs

U.S. government employees with sensitive jobs in national security or law enforcement were among hundreds of federal workers found to be using government networks to access and pay membership fees to the cheating website Ashley Madison, The Associated Press has learned.

The list includes at least two assistant U.S. attorneys, an information technology administrator in the White House's support staff, a Justice Department investigator, a division chief, and a government hacker and counterterrorism employee at the Homeland Security Department. Others visited from networks operated by the Pentagon.

Federal policies vary by agency as to whether employees could visit websites during work hours like Ashley Madison, which could be considered akin to a dating website. But such use raises questions about what personal business is acceptable -- and what websites are OK to visit -- for U.S. workers on taxpayer time, especially those with sensitive jobs who could face blackmail.

Hackers this week released detailed records on millions of people registered with the website one month after the break-in at Ashley Madison's parent company, Toronto-based Avid Life Media Inc. The website -- whose slogan is, "Life is short. Have an affair" -- is marketed to facilitate extramarital affairs.

Few connecting from federal networks had listed government email accounts when subscribing. But the AP was able to trace their government Internet connections, logged by the website over five years and as recently as June. They encompass more than two dozen agencies, such as the departments of State, Justice, Energy, Treasury and Transportation. Others came from House or Senate computer networks.

Records also reveal subscribers signed up using state and municipal government networks nationwide, including those run by the New York Police Department, the nation's largest. "If anything comes to our attention indicating improper use of an NYPD computer, we will look into it and take appropriate action,"...

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