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In a shock revelation, US media have revealed that federal quangocrats at the National Science Foundation (NSF) have been browsing outrageous amounts of porn at work.

In an "exclusive" culled largely from publicly-available documents and congressional testimony, the The Washington Times (the paper perhaps most famous for being owned by the Moonies) yesterday blew the lid off the possibly endemic smut-hungry shenanigans among the NSF's 1,200 employees.

Employee misconduct investigations, often involving workers accessing pornography from their government computers, grew sixfold last year inside the taxpayer-funded foundation ...

The problems at the National Science Foundation (NSF) were so pervasive they swamped the agency's inspector general and forced the internal watchdog to cut back on its primary mission of investigating grant fraud ...

Yes indeed. In fact, further down the piece, TWaT reveals that the load on the inspector general has actually tripled from just three misconduct cases in 2006 to a shocking ten last year - with fully seven involving pornography. Internal disciplinary cases possibly involving workplace smut-surfing - not involving the inspector-general's office - have seen another employee fired, one suspended and action pending against a third.

In just one case, a senior staff member was said to have spent "at least 331 days looking at pornography on his government computer and chatting online with nude or partially clad women". It wasn't clear whether this included lavatory breaks, or whether (perhaps understandably) time spent in the loos by the filth-fancying federal timewaster had been included as related to the case.

This one individual's porn surfing, according to investigators, had somehow cost the US taxpayer "between $13,800 and about $58,000".

No estimate was offered of the amount of taxpayer money the investigations had cost, or the possible further losses resulting from investigators being retasked from looking into grant fraud onto office porn crusades.

TWaT did note that:

The foundation is hardly the only government agency to be embarrassed by disclosures about employees looking at pornography at work.

The inspector general for the Securities and Exchange Commission noted in a report last fall that it had recently conducted three investigations into employees who misused government computers to view pornography.

Nearly 4,000 people work at the SEC.

News also emerged yesterday of a growing ursine effluent problem menacing woodlands across America. Rumours of the Pope converting to Buddhism were said to have been exaggerated. ®

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