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HHS Security Director Sentenced to 25 Years for Tor-Network-Based CP

The porn sites he’s accused of using—including one called PedoBook—were hosted on servers in Nebraska and run by Aaron McGrath, who has already been convicted for his role in the sites (Arrested in “Operation TorPedo”).At least 28,000 files were available to users of PedoBook; registered users shared more than 100,000 messages, the publication reported.

According to Wired:

The FBI seized the sites in late 2012, after McGrath failed to secure his administrative account with a password. Agents were able to log in and uncover the IP address of the Nebraska server where he was hosting two of them. McGrath worked at the server farm, and hosted the third site from his home. The FBI monitored him for a year and after arresting him in November 2012 continued to operate his child porn sites secretly from a federal facility in Omaha for several weeks before shutting them down. During this time, they monitored the private communications of DeFoggi and others and engaged in “various investigative techniques…to defeat the anonymous browsing technology afford by the Tor network” and identify the real IP addresses of users.

(It was recently discovered that the FBI were using Metasploit)

Full details were published on Justice.gov:

Five Others Previously Sentenced to Substantial Prison Terms for Participation in the Same Tor-Network-Based Child Pornography Website

The former acting director of cyber security at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison today for engaging in a child exploitation enterprise and related charges in connection with his membership in a Tor-network-based child pornography website.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Deborah R. Gilg of the District of Nebraska and Special Agent in Charge Thomas R. Metz of the FBI’s Omaha Division made the announcement.

“Using the same technological expertise he employed as Acting Director of Cyber Security at HHS, DeFoggi attempted to sexually exploit children and traffic in child pornography through an anonymous computer network of child predators,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “But dangerous criminals cannot be allowed to operate on-line with impunity.  Today’s sentence shows that the Department of Justice will bring criminals and child predators to justice, even when they employ anonymous networks like Tor.”

“Today’s sentence and the others imposed earlier demonstrate that those who exploit children will be aggressively pursued and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney Gilg.  “Those who think they are acting anonymously on the Internet will be found and held accountable.”

“The production and distribution of child pornography is one of the most saddening, tragic crimes the FBI investigates,” said Special Agent in Charge Metz.  “Today’s sentencing sends a message to those who advertise, distribute, possess, and trade child pornography that the FBI will look for you, will find you and will make sure you are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Timothy DeFoggi, 56, formerly of Germantown, Maryland, was convicted on Aug. 26, 2014, following a four-day jury trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp in the District of Nebraska of engaging in a child exploitation enterprise, conspiracy to advertise and distribute child pornography and accessing a computer with intent to view child pornography.

According to evidence presented at trial, DeFoggi registered as a member of the Tor-network-based child pornography website on March 2, 2012, and maintained his membership and activity until Dec. 8, 2012, when the website was taken down by the FBI.  The website’s users utilized advanced technological means in order to undermine law enforcement’s attempts to identify them.  The website was accessible only through Tor, an Internet application specifically designed to facilitate anonymous communication.  Acting under the cloak of anonymity, users advised others on best practices to prevent detection by law enforcement, including advice about the proper use of encryption software, techniques to hide or password-protect child pornography collections, and programs to remove data from a user’s computer.

Through the website, DeFoggi accessed child pornography, solicited child pornography from other members, and exchanged private messages with other members in which he expressed an interest in the violent rape and murder of children.  DeFoggi suggested meeting one member in person to fulfill their mutual fantasies to violently rape and murder children.

DeFoggi was the sixth individual to be convicted as part of an ongoing investigation targeting three Tor-network-based child pornography websites.  The websites were run by a single administrator, Aaron McGrath, who was previously convicted in the District of Nebraska of engaging in a child exploitation enterprise in connection with his administration of the websites.  On Jan. 31, 2014, McGrath was sentenced to 20 years in prison by Senior U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Bataillon.

Four other members of the same website as DeFoggi were previously convicted and sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Bataillon in connection with their illegal activity on the site:

  • Jason Flanary, then 42, formerly of Chicago, Illinois, the Philippines, and Guam, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on June 30, 2014.
  • Wesley Cameron, then 22, formerly of Ashford, Alabama, was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Oct. 24, 2014.
  • Zackary Austin, 28, formerly of Reno, Nevada, was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Nov. 6, 2014.
  • Charles MacMillan, 29, formerly of Rockville, Maryland, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Nov. 7, 2014.

These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

This case is a result of investigative efforts led by the FBI’s Omaha Field Office and the FBI’s Violent Crimes against Children Section, Major Case Coordination Unit, and Digital Analysis and Research Center.  The FBI was assisted in its investigation by Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, as well as members of the FBI’s Violent Crimes Against Children International Task Force.  This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Keith Becker and Sarah Chang of CEOS and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael P. Norris of the District of Nebraska.

Operation TorPedo affidavit:

10 comments

  1. Well, “live and learn”! But, who, exactly, were the victims in all of these crimes? Another debate for another time, but simply looking at existing images, however illicit they may be, is not, IMO, in the same category as creating new ones. Seems, once again, that the punishments being meted-out do not meet the crime. But, others, admittedly, will disagree.

    In any case, what can we learn from all of this? One, don’t use Tor from one’s home IP or any other IP which can be traced back to you! Of course, this means using the Tor Browser (or Tails) via an anonymous public Wi-Fi hotspot, spoofing one’s MAC address, using Tor’s obfuscating proxies, TrueCrypt 7.1a (with key files and a good, long passphrase), maintaining the physical security of one’s hardware at all times (which means keeping it powered down when not using it), etc., and never, ever underestimating the FBI’s capabilities, which are always improving. With respect to this last point, it also probably means keeping one’s Darknet profile to an absolute minimum, which means using some “language obfuscating” software (translators?) to cloak one’s identity and posting only when absolutely necessary.

    It’s “defense in depth” here folks, which means “eternal diligence,” and above all else, humility, and in the event of trouble (a raid), absolute silence.

    • So what you help distribute this stuff, produce it, hell even fap to it and you except to be given therapy or sympathy? I have heard it before “oh, we make sure the kid is never under any distress” and what ever else excuse you give but the simple fact of the matter is kids are not mentally adapt enough to understand the abuse you are making them go under and when they grow up they *may* sometimes realize the awful things you made them do… Lets also assume they weren’t hurt (ha ha fat chance), then they realize what you did and are ok with it (lol sure, sure thats why they just ‘love’ talking about how you made them do unspeakable things), ok so what happens when society finds out who that kid grew up to be?

      there are a lot of other consequences you pedo sympathizers have not thought about. for eg. (completely hypothetical) if bill cosby was used in a site like one of these and actually did rape a girl… shouldn’t bill cosby be given a free pass too, I mean if you are sick and then bill cosby is sick. then why not just let other people who abuse and hurt other people get away with their own sick perversions? (again that was all hypothetical Idk if bill cosby was touched or used or if he raped… but nothing is going his way lately)

      Lastly, why not use tor at home? they were probably caught because of the hosting provider. Openvz is a cancerous technology that needs to be eliminated for security’s sake and perhaps the safety of those who want to host actual legitimate tor hidden services.

    • those on here “mouthing off” abt pedos hvn’t got a fucking clue…
      first off: we don’t even know how fckn old the images were….
      for all any-one knows they could be *decades* old…and….from some other country..

      secondly…”catching pedos” is just a BS excuse for these control freak .gov maggots to control the internet…especially the Dark Web…..they’re not interested in “catching pedos”…..only in stopping people interfering with their international drug trade and from arming them-selves to defend them-selves against these mongrel, fucking dog bastard .gov psychopaths…..and/or from getting bodg’ ID to hide form their BS, Orwellian super-state gangster surveillance….

      uh…how TF do we even know these characters are “pedos”, eh?
      we only got the .gov/BS media “say so”….it could’v all been *planted* on them…you can’t believe any-thing that these mother-fucking government MAGGOTs tell you!

      uh….eh…..why TF would *real* pedos waste time looking @ pix of kids any-way, eh?

      they’d be doin’ wtf pedos have ALWAYS done….”chatting up” kids @ shopping malls, sporting events, fairs, amusement parks, cinemas, churches, Boy Scouts…..&c &c

      sheesh!…some of youse mother-fuckers are too fckn stoopid to live, eh?

  2. I am praying mightily for the rapid and violent demise to any person abusing a child. If your mind is that sick, please kill it.

  3. “DeFoggi suggested meeting one member in person to fulfill their mutual fantasies to violently rape and murder children”

    I hope they rape and kill him in jail

  4. Gives a bad name to Darknet

    Why did they get prison sentences?I lie to people to get money, which is not serious of a crime at all when objectively viewed.I do it because I am desperate for money and cannot find a job to life off.THESE beasts in the shape of human beings don’t do this shit because they have to.These guys can’t be rehabilitated,put them under permanent state of torture and then burn them to death.They are beasts.Why did they get prison sentences? There is no possiblilty to rehabilitate, same goes for serial killers who do it out of enjoyment.It is one thing if you use drugs, which isn’t even a criminal act since no one gets hurt,sell drugs because you are not smart enough to commit fraud,or commit fraud to escape poverty from the Capatalist system.But trying to violently rape and murder the weakest of the weak…Jesus Fucking Christ mate. I do not support prison sentence for these beasts that wear clothing.Poorly thought out sentence.There is no rehabilitation.

  5. DeFoggi was not convicted for any sort of child abuse. He did not physically abuse any children. His only crime was simply viewing already existing images of child pornography. The following images are also publicly available:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pirate_Bay#Autopsy_photos

    Equally disgusting, IMO, as any child porn, but still, legal. Question is, what images should a free society tolerate? And, what should the Deep Web tolerate. which operates solely in the name of Freedom?

  6. Why the hell should we pay taxes for these scumbags? Just kill them, they don’t deserve to live.

  7. Watchers and producers of CP : delusional, sadistic, and misogynistic. They view women and children as property for their sexual pleasure. I’ve been to forums/blogs of pedos and they discuss strong hatred for women wishing to kill them. They also mock women who were raped as a child, claim that if they became father’s they would let other men rape their daughters if the daughter got permission first, blame adult women voters and razing the age of consent, claim that pedos can’t hurt or give stds to kids ( mind you that is a lie and they clearly forget that HPV is not detectable cable on males and males can be the carriers of disease that don’t show symptoms nor effective them by cause harm to female body), the they wish they could kill women, claim that all men want little girls despite what he says etc.

    CP watchers claim that kids aren’t being hurt. However knowing law enforcement CP contains kids being beaten, forced to eat/drink human waste, mutilated, experience injuries from brutal rapes, etc. Only those who view children as things for sexual pleasure and have no conscience can claim kids aren’t being hurt. Additionally I sure they don’t realize that if these kids are killed or don’t commit suicide they become adults. How many adults think “I loved making cp and I hope people continue to enjoy it” Rather law enforcement deals with parents and kids (who are teenagers or adults) that don’t like the fact their are people enjoying videos of their sexual assault. However pedos never mention those people nor do they seem to care that kids are being abused and even killed for their enjoyment.

    Very few pedos are safe or responsible people. Pedos usually blame others for their choices to rape and act as if they can so no wrong. They also don’t know much about the female reproductive system but yet make sure false claims as if they are facts. Finally they play the “woe is me card” as if people are supposed to feel bad they can rape kids.

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