Government’s Undercover Website Suspended Because Of Illicit Content
March 14, 2011 by Special To Personal Liberty
An online sting operation perpetrated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been shut down due to public concern regarding its content.
The Smoking Gun (TSG), a news provider that investigates criminal activity, reported that the Precious Treasure Holiday Company (PTHC) website was recently suspended by its Massachusetts-based web hosting firm. The site portrayed an agency that offered trips from the United States to Canada during which clients could engage in sexual activity with minors.
TSG reported that the government launched PTHC last year in an effort to identify and prosecute pedophiles. The media outlet added that the DHS' undercover website led to the conviction of at least one defendant on felony charges, resulting in a 20-year prison sentence. In addition, another man has been accused of conspiring to transport an 8-year-old from Canada to America with the intention of engaging in sexual activity.
Jason Crawford, an account executive with the web hosting firm, told the news source that his company suspended PTHC after fielding complaints about its content. Crawford claimed he was unaware that the site was created by the DHC, adding that if the site is found to contain child pornography, the FBI will be contacted.
Meanwhile, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano recently requested an increase in Federal funding in order to keep pace with evolving cyber security threats. Last week, she urged lawmakers to allocate $57 billion to the agency in fiscal year 2012, which is an increase from the $56.3 billion that was proposed by President Barack Obama.
“The threats we face pose new challenges that require an innovative and focused response,” said Napolitano.