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The Champion

November 2017 , Page 20 

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Inside ‘Operation Pacifier’ and the FBI’s Global Computer Hacking

By Colin Fieman

In February and March 2015, the FBI became the world’s largest distributor of child pornography on the internet.1 As part of a global sting operation with the perverse name “Operation Pacifier,” the FBI seized a website called Playpen, transferred it to a government server in Virginia, and used it as a launching pad for the largest known law enforcement computer hacking campaign in U.S. history. In the process, the FBI posted tens of thousands of pictures of child abuse and distributed (according to conservative estimates) at least 1,000,000 illicit pictures and videos. As one federal judge recently found, “[i]t is easy to conclude that the government acted outrageously” during this operation, and these actions “placed any [Department of Justice] lawyer involved in jeopardy” for violating the law and rules of professional conduct.2 

Many facts surrounding Operation Pacifier are still emerging or may never be uncovered, despite ongoing litigation in dozens of cases aris

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