Transcript - The most embarrassing staff interview ever

Excruciating and embarrassing.

Detailed below is an edited transcript from an interview with a supervisor at US market regulator The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who was found to have attempted to access adult content on his work PC some 1,880 times during 17 working days in August / September, 2008.

The unidentified supervisor was formally interviewed by the SEC's Office of Inspector General, and the excruciating and embarrassing interview is now available following the public release of the documents.

There are absolutely no sexual images or anything inappropriate detailed here, but some of the subject matter is descriptive, cringeworthy and unintentionally hilarious - so be warned.

Edited Transcript

Q. 'OK. Now I need to ask you some other questions. Have you ever attempted to access a site (at work) and it gets blocked ?'

A. 'I have'.

Q. 'Did it get blocked for pornography ?'

A. 'It did'.

Q. 'OK. How much do you recall using your SEC computer and getting a message that your access to a site was blocked due to pornography ?'

A. 'I don't know if I can quantify that, but it has been numerous times, I think'.

Q. 'Our records show that on Wednesday, August 13th, 2008, beginning at 1.57pm, you made approximately 85 attempts to access a Website called Do you have any recollection of attempting to access this site ?'

A. 'I do not personally have recollection of it, but it would not surprise me'.

Q. 'Our records show that on Wednesday, August 20th, 2008 beginning at 3.17pm, you made approximately 385 attempts to access a Web called Do you have any recollection of attempting to access this site ?'

A. 'I do not. But as I indicated previously, that would not necessarily surprise me'.

Q. 'I'm going to show you what has been marked as Exhibit G. This is a record from that same date, August 20th, 2008, that Wednesday, which our records show you made over 300 attempts to access a Website called Do you have any recollection of attempting to access this site ?'

A. 'I do not have any specific recollection on this site'.

Q. 'OK. So would it be fair to say that it wouldn't surprise you to learn that for the time period beginning August 11th, 2008 and ending September 2nd, 2008, there were over 1,880 accessed denials for pornography from your SEC computer ?'.

A. 'I would not state that that is not a definitive possibility'.

Q. 'I'm just going to now show you some images that were obtained from the hard drive of your computer. Do you recall seeing these images ?

A. 'I do'.

Q. 'Did you save these images to your SEC computer ?'

A. 'I did'.

Q. 'OK. Do you view these images often ?'

A. 'I guess. Can you define 'often' ?

Q. 'Well, during the work day ?'

A. 'To my recollection, I don't know if I've ever broken away more than twice in a particular day to spend time looking at it'.

Q. 'When you say 'twice a day', as an example, would that be on a daily basis ?'

A. 'I don't think I would be truthful in saying it's every day. But I would say (it's) a fairly frequent occurence'.

Q. 'This exhibit contains numerous images that were found saved on your SEC computer in your 'My Documents' folder. Do you recall seeing these images before ?'

A. 'I do'.

Q. 'And do you recall saving these images to your SEC computer ?'.

A. 'I do'.

Q. 'Would you consider the images I just showed you that were saved on your SEC computer to be pornographic ?'

A. 'I would'.

Q. 'And do you consider the material found on your computer to be appropriate for work ?'

A. 'I do not'.

Q. 'And can you say how long you may have been engaged in viewing pornography ? Is it a recent development ?'

A. 'I think that the frequency increased as I felt a little more stressed, which was kind of cyclical in nature. I'd (sometimes) have work to do and then have to take it home. And that would stress me out even more'.

Q. 'You had mentioned something about having to take work home.

A. 'Uh-huh'.

Q. 'Would you say it's accurate that your viewing pornography would sometimes interfere with your work, and then you would have to take work home as a result of it ?'

A. 'I guess if I had spent (a little more time) working on that (his backlog), (then I would have spent) a little less time working at home'.

Q. 'Have you ever downloaded any videos that are pornographic in nature to your SEC computer ?'

A. 'I have not saved any videos, to my knowledge'.

Q. 'But you might have viewed videos ?'

A. 'Yes'.

Q. 'Have you ever downloaded any pornographic or sexually explicit software ?'

A. 'No'.

Q. 'Now is anyone else at the SEC aware that you had been accessing pornographic material from your SEC computer ?'

A. 'To my knowledge, no'.

Q. 'Is there a glass window beside your office door, so that someone can see into your office ?'

A. 'There is'.

Q. 'Would you say one of your computer monitor screens is visible from the door or window and one is not ?'

A. 'I'd say that's a fair characterization, yes'.

Q. 'Have you ever viewed materials such as these that are pornographic with the door open ?'

A. 'I do not believe so'.

Q. 'Have you ever had to shut down your computer or close Web sites quickly because someone was walking by, because you were looking at pornographic materials on your computer ?

A. 'I guess when I, you know, heard things. I felt scared and, yeah...'

Q. 'OK. When you were using your laptop on travel, did you access these sites ?'

A. 'Yes'.

Q. 'I'm sorry to ask this - Have you ever inadvertently viewed child pornography from your SEC computer ?'

A. 'No'.

Q. 'Are you aware of the rules of the road that prohibit using government computers to view pornographic or sexually explicit images ?'

A. 'Yes'.

Q. 'Do you wish to clarify or add anything to the statements that you've made today ?'

A. 'I want to, I guess, start off by saying I'm really deeply ashamed about my conduct. And, you know, I'm really sorry, tremendously sorry, you know, if this has hurt the integrity of the Commission.

Like I said, you know, I, I love the Commission. I love my job, you know. I feel very honored that I was hired, you know, to work for the Commission.

But I, and if I, if I could take it back and, and, you know, I would do it in a heartbeat. And, and, you know, and I guess, you know, the only thing is, you know, I, I, you know, didn't, didn't think about, you know, you know, my violating the rules, I guess.

It was really kind of almost - I don't want to say second nature or, you know, and I really wish I had some, some better self-control, you know, back then.

But, you know, more importantly, you know, to the Commission for, you know, for viewing this material and doing this, you know, I, I really do want to apologize. I'm really sorry about that'.

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