FBI ran child porn site for two weeks in bid to identify 5,000 sex offenders

Over the course of the two weeks the agency attempted to identify 5,600 users who were responsible for sharing photographs of children being abused

The FBI seized and ran a website facilitating the viewing and sharing of child pornography in a bid to catch paedophiles, it emerged this week.

Nebraska-based agents ran the website, described as being a bulletin board-type site, for two months back in November.

Over the course of the two weeks the agency attempted to identify 5,600 users who were allegedly responsible for sharing more than 10,000 photographs of children being abused.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that rather than shutting down the website, identified only as 'Website A', FBI agents in the Omaha area continued to operate it for a period from Nov. 16 until the site was shut down on Dec. 2.

At the time the service was closed down the website had around 24,000 posts on it, nearly all of which related to child pornography.

One special agent told a district court that  "Website A" users chatted about their shared interests and discussed the molestation of children. Threads

on the site included: "How to lure a child in my car" and "Meeting other pedos in real life".

Last November a US District Court judge approved a request from the FBI to track down users of the website. Agents were unable to identify those visiting the site through the service's record so continuing to run the site became the only way of identifying offenders.

The FBI refused to discuss the case and the methods used but a spokeswoman told the San Francisco Chronicle: "This remains an ongoing investigation, and local court rules and Department of Justice policy prohibit me from providing more information at this time."

"As in any given matter, if charges are filed, they will eventually become a matter of public record."

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