Air Force investigators have launched an undercover probe into a popular Facebook page where security officers confess on-duty sins that read like letters to Penthouse.
"Sex, booze, and hijinks! They’re doing it on the job and we plan to bust their asses," said an Air Force special investigations agent who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “I will admit it's entertaining."
The confessions on the page, if true, raise serious questions about discipline and security, according to intelligence and security officials interviewed by American Media Institute (AMI). Not since the 1991 Tailhook scandal, where U.S. Navy and Marines were alleged to have held a booze-fueled orgy mixed with accusations of sexual assault, has such a large number of U.S. military personnel openly flaunted such behavior.
The Facebook page is called, "Security Forces Confessions," a 12,000-plus member community formed in December 2013. The page appeals to security force specialists, the Air Force equivalent of other services' military police. As per their Air Force job description, the specialists "protect the people, property and resources of the U.S. Air Force."
The confession page offers the specialists, formerly known as air police, "a place to tell all your secrets from the smoke pit to the missile field." Urging members to "get it off your chest, it's good for you," the page provides sinners an anonymous place to reveal transgressions.
It’s unclear when the incidents described in the confessions occurred or if they are true or fantasy.
But what transgressions they are.
Confession #161, made in December 2013, comes from a witness who claims to have turned in a "waffle butt" female security guard for having sexual intercourse with a detainee through a fence at an Operation Iraqi Freedom base. They are called waffle butts for the distinctive pattern the chain-link fence leaves on participants' behinds.
Page members, who appear to use their personal Facebook profiles, left 18 comments on the waffle butt confession. Some of the comments suggest waffle butt incidents began in 2007 at Iraq-based Camp Bucca, the American-run terrorist prison camp shuttered in 2009.
The commenters, many depicted in military uniform, did not respond to AMI's attempts to contact them.
Bernard Kerik, a former New York City police commissioner and security consultant, said confessions about guards having sex with inmates should be taken very seriously.
He knows first-hand what it’s like from both the inside and outside of the criminal justice system. He wrote “Jailer to Jailed” after being convicted of tax fraud in 2010.
“Any time an officer is compromised in any way, it opens the door to corruption," Kerik told AMI. “The inmate knows this.”
Other sins listed on the Facebook page involve guard-on-guard sex.
Confession #95 reveals that the anonymous sinner had sex with "this one extremely hot blonde chick in every patrol car and every post at our base."
Confession #119 is from a male whose female supervisor brought him home when his dorm room wasn't ready when he arrived on base. "I became a sex-slave to her for about a week,” the confessor wrote. "The experience was awesome … upon arrival, they issue you your own personal whore!"
Asked to comment, an Air Force spokeswoman, Maj. Melissa Milner, said, "The Security Forces Confessions Facebook page is not an official Air Force page and we do not track its contents.”
"Our Security Forces members are hardworking Airmen who protect and defend our nation in accordance with AF standards and core values,” she added. “Commanders and supervisors, as part of their normal duties, remind Airmen that they are responsible to conduct themselves according to our standards and values, both on-duty and off-duty, on-line and off-line."
However, the page’s administrator said investigators have, in fact, looked into the site.
"I've been messaged in the past by investigations departments asking for info," said the administrator, who served in security forces and asked that his name be withheld. He said he also found Air Force investigators “snooping on the page."
Individual squadrons have investigated some of the posts, he said. "I've even heard of them as going so far as to punish anyone who follows the page."
Largely salacious, the sins include booze, pranks and revenge.
Confession #214: “My area supervisor let me get drunk while working 12-14 hour (shifts)."
Confession #176: "We started setting more things on fire," an airman said after saying he helped build a flamethrower.
Confession #135: A desk sergeant got fed up with keeping track of all the lost ID cards he found. "Eventually, I just started sliding them in the gap between the desk and the wall."
Two commenters who identified themselves – neither of whom could be reached for comment – posted that they had shredded I.D. cards.
Misbehavior notwithstanding, the sinners are not necessarily headed to the brig.
"Some of it could be criminal, like dereliction of duty," said Charlie Gittins, a retired Marine Corps judge advocate and civilian military justice practitioner. But most is just bad behavior. The worst that could happen, he said, is an administrative separation from the service.
Why, then, the undercover hunt to catch the perps?
The Air Force special agent said many confessions are set at bases where Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles are housed and they are confessing to falling asleep.
Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, the former assistant chief of staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration for the Air Force, said an airman who fell asleep could not launch a missile by hitting his head on the red button.
"There are so many safeguards in place," agreed Peter Huessy, president of GeoStrategic Analysis, a national security firm in Potomac, Md. "You have sensors, 24-7 security, 40,000-ton-weight solid doors. They can't be moved.”
The Facebook page provides a place for security forces to "let off steam, share hijinks and relieve boredom," the administrator said. The page also offers community support for issues ranging from suicidal thoughts to romantic problems and financial struggles.
"Every so often, I get a submission from someone who finds themselves in a tough spot," the administrator said. When he posts it, the resulting flood of support "is fantastic to see."
The administrator indulges only gentle hijinks. "I don't condone those who break the law severely," he said, "so I don't post anything glamorizing it."
The administrator remains intentionally ignorant of the sinners' identities. He responds to individual queries and contacted AMI after this reporter “confessed” to being a journalist writing about the confessions.
After making the confession, a message popped up saying that this reporter’s computer IP address has been sent to multiple three-letter agencies, "... and your mother."