The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is reportedly investigating "hundreds" of Marines following the discovery of a closed Facebook group in which nude photos of service women and veterans were shared. The shared photos drew "obscene comments" in the closed Marines United Facebook group, NPR reported Monday. The photos also reportedly used service members' personal information, including their names and social media handles.
At least two individuals have reportedly been punished for the actions, including one Marine vet who worked as a government subcontractor. The subcontractor was fired after posting a Google Drive link to the photos, while another service member was fired for secretly photographing a woman at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
After the photo sharing was uncovered by nonprofit news organization The War Horse in January, the Marine Corps requested the deletion of social media accounts "behind" the sharing. But the alleged activity of the Marines United Facebook group, according to a report from Thomas James Brennan on Reveal, continued as recently as Feb. 16.
The images in question, according to Brennan, were obtained using a variety of methods:
Dozens of now-deleted Google Drive folders linked from the Facebook page included dossiers of women containing their names, military branches, nude photographs, screenshots of their social media accounts and images of sexual acts. Dozens of other subfolders included unidentifiable women in various stages of undress. Many images appear to have originated from the consensual, but private, exchange of racy images, some clearly taken by the women themselves.
In an emailed statement to Complex Monday, an NCIS spokesperson confirmed the investigation was ongoing. "NCIS is investigating those who are posting explicit photos without the permission of the person in the photos, which is potentially a felony," a spokesperson told Complex. "Beyond that, NCIS does not discuss the details of ongoing investigations."