The wingnut-o-sphere is outraged about an Army Times report that gay US soldiers deployed to Afghanistan are using Craigslist to hook up with each other. Military investigators are busting those caught.
Agents with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in Afghanistan are tracking service members who are hooking up in the war zone via Internet sites such as Craigslist and busting those who violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice. And in Afghanistan, where commanders haveforbid any sexual encounters between unwed people, virtually anyone who tries to set up a meeting online can become a target of investigators. One Marine lance corporal found that out in 2012, after he posted an advertisement on Craigslist for a sexual rendezvous. The guy he met at Camp Leatherneck, whom he thought was also looking to hook up, turned out to be an undercover agent with the NCIS. Sexual activities in a war zone are as old as wars themselves, but with the advent of Internet personal ads and social media sites, arranging a sexual encounter can become brazen, public and risky. Warnings from commanders, standard guidance for any unit headed to the war zone, appear to have fallen on deaf ears in many cases.
Online sex solicitation is technically not a crime under the UCMJ. However, commanders have the right to enact regulations that make it a punishable offense. “Soliciting for sex on community-oriented websites such as Craigslist is not per se a chargeable offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” wrote Erin Stattel, a press officer for International Security Assistance Force headquarters, in response to emailed questions from Marine Corps Times. “However, posting pornographic images on a public web or social media site is a chargeable offense. Excerpt: General Order 1.15.f states ‘creation or display of any pornographic or sexually explicit photograph … is prohibited.'” Other chargeable offenses under the UCMJ include adultery, prostitution and pandering, which violate General Article 134. But commanders downrange are also prosecuting service members, on a case-by-case basis, under a different section of General Article 134 that bans conduct “to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces.”
A spokesman for the NCIS refused to say if investigators are entrapping soldiers by posting ads themselves.