On the walls are white boards with statistics, crime lists and a montage of social media messages directed to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The objective of this disturbing sleuth work: Rooting out the extent of a nude photo-sharing scandal that has rocked the Corps, embarrassed its leaders and spread to other military services. And the sheer scope of the job is daunting. New agents cycled in after the first month, he said, "just because of the burnout factor, especially the ones that are doing the image review.
‘The naked photo scandal made me feel like I got gangbanged by the f***ing planet’
Marines Take Vigilante-Style Action Amid Nude-Photo Scandal - WSJ
Shocking, because what he found was an enormous cache of nude photographs, thousands and thousands of photographs of young men in front, side and rear poses. Disturbing, because on closer inspection the photos looked like the record of a bizarre body-piercing ritual: sticking out from the spine of each and every body was a row of sharp metal pins. The employee who found them was mystified. The athletic director at the time, Frank Ryan, a former Cleveland Browns quarterback new to Yale, was mystified.
In a closed Facebook group called "Marines United," which consisted of 30, active duty and retired members of the United States Armed Forces and British Royal Marines , hundreds of photos of female servicemembers from every branch of the military were distributed. In a post on the original group page, a member wrote, "It would be hilarious if one of these FBI or Naval Criminal Investigative Service fucks found their wife on here. Understand this: I will not accept a request until I can see that the person has served.
It was a little past ten o'clock, and the weather outside was clear and gusty, typical of winters among the sand pines of coastal North Carolina. The woman—call her Judy—was checking into a new unit. She'd come to CIF to collect her standard issue of combat equipment. While Judy stood among the rows of stacked body armor, Kevlar helmets, and camouflage hiking packs, an infantryman named Brenden McDonel, who was standing a few places behind her in line, pulled out his phone and started surreptitiously taking her photograph. McDonel didn't know Judy, but that didn't keep him from posting the pictures to a private Facebook group called Marines United.