Air Force security forces are investigating the online distribution of explicit pornographic images allegedly depicting a female non-commissioned officer engaged in sex acts.

But the pictures are fake, the Air Force said. The NCO is the apparent target of an online smear campaign to paint her as a porn actress by distributing pornographic images and falsely claiming them to be of her.

Air Education and Training Command officials emphatically said in interviews that the allegations are false, and the NCO and her husband are not being investigated. AETC officials said they have no idea why the NCO was targeted.

"This story is very concerning," AETC spokesman Col. Sean McKenna said. "It's another example of someone taking it on themselves to shame someone online."

Security forces has focused on a former airman who allegedly posted a pornographic photograph on the Air Force Recruiting Service's Facebook page on Jan. 26, said Lt. Col. Toni Whaley, spokeswoman for Air Education and Training Command. The Air Force did not disclose the identity of the suspect.

The face of the woman in the picture was blurred, Whaley said, but the suspect allegedly claimed in the post that it was of the NCO and that she was regularly starring in online pornography.

AETC started looking into the allegations, Whaley said, and investigators quickly learned that the NCO did not have tattoos that matched the woman in the pornographic image and concluded it was not her. Security forces immediately shifted their focus and began investigating the former airman who allegedly posted the picture for making false accusations.

The NCO has appeared in official recruiting videos produced by the Air Force. The phony pornographic image was posted in a Facebook comment thread below a recruiting video of the NCO talking about her career field, Whaley said.

Two official Air Force videos featuring the NCO have now been hidden or taken down from several sites due to harassing comments alleging her pornographic involvement.

"This story is very concerning," AETC spokesman Col. Sean McKenna said. "It's another example of someone taking it on themselves to shame someone online."

Air Force Times is not naming the NCO to protect her privacy. Through AETC, she declined to comment. Whaley said the NCO has spoken to other airmen assigned to her unit "to squash any rumors floating around."

McKenna said it is possible that the investigation could broaden beyond the one former airman who posted the picture on the Recruiting Service Facebook page.

"Who knows where the investigation will lead us," McKenna said. "I've never seen one like this."

It is unclear whether or how civilian law enforcement may need to be involved if Air Force investigators conclude a law has been broken.

McKenna said this story is an example of how damaging online harassment and cyberbullying can be, and said airmen should think twice about engaging in such behavior online.

"If you do this, you will be investigated," McKenna said. "It will not go unnoticed. Something will come to bear."

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Stephen Losey covers personnel, promotions, and the Air Force Academy for Air Force Times. He can be reached at

Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.

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