Thirty-two staffers of the U. S. embassy in Cambodia have been laid off over allegation of sharing pornographic material in a non-official chat group.
Reuters reported that the pornographic videos and photographs of persons of 18 years and above were shared in a Facebook Messenger chat group.
A wife of an embassy worker saw one of the pictures and reported it an official. The matter was then forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the sources said.
“They had their identification cards taken and some of their phones checked,” a former U.S. embassy staff member told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
He said the 32 embassy workers included Cambodians and Cambodian-Americans. Many were guards and some were clerical staff. They said there were no diplomats among them.
Two of the sources, both of whom work at the embassy, confirmed the dismissals. The dismissals come at a time of tension between Cambodia and the United States over U.S. criticism of a crackdown
on dissent by long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen, and his anger over what he says have been U.S. efforts to undermine his rule.
An embassy spokesman said he could not comment and referred queries to the State Department.
The State Department declined to comment when contacted by Reuters. “These records are confidential,” a State Department official told Reuters on Friday. “I am not sure that’s really something we would have comment on,” he said.