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Child porn probe—not aliens—led to shutdown of National Solar Observatory: Docs

FBI agents shut down New Mexico’s National Solar Observatory earlier this month as they conducted computer forensic searches for child pornography, a federal search warrant has revealed.

Reuters reports that federal authorities closed the observatory in Sunspot on September 6 as they investigated claims that a janitor used the facility’s wireless internet and his personal laptop to disseminate and receive child pornography. Agents cleared out the observatory to carry out an 11-day investigation, without immediately revealing why, leading some to believe the building was housing extraterrestrial life.

The observatory is located approximately two hours away from Roswell, the famous site of the 1974 crash of a high-altitude balloon. Dismissing the government’s claims, conspiracy theorists believe the balloon was a UFO that contained aliens who the government took to the surreptitious Area 51 in Nevada.

KTSM reported that agents were able to zero in on the janitor because not many people had access to the building after hours. Though the janitor is the FBI’s main suspect, his name isn’t mentioned in the warrant nor has he been charged with a crime.

The observatory reopened on Monday. Reuters reported that authorities seized multiple items from the man’s home, including, three cell phones, five laptops, an iPad, an external hard drive, 16 thumb drives, and 89 compact flash disks.

FBI field office spokesman Frank Fisher told the outlet that their investigation is ongoing.

[Featured image: tamasrepus/Flickr]