Sex Sting of DHS Official Raises Questions About Clearance

Nathan Burchfiel | Correspondent | Thursday, April 6, 2006

Sex Sting of DHS Official Raises Questions About Clearance

( - Following the arrest of a Department of Homeland Security official for trying to seduce a person he thought was a 14-year-old girl on the Internet, a pro-family advocate is questioning how the suspect obtained a security clearance.

Brian Doyle, deputy press secretary at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), was arrested Tuesday in connection with a sex sting operation. According to police in Polk County, Fla., Doyle emailed video files containing pornography and then indicated his sexually explicit desires to a person in an Internet chat room that he thought was a 14-year-old girl. In reality, Doyle was communicating with an undercover detective.

"It is quite common to find highly educated professionals involved in this despicable practice," said Jan LaRue, chief counsel for Concerned Women for America. She added that "the additional element of this being someone high up in the Department of Homeland Security throws into question how secure is Homeland Security in its background checks."

Doyle reportedly told the undercover detective in the Internet chat room that he worked for DHS and gave out his office and government-issued cell phone numbers. Police also reported that Doyle sent non-explicit pictures of himself that showed his security clearance credentials.

"I can't express how horrified I am that the very agency that we have entrusted protecting us from terrorists is harboring a pedophile," said Dr. Charmaine Yoest, vice president of the Family Research Council.

Doyle is on unpaid leave pending the investigation and DHS has announced that it will comply with officials conducting it.

LaRue said Doyle's willingness to share his professional information is "probably a surprise to most members of the public ... but it's commonly found that a person's obsession with sex with children will override their common sense."

"He of all people ... ought to be aware of how common it is for those who pose as children to be law enforcement officers," La Rue said.

Doyle's arrest should encourage DHS to "[look] at how thorough its background checks are and maybe some additional questions that they will need to ask of those seeking a security clearance," LaRue added.

Yoest echoed the call for a DHS internal investigation and added that "the Bush administration really needs to answer the question as to why someone with these kinds of habits was allowed to get into a position like this."

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security did not return a call requesting comment for this article.

LaRue said the revelation of Doyle's involvement as an alleged child predator brings important issues to light. "Everyone needs to be aware of the fact that child sexual predators come in all classes, occupations, and that the government certainly needs to be thinking of that when they're giving security clearances."

Along with more vigilant law enforcement of online predators, parents in the U.S. need to be more involved in their children's online activities and be "much more aware of the dangers online and (that) people are not always what they pretend to be," LaRue said.

Doyle is not the first federal employee to be connected with an online child pornography sting. On March 29, federal officials raided a NASA office as part of a child pornography probe targeting James Robinson, a program executive with NASA's In-Space Propulsion, Mission and Systems Management Division.

In the application for a search warrant filed in U.S. District Court and posted on the Internet site, "The Smoking Gun," investigators alleged that Robinson used his office and personal computers to download and share pictures and videos of child pornography.

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