Brian J. Doyle, the Deputy Press Secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., was caught in an internet pedophile sting operation.

On March 12, 2006, Doyle contacted a 14-year-old girl whose profile was posted on the Internet, and initiated a sexually explicit conversation with her. The girl was actually an undercover Polk County Sheriff s Computer Crimes detective. Doyle knew that the girl was 14 years old, and he told her who he was and that he worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. During future online chats, Doyle gave the undercover detective posing as a 14-year-old girl his office phone number and his government-issued cell phone number, so that they could have telephone conversations, in addition to their online chatting. Doyle used the Internet to send hard-core pornographic movie clips to the girl and used the AOL Instant Messenger chat service to have explicit sexual conversations with her. The investigation revealed that the phone numbers given to the detective were in fact Doyle s, and that the AOL account used was registered to Doyle. Doyle also sent photos of himself to the detective, which were not sexually explicit but did serve to further positively identify him.

On many occasions, Doyle instructed the victim, whom he believed to be a 14-year-old girl, to perform a sexual act while thinking of him, and described explicit and perverse sexual acts he wished to have with her, in addition to sending her numerous obscene .mpg files (digital movies). He also had sexually explicit telephone conversations with a detective posing as a child on his office line and cell phone. He attempted to seduce the girl during their online chats, encouraging her to purchase a web cam so that she could send graphic images of herself to him, and promised her that he would likewise send nude photos of himself. Many of the conversations he initiated with the victim are too extraordinary and graphic for public release.

Doyle was arrested and spent last night in a county jail. And I’ll bet the scriptwriters for Law & Order: SVU are already working this little item into a future episode. Not to mention The Daily Show writers …

Here are some reactions from around the blogosphere.

This rightie blogger couldn’t comment without taking a swipe at liberals:

Glad they caught the idiot; he was a security risk as well as a pervert. As was Scott Ritter, not that any of the liberal blogs linking this story will make that connection.

I guess in Rightie World, being right about WMDs makes you a security risk. But Taylor Marsh makes some connections with a congressional hearing also held yesterday.

… when the news hit about a pedophile living and breathing inside our own Homeland Security department, I had a sort of meltdown. I put up the breaking story, then took a moment to think about it all. It’s not a comfortable subject to contemplate when you know the gory details.

Today, Justin Berry told a story of how he had given Bush’s Justice Department the names of over 1,500 people who he’d had sexual experiences with over the time he ran his web porn site. To this day, the Bush Justice Department has done NOTHING. That’s right, nothing. Joe Scarborough covered that tonight on his show. I didn’t watch it all, but he said he was going to give out the phone number for the Justice Department so parents could demand action. I hope they do because no one has been paying attention and this has been going on since 1997.

However, I simply cannot get my head around the fact that the Bush administration has taken no action at all.

“Taken no action at all” seems to be the standard Bushie operating procedure. Next we’ll hear that “no one could have anticipated” that some guy uploading hard-core porn on his DHS computer would have been a pervert.

John Aravosis notes Doyle’s past role in airport security.

Steve Soto:

At the deputy Press Secretary level, Doyle was likely an appointee of the Homeland Security Secretary. So either Tom Ridge or Michael Chertoff get the “credit” for this putz drawing a government check spinning the media on how great DHS is.

Egalia, Tennessee Guerilla Women:

No wonder Republicans don’t believe in evolution. Instead of evolving, they devolve from corruption and cronyism to nauseating creepiness.

Don’t they background check anybody in the Bush Administration? Oh, yeah, I remember, they check to make sure their cronies carry bibles.

Another rightie blames the Left:

First off, why would this guy be so stupid? As you read the article, you’ll learn that he gave the “14-year-old” (an undercover Polk County Detective) his personal phone numbers and name and position in government to this would-be little girl, and even sent photos (not sexually explicit) of himself to her. Again, if the allegations are true, how could someone working for DHS be so stupid, especially when the left says that Bush and Cheney are sitting in their offices spying on all of our calls trying to take away our rights…. don’t you think Doyle would have been more careful?

Yeah, if you’re going to be a pedophile, be a little more discreet about it, OK?

The Talking Dog comments on “restoring honor and integrity to the government.

Captain Ed on “The Gang That Couldn’t Vet Straight“:

I’m not sure what’s going on at the Department of Homeland Security, but significant background checks certainly are not. The agency first slated to be run by Bernard Kerik until the press performed his background check instead of the White House has another winner on its hands, a deputy press secretary with a late-night hobby.

A couple of issues come to mind. First, it may be that this was Doyle’s first arrest, in which case vetting wouldn’t necessarily have tagged him as being a problem. However, as I understand these matters, it is highly unlikely the 50-something Doyle became a pedophile recently. It’s more likely he’s been one most of his life. If this is his first arrest, a whole lot of people have been looking the other way for a long time.

Remember what I said about Evil not wearing a big E on its T-shirt? Mr. Doyle may be a sweet and charming guy to most of his acquaintances. No doubt he doesn’t fit stereotypes of what a child molester is like. Cognitive dissonance would have brushed away the clues. This is not a political phenomenon. Maybe somewhere there’s a soc-psych study that argues conservatives are more prone to cognitive dissonance than liberals, but absent hard data I wouldn’t make that claim. Liberals are not immune.

However, there must have been clues. Doyle wasn’t even trying to be discreet or hide his identity.

Second, the Bush Administration has a long-established pattern of hiring people based on party or personal loyalty rather than experience. It’s not what you know, but who you know, that counts with Bushies, and not just in DHS.

So no wonder they can’t “vet straight.” No doubt the “vetters” are crony hires who aren’t qualified for their jobs.

Update: See firedoglake.

34 thoughts on “Schadenfraude

  1. I watched the hearing yesterday and was shocked when Justin Berry said that he had submitted a list of 1500 names to the Justice Dept and that nothing had been done. This on the same day that Doyle was arrested at his home!

    I just wonder why his wife divorced him and if she did because she knew what a pervert he is.

    The gall of the man giving out his job title and phone numbers. I guess he was trying to impress a 14-year old girl! What a sicko.

    This gives new meaning to Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” program.

    You just wonder what is going on in “Homeland Security”. Apparently nothing to protect us.

    I wonder who will be arrested next in this administration.

    Wasn’t it Bush I that said, “a fish rots from the head down”?

  2. Obviously this scandal will put the Democrats into disarray. Some liberals might point the finger at the Republican administration, but these are the same folks who give comfort to our enemies and encouragement to the terrists, and who refuse to acknowledge the great progress we’re making in Iraq and the absolute necessity to stay the course, so as not to dishonor all the troops who died in the noble cause of bringing freedom to that part of the world.

    Liberals. They’re the ones we ought to point our fingers at.


  3. What’s amazing to me is the number of rightie bloggers who couldn’t comment on Doyle without, somehow, poking a sharp stick at liberals. I only gave a couple of examples; there were others.

  4. Seeing the comment (in the body of the post) on Scott Ritter, I looked it up and the point is valid. Whatever he really did or didn’t do back then, his arrest and this one look similar.

    Let justice work properly on Doyle, but unless I missed something, this is a case about an individual, not a political party. He did what he did and that – whatever he did – is all about him. That’s usually the case (so to speak) with perverts.

    Now if the Republican Party defends his actions….

  5. I am struck by the dovetail nature of Maha’s blogs, and how that dovetailing functions like a good zoom and focus camera that simultaneously offers close-ups AND relevant wide angle context.

  6. But, you see, this IS the fault of liberals..their blocking of any regulation and snooping I mean monitering of the internet led to this man being seduced by the dark side. And besides, didn’t Al gore invent the internet? A Democrat!?!?Hmmm?

  7. Compare the fact, during Ken Starr’s busy time, this nation spent a million dollars a month trying to uncover wrongdoing. Now there are a million wrongs per month and nothing is done. Have you kept track of the seemingly endless list of crooks and synchophants this group has put to work? What absurd irony, that the mother of all pork barrel projects, the Department of Homeland security, would be home to such a heinous idiot.What absurd irony, that with all the evidence available from just one boy testifying before “the government,” noone is being investigated. Put further, in heartbreaking context, an article yesterday, that hundreds of thousands of children, mostly runaways, enter the sex slave industry each year in this country, America. It can only make you wonder why, if the rightwing conservative pseudo-Christians control the government, where are the family values so famously promised. Where are the families, torn apart by this unholy economic war against the American people. “Beware of those who hold God’s name closer to their mouth than their heart.” I think that old Testament passage says it all, folks.

  8. I guess I’ve always suspected that all religious conservatives are closet perverts. Their beliefs are twisted and obsessive to begin with; they get off on controlling the most intimate aspects of strangers’ lives; they’re focused most of the time on the details of sexual behavior. Take one look at the Phelps family of Topeka, Kansas and you know you’re looking at Incest Central.

    Not that Doyle’s necessarily a religious conservative; he’s just one of their minions. They’re all evil with a tiny little “e”.

  9. I have conflicting feelings about sting operations to start out with. It is putting out temptations to make people do things they might not otherwise do. So I would like to know more before I would judge. It could turn out to be true and we could say, it could not have happened to a nicer guy.

  10. It is putting out temptations to make people do things they might not otherwise do.

    I don’t think that’s true in the case of child molestation. People who are not pedophiles wouldn’t be tempted.

  11. Pedophilia and child-molesting – it’s what rethugs mean when they preach about family values. Read this sickening story about a guy who was a camp counsellor, and anally raped numerous young boys with broomsticks and flashlights – and is getting off with a slap on the wrist, because his father is the president of the Arizona state senate.

  12. Maha, can you clarify whether or not the persons to whom Doyle was emailing, IMing and talking were really minors? Or were they adults pretending to me minors? I think it makes a lot of difference. The Big reason for punishing child molestors is the harm done to the child who is molested. If there were no such harm done, then maybe the Doyle’s of the world should be considered as good candidates for some medical intervention, but not necessarily for imprisonment.

  13. Doyle was talking to an agent pretending to be a child. I don’t see how that lets him off the hook, though. This cannot have been the first time he tried to molest a child; only the first time he was caught. He had done a lot more than just talk to the “girl,” according to news stories. I don’t believe anyone thinks pedophiles can be cured.

  14. You are either missing the point — no one was hurt by this particular series of exchanges — or you are making the point that some people should be imprisoned for who they are rather than for what they do or have done. My point is that if there was no harm done by Doyle, in this case, then he should not be dealt with as a criminal, but as someone who needs some help. I also think it is an overly broad generalization to suggest that pedophiles cannot be cured; I suspect that the degree of pedophilia may be different in different people — and that some may in fact be susceptible to “cure” in the same way other mental states can be “cured.” And/or that the behavior can be modified to the extent that the pedophile does not present a danger to children.

    Surely you realize that we are on the threshold of an era in humanity’s presence on this planet when genetics will permit some of us — those in government and huge corporate entities — to have enough knowledge about individual genetic make-ups to make somewhat accurate predictions of future, individual behavior. You seem to be implicitly suggesting that if an individual can be identified as a pedophile — whether by a sting operation or the presence of a gene that is an indicator of pedophilia — then the individual falling for the sting or carrying that gene should be locked away. Or maybe you are not suggesting that at all. It is difficult to tell from your remarks.

  15. Maha, righties always take a swipes at the left. They can’t help themselves.

  16. Rigthies take swipes at liberals at any chance, because they’re all about winning, not about setting their “team” aside and getting at the truth.

    It’s kind of a big game with them. If their man Doyle is going down, he or his surrogates will try to take down as many of the other team’s players as they can.

  17. I also think it is an overly broad generalization to suggest that pedophiles cannot be cured;

    It appears to be an overly broad generalization agreed to by the overwhelming majority of the psychiatric profession, however. As with most medical matters there are a small number of therapists who think it might be controlled through a combination of drug and aversion therapy, but I don’t think they’ve been able to claim anything much in the way of a success rate.

    some people should be imprisoned for who they are

    I’m saying that pedophiles have to be apprehended and either kept imprisoned or monitored very, very closely, because even if they are being treated they have to be monitored to be sure they stay on their meds and away from children. Given the opportunity they will molest children. This is reality. I’m not saying this because I think pedophiles are “bad people,” but because it’s a fact.

    The cause appears to be conditioned rather than genetic, but no one really knows what causes it.

    As extreme as this guy’s behavior is, there it is a near certainty he has already molested several children. If he’d been caught just looking at naughty pictures I’d say give him a break, but he went way further than that.

  18. I used to work with sex offenders. You’re right that pedophiles usually start early in life. The program I was associated with saw offenders as young as 10-12 years old, and the adult offenders typically had started offending as children or adolescents. My guess is that there had probably been suspicions about this guy in the past (assuming that the current charges are legitimate), though not necessarily enough to turn up on a routine background check. However, we normally expect people in high positions to be vetted more thoroughly than that. This is yet again another example of how poorly this administration checks potential employees out; past experience tells us that connections and loyal Republican service matter far more than a clean record, or even basic competence or experience relevant to the position. By the way, the current thinking is that a variety of genetic and conditioning factors are in play in creating offenders.

  19. Ritter was busted in 2001 in an indentical operation (talking dirty online with a girl he thought was 14, whom he actually went to meet at a Burger King). Both perverts, both substantial security risks; one lionized by liberal blogs.

  20. Ritter was busted in 2001 in an indentical operation (talking dirty online with a girl he thought was 14, whom he actually went to meet at a Burger King). Both perverts, both substantial security risks; one lionized by liberal blogs.

    I honestly didn’t know that, but you are right that he was arrested. The case was dismissed, however.

  21. The next time a major Republican gives a speech and mentions family values, write to the press in that city, or write to the national press and tell them of the many sexual and marital failings the Republicans have done and that the Republican Party does not appear the party of family values with leaders that anyone could leave their daughter with to watch.

    Tell the Republicans to focus on their own family.

  22. re: #6, #21 and #22…….darn, I cannot remember where I read that the Bush team was aggressively trying to discredit Ritter who had the standing to tell unwelcome truths about non-existent Iraqi WMD right about the time that the Bushies were beating war drums and hyping/twisting facts…..and someone even tried to discredit Ritter with a phoney ethical smear, which failed.
    Anybody have more information on this?

  23. I’m wondering; didn’t yahoo, msn & google (under court order) have to open up their records so the administration could snoop around under the guise of protecting children from porn? Who is Justin Berry? When was this? 1500 names. Nothing done??

    Doyle – just more of the same old same filth and dirt coming out of this inept WH and congress.

  24. #24 — Donna, re the Ritter arrest: Apparently he was caught up in a sting operation in 2001, and charged with attempted endangerment of a child (a misdemeanor), but the case was dismissed and the records of the case sealed. But then news of the arrest was leaked to the press in January 2003 just as Ritter was becoming a very loud voice against the Iraq invasion. Ritter had to cancel a trip to Iraq. A 2003 Fox news story said that the FBI and US Attorney General’s office had obtained the sealed records and were going to review them for possible federal law violations, but apparently nothing came of that.

  25. #26….I did some googling as well as read the Faux News story on Scott Ritter. I think that there is some possibility, if one looks at the timing of events, that Ritter was set up, but there is no way to know.
    1] His ‘arrest’ which ended in dismissal happened in June of 2001, which we now know was a time when Cheney, et al were already contemplating an Iraq adventure. It had to be known that Ritter, an expert on Iraq matters, could be a power to contend with–especially as he had kept the record straight about why the inspectors left Iraq in 1998.
    2] The ‘exposure’ of the ‘arrest’ happened on January 19, 2003… the very height of war-mongering and State of the Union speech, etc…..when Ritter was a particularly powerful voice of authority in effectively countering the neo-con spin.

    Why did the case get dismissed?? Why did a review of the case by the FBI and US Atty General’s office result in nothing further??
    And, because there is so much unknown about this….how did Brainster [#21 above] arrive at facts I could not find anywhere….
    for instance, Brainster says Ritter was involved with a 14 year-old, though all accounts I read said it was a sting operator pretending to be 16. Also, Brainster said Ritter went to meet the girl….I also found this ‘fact’ nowhere. Brainster….what to give some links?

  26. This seems to be Ritter’s account of those events.

    If we accept this account, then note the word “misdemeanor”… something Ritter was NOT convicted of, yet our President and Vice-President were. Mr. Doyle’s problems wouuld seem to be a tad more serious than “Misdemeanor”.

  27. I don’t know much about the subject, but I do ask myself how agressively seductive is an adult police imposter as compared to a child?
    There is a difference of an innocent and defenseless child being molested and a child being seductive sitting at the computer. What kind of young boy or girl would do that?
    Would a normal child not just shut the program off?
    There are many unanswered questions, and again I come back to the sting methods.
    We had some years ago the big nursey or kindergarten scandals, people lost all comon sense and went crazy. Todays attitudes get close to the Salem witch trials. I do believe that Doyles past record should be very important in judging him.

    His political color should be of no consequence, I leave that kind of judgement to the republicans.

  28. When I tried to get factual information about Saddams rape rooms what came up was disgusting rape porn.
    That makes me wonder if the rape rooms are propaganda and if so who are the sick minds making it up.

  29. There is a difference of an innocent and defenseless child being molested and a child being seductive sitting at the computer. What kind of young boy or girl would do that?
    Would a normal child not just shut the program off?

    14-year-olds can be pretty randy, actually. They know how to act seductive because they’ve seen it on TV. And they may be hungry for adult attention.

    It doesn’t matter how seductive the child is. Adults are supposed to know better.

  30. it is true there are plenty of little Lolitas around and adults are supposed to know better.

    It will be interesting to hear the details about what really happened.

    Still, to trapp people with stinger operations makes me feel very uncomfortable. It is like tempting a dog with a wurst and then punish him for eating it.

  31. Sorry, late getting back to this post, but both Ritter and Doyle were accused of the same thing–talking dirty to girls they thought were underage, but weren’t. It’s a tricky legal issue; certainly if the videos/other stuff that Doyle sent to his “girl” involved minors he’s in a world of trouble. But Ritter was definitely busted trying to meet a gal he thought was underage (at a Burger King). I can’t find confirmation of the age of his target, but I suspect 14 is more likely since the age of consent is 17 in New York (Googled it).

    This was one of the reasons why many Republicans and conservatives were suspicious of his sudden change of heart about WMD in Iraq. Was he being blackmailed by Saddam, who might have made sure that a young girl was available for his enjoyment?

    renate, it’s simple. These guys didn’t know these girls. They sought them out on the internet, and appear to be mostly interested in the underage aspect. And men are not dogs.

  32. Brainster — You are one sick puppy. Seek help.

    I’m not interested in defending pedophiles of any political persuasion, but it’s obvious the Bush Regime arranged for the charge to be made public just as Ritter was causing trouble for them. Sending the feds to unseal the records so that they could look for something more to charge Ritter with was pure political harrassment. That’s the sort of thing totalitarian regimes are famous for. That shouldn’t be happening in America.

    You can’t see it, of course, because you’re too drunk on Kool-Aid. Glenn Greenwald got your number here.

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