Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Another Day, Another Cause For Shame

Brian J. Doyle, a Department of Homeland Security deputy press secretary, is under arrest for charges connected to using a computer to try and seduce a minor.

When I first saw this story air on CNN Tuesday evening, I literally took a step backward. What fresh hell?

On March 12, according to a police statement, Doyle contacted a Polk County computer crimes detective posing online as a 14-year-old girl "and initiated a sexually explicit conversation with her ... 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."

Judd said that Doyle, in the first conversation, told the detective his position with DHS and "started immediately into pretty vulgar language. He explained in graphic detail the sexual acts he wanted to perform with this 14-year-old."

As the two continued chatting online, police said, Doyle gave her his home and office phone numbers, and the number to his government-issue cell phone. ...

Doyle also sent photos of himself that were not sexually explicit, but said he would send nude photos if the "girl" would buy a Web camera and send him nude photos of herself. In one photo, Judd said, Doyle's DHS security tag is clearly visible.
[Emphasis added.]

If Doyle did not hold the position that he does, these charges wouldn't be any less appalling, nor the alleged intentions any less disgusting.

At the same time, however contradictory this may seem, his position of "trust"--one he holds, represents and carries out on behalf of us--makes the situation profoundly worse, at least to my gut's way of reacting.

Homeland. Security. Could behavior like this--assuming it plays out as reported--be any more antithetical to everything we would like to associate with the concepts of home, [our] land, and security?

To many people, as I recall it (without Googling) the idea of the department itself and even its very name drew derision from the beginning, at least from some quarters. Its public failures and some of its more, shall we say, controversial employees tarnished the concept and actual operations even more. Now this. Is there any way that this agency--as served by its employees, who hold their positions in our name--can be more debased?