<!--:es-->Homeland Security aide suspended after sex sting<!--:-->

Homeland Security aide suspended after sex sting

WASHINGTON – The deputy press secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was put on leave and his security clearance suspended on Wednesday after being arrested on charges of using the Internet to try to seduce a 14-year-old girl, an official said.Brian Doyle, 55, was arrested on Tuesday night in a sex- sting operation and accused of obscenely propositioning an undercover agent he thought was a teen-ager.

The Homeland Security department is one of the federal agencies responsible for investigating child pornography and online exploitation of children, through its immigration and customs unit and the Secret Service. Department officials said those agencies were not involved in this case.

“The department is cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation,” said department press secretary Russ Knocke, Doyle’s supervisor. “We take these allegations very seriously.”

Doyle had been placed on “a non-pay status and his security clearance, employee badge and facility access permissions have been suspended,” Knocke said.

He gave no personal information about Doyle, but current and former colleagues expressed shock and surprise at his arrest.

Doyle faces 23 charges in Polk County, Florida, related to use of a computer to seduce a child and transmitting harmful materials to a minor. He was being held in a suburban Washington jail pending extradition to Florida.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Doyle was taken into custody at his home in Silver Spring, Maryland, while he was online with undercover detectives.

A statement issued by the sheriff’s office said Doyle contacted a 14-year-old girl whose profile was posted on the Internet and initiated a sexually explicit conversation. The “girl” was actually an undercover Polk County detective.

It said Doyle gave his office phone number and his government-issued cell phone number. He also was accused of using the Internet to send pornographic movie clips and having explicit sexual conversations in online chats with the supposed girl.