Captain's Quarters Blog

« McKinney Losing Steam In Her District | Main | See If You Can Guess What I Am Now »

April 8, 2006
This Is What I Meant About Vetting

On Wednesday, I wrote about the scandal at the DHS surrounding Brian Doyle, the deputy press secretary for the agency who got caught trying to seduce a 14-year-old girl over the Internet. My post criticized the Bush administration for its inability to vet candidates for positions with public exposure, so to speak. A number of commenters reasonably disagreed, making a good point about the difficulty of vetting for personal perversions that necessarily remain in the shadows.

Unfortunately for Doyle, the Bush administration, and those of us who support Bush, Doyle's hobbies had already been exposed prior to his 2001 hiring for the Transportation Safety Administration. His former employer, Time Magazine, had to discipline Doyle in 2000 for using company computers to collect adult pornography, according to fellow Time-Warner media outlet CNN:

A Department of Homeland Security spokesman charged with soliciting a minor over the Internet was disciplined in a previous job after an incident in which pornographic images were seen on an office computer, his friends and former co-workers said. ...

Friends and former co-workers say Doyle was disciplined by Time magazine after he allegedly used company computers to view adult pornography in the publication's Washington bureau office.

Time magazine and CNN are both owned by Time Warner.

Time began an investigation after an employee in the bureau complained after finding offensive photographs on her computer, sources said. The photos, which were not of juveniles, were traced to Doyle. The complaint was dropped after Doyle's colleagues signed a petition of support, the sources said.

Doyle received a formal warning and was required to undergo mental health counseling before returning to work, the sources said.

Sources disagree over whether Time suspended Doyle or whether he took a leave of absence after the incident.

How did the TSA and the DHS manage to miss this? Federal background checks, especially for clearances, usually require an extensive search through personnel files at previous employers, interviews with co-workers and managers, and an accounting of every disciplinary action. It also usually requires an explanation for any mental-health counseling to determine whether the applicant is stable enough to be trusted with classified information and access to secure facilities.

One would hope that the revelation that an applicant used computers at work to download pornography would have at least called his judgment into question. Either it got missed entirely, which doesn't speak well at all for the investigators, or it didn't make a difference to the people who hired him, which doesn't speak well for management at TSA and DHS. Either way, it shows a level of incompetency that does not give anyone warm fuzzies who rely on either agency to help secure the nation.

If this report is true, then there is no excuse for Brian Doyle's employment at either agency. Someone's head should be rolling out the door right behind Doyle's.

ADDENDUM: One other possibility exists, which is that Time Warner didn't share the information with investigators. That would present Time Warner with a significant public-relations problem if not legal jeopardy. Applicants for law-enforcement agencies routinely sign releases holding former employers without liability for complete cooperation. In my line of work, I occassionally come in contact with police and sheriff departments hiring former employees, and we cooperate fully with their background checks. If Time Warner did not, then that needs to be made public immediately.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 8, 2006 7:55 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is


Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!