The Innocent Have Nothing To Fear…Right?

Wrong.

A Homeland Security Department spokesman was held Wednesday on felony charges of sexually preying on a detective posing as a 14-year-old girl through explicit online conversations. He was quickly suspended without pay from one of the nation’s top crime-fighting agencies.

The arrest of Brian J. Doyle, 55, raised doubts about the ability of an agency responsible for safeguarding the country to ensure the security credentials of its own people.

Gee, ya think?

Of course, it can’t get much worse than this, right?

Wrong.

When an Orlando mall security officer responded to a complaint about a man exposing himself to a girl in the food court, the suspect hurried out of the mall and ran through the parking lot.

The suspect was Frank Figueroa, then one of Florida’s highest-ranking federal law enforcement officers and the former head of a national program formed to target child sex predators.

In a total lack of coincidence, the previous article about Mr. Doyle notes that Operation Predator is run by the Department of Homeland Security:

Homeland Security also oversees an Operation Predator unit, which investigates child predators and pornographers.

That’s right, a guy who ran the DHS’ anti-child-trafficking program [1] flashed a 16 year old girl…and it may not be the first time:

Homeland Security responded in writing Dec. 5, through Pamela J. Turner, assistant secretary for legislative affairs. Turner said Figueroa had been arrested “for similar behavior” in Amherst, N.Y., in 1977.

The case was dismissed, Turner wrote, “in the interest of justice because the perpetrator was never identified.”

At the time, Figueroa was an inspector with the Buffalo, N.Y., customs office.

Because of the earlier arrest, Turner wrote, ICE has initiated a review of all background investigations of employees who work on Operation Predator. She did not say whether a prior arrest would preclude work with the unit.

In Figueroa’s defense, he has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer insists that the ’77 case, which was dropped, is irrelevant. Our nation is founded on laws that protect people charged with crimes. In America, we are all innocent until proven guilty.

That, however, is the very point I’m making here. These two cases raise an important question: just who is Bush talking about giving unlimited spying power to? The Bill of Rights was written specifically because men are not angels. Brian Doyle and Frank Figueroa may well be innocent of the charges they are accused of, but the simple truth is that these crimes are committed, and we know they’re committed more widely (and a newer link to a longer version of the same article/a>) than anyone really knows. What kind of havoc could a sexual predator, or a violent bigot, or a stalker looking for revenge wreak with the power of the DHS or NSA, and no one watching the watchmen?

What was that question about why people with nothing to hide might be afraid of Big Brother?

There is a reason that Congress was given the power to hold the executive branch accountable. There’s a reason FISA was created. There’s a reason the Founding Fathers warned their heirs — us — of the dangers that arise when we give leaders too much power during wartime. That reason is staring us in the face at this very moment — whether we travel down a road paved with the best of intentions or are undermined by those whose intents are evil from the beginning, the final destination ahead is always abuse, fear, and ultimately, tyranny.

(Crossposted from The Justice Log.)

(/) Roland X
If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”

3 comments

Cookie Jar (4.00 / 17)

Because everyone loves cookies.

(/) Roland X
Make mine chocolate chip! 😉

by Roland X on Wed Apr 5th, 2006 at 22:42:37 PDT

I’m not surprised. (4.00 / 3)

I think every point you make is very well taken.

by loggersbrat on Thu Apr 6th, 2006 at 09:09:10 PDT

Every time I hear… (4.00 / 2)

…”The innocent have nothing to fear,” I get a little more worried about my personal security. Not against the ordinary, everyday evil in the world, but against the abuses of my own government.

Coincidence? Apparently not.

Thwarting the forces of conservatism since 1978.

by wiscmass on Fri Apr 7th, 2006 at 08:20:29 PDT

[1] Link was to http://www.ice.gov/graphics/predator/index.htm

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