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02.26.15 12:08 AM ET

3rd U.S. Official Hit With Child Sex and Porn Charges

Friends and co-workers were horrified to learn that Daniel Rosen had been charged with soliciting underage sex. But the worst part may be that Rosen wasn’t alone.

A U.S. official who helps steer counterterrorism programs at the State Department is sitting in a Washington, D.C., jail on charges of soliciting sex with a minor. He’s the third U.S. official in the past 15 months to face charges of crimes against minors.

Daniel Rosen, who serves as the department’s director of counterterrorism programs and policy, thought he was arranging to meet up with a juvenile he’d met online but was really talking to a female detective with the Child Exploitation Unit of Fairfax County, Virginia, law enforcement officials said. D.C. police officers arrested Rosen at his house in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of northwest Washington on Tuesday afternoon.  

Rosen could have made an ideal target for foreign intelligence services looking to blackmail a government employee with access to classified information. He had a security clearance, which has been suspended, and worked on programs to help train law enforcement agencies around the world to fight terrorism. His job put him in regular contact with a number of foreign governments and in charge of strategic and policy planning, as well as budgets, for the State Department’s counterterrorism bureau.

Officials didn’t say whether Rosen is alleged to have used any State Department computers or phones in the course of arranging for sex with minors.

Rosen’s friends and co-workers said they were horrified by the news—and could barely believe it was true. The Rosen they knew was a patriot, going to work for the government well before 9/11, a friendly family man, and a Washington Nationals fan.

Authorities didn’t release the age or gender of the person with whom Rosen allegedly thought he was communicating. Under Virginia law, a juvenile is defined as a child under the age of 18.

Calls and text messages to Rosen’s mobile phone weren’t returned.

Rosen oversaw $300 million per year in counterterrorism programs related to countering violent extremism, according to his LinkedIn profile. The Obama administration has made countering extremism a marquee initiative and held a White House summit on the issue last week.

Rosen’s alleged activities appeared to be isolated and not part of a broader ring. “There are no other known involved parties or associated arrests” in his case, a spokesperson for the Fairfax County Police Department told The Daily Beast. The official said the department had no further information to release, including any arrest or search warrants.

Those who know Rosen pushed back on initial reports that he was a senior-level official in charge of all counterterrorism programs at the State Department. His job was largely budgetary and bureaucratic, they said. Rosen had mastered the byzantine rules imposed on how a federal agency can spend money. And so he helped his department navigate those rules as it doled out funds for combating violent extremism and assisting foreign governments with their anti-terror fights.

At the State Department on Wednesday, there was no official communication to staff about Rosen’s arrest, just an awkward silence.

Asked about Rosen’s arrest, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told The Daily Beast in a statement: “We are aware that a State Department employee has been arrested and charges have been issued. For issues related to Department personnel and for privacy reasons, we are not able to confirm the identity of the individual or specific charges.”

Psaki said the employee would be placed on administrative leave during the judicial process. “We are following standard procedure in this case,” she said.

Rosen was arraigned Wednesday afternoon in D.C. Superior Court and will remain in a District jail pending extradition to Virginia, a court official said. That could happen within the next 72 hours. A judge denied bond for Rosen given what she called the “gravity” of the charge.   

Rosen faces one count of using a communications device to solicit a juvenile. The D.C. Superior Court scheduled a status hearing in his case for the afternoon of March 3.

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Rosen is the latest U.S. official to be charged with crimes against children. In December 2013, Jesse Ryan Loskarn, the chief of staff to Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, was arrested on charges of possessing and distributing child pornography. Loskarn, a young rising star on Capitol Hill, hanged himself the next month.

In August 2014, George Hristovski, an inspector at the Homeland Security Department, was arrested in California for allegedly attempting to produce child pornography and the attempted enticement of a minor. According to law enforcement officials, Hristovski posted an online advertisement on Craigslist looking for a mother who was willing to introduce him to her daughter so Hristovski could have sex with her. He was arrested after allegedly asking for pornographic images of a 13-year-old girl whom he thought he was communicating with and attempting to meet her for sex.

—with additional reporting by Brandy Zadrozny and Noah Shachtman