3 leave Secret Service over sex scandal

2012-04-19 10:04

Washington - The US Secret Service said on Wednesday that three employees will leave their jobs over the sex scandal in a hotel in Colombia which tarnished the elite presidential protection agency's image.

Two leading congressmen meanwhile revealed in a letter to Secret Service chief Mark Sullivan obtained by ABC News that agents accused of consorting with prostitutes may have been careless with "sensitive security information".

Representatives Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings also warned that the party hijinks in the Caribbean resort of Cartagena before President Barack Obama's arrival last weekend brought the entire culture of the agency into question.

The Secret Service said one "supervisory" employee will retire over the affair, a huge diplomatic embarrassment, another has been told he will be sacked and a third "non-supervisory" employee has resigned.

Paul Morrissey, of the service's Office of Government and Public Affairs said a probe into the alleged scandal was still at an early stage, and that eight other agents remained under investigation, in a process which included the use of polygraph lie detector technology.

A total of 11 agents and at least 10 military personnel are being investigated over the incident, which reportedly came to light when a prostitute got into a dispute over payment with one of the agents.

Public trust

The departure of the three agents came amid a growing clamour for heads to roll in the Secret Service following the alleged incident, which overshadowed Obama's important visit to Colombia for the Summit of the Americas.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who is a Secret Service protectee, said on Wednesday he would "clean house" at the agency.

"The right thing to do is to remove people who have violated the public trust and have put their playtime and their personal interests ahead of the interests of the nation," Romney said.

The White House said that Obama would be "angry" if the allegations were true and retains confidence in Sullivan, but is waiting for the outcome of the investigation before commenting further.

Issa and Cummings told Sullivan that America's capacity to protect the president depended on the "character and judgment" of Secret Service agents.

"The actions of at least 11 agents and officers in Colombia last week showed an alarming lack of both. Your task is to restore the world's confidence in the US Secret Service," the lawmakers wrote.

Past disciplinary action

The accused agents made "a range of bad decisions, from drinking too much, to engaging with prostitutes, to bringing foreign nationals into contact with sensitive security information", the letter said.

The agents had also opened themselves to the threat of blackmail and other forms of potential compromise, the lawmakers wrote.

They asked Sullivan to provide details of any disciplinary action against US Secret Service agents overseas since 2007 and to ascertain whether the women involved were over 18 years of age.

If they are not, the agents could have broken a US law which makes it illegal for an American to have illicit sexual contact with anyone under that age in a foreign country.

The New York Times on Wednesday carried an interview with one of the prostitutes, who said that the affair came to light after an agent offered her $30 for sex after earlier agreeing to pay $750.

The 24-year-old woman, who was not identified, said the early morning row led to the matter being taken up by hotel and police in Colombia. She said her group of women had approached by the agents in a disco the night before.

Lasting damage

The image of the US Secret Service, known for sharp suited agents with sunglasses and earpieces ready to take a bullet for the president, is being dragged through the mud in the scandal.

The agency, which protects presidents, their families, foreign leaders in the United States and presidential candidates, is enduring a painful trial by media and questions about the agency's entire culture.

The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, said that if the lurid stories were true, it could do lasting damage to the Service's reputation.

"It's going to bring a black mark to the whole Secret Service because, for 150 years or so, I think they've been a pretty respected organisation," Grassley said on MSNBC.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  mitt romney  |  us  |  colombia  |  prostitution
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

The rich will pay - Mpofu

The EFF in Gauteng will focus all its energy on improving the lives of the poor, the party's premier candidate Dali Mpofu says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

SAP Intergration

Western Cape
Definitive Recruitment
Market Related

Trainee Engineering Technician

Western Cape
Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Corporate)
Market Related

Service Desk Analyst

Western Cape
Datafin Recruitment
Market Related

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia Lumia 800

The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, ...

From R2395.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be more sensitive today and can be influenced easily by the energies around you. Try not to be swayed too much by the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.