David Nakamura and Ed O’Keefe,
April 15, 2012
The U.S. Secret Service on Saturday placed 11 agents on administrative leave as the agency investigates allegations that the men brought prostitutes to their hotel rooms in Cartagena, Colombia, on Wednesday night and that a dispute ensued with one of the women over payment the following morning.
Secret Service Assistant Director Paul S. Morrissey said the agents had violated the service’s “zero-tolerance policy on personal misconduct” during their trip to prepare for President Obama’s arrival at an international summit this weekend.
“We regret any distraction from the Summit of the Americas this situation has caused,” Morrissey said in a statement.
The rapidly unfolding scandal has upstaged Obama’s trip to the summit, where he is discussing trade and the economy with 32 other heads of state. Though the agency has said Obama’s security was not compromised, the allegations of misconduct have brought intense scrutiny to an agency that had not had a major lapse since 2009, when two party crashers entered the White House uninvited.
The situation deteriorated further Saturday when the Defense Department announced that five military personnel, who are staying at the same hotel, violated curfew Wednesday night and have been confined to their rooms. The department will conduct its own investigation upon their return to the United States, said Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser of the U.S. Southern Command, where the military personnel were from.
This article was posted: Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 4:21 am