Additional Secret Service Agent Misconduct Surfaces In Prostitution Scandal Investigation

May 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Amid an ongoing investigation into a prostitution scandal involving Secret Service members, new details have emerged about additional sexual misconduct allegations that have been leveled at Secret Service agents over the last five years.

In a Wednesday Senate Homeland Security hearing investigating the scandal, which rocked the agency in April after a dozen secret service officers were implicated for hiring prostitutes in Colombia, Senator Joe Lieberman, the chair of the committee, noted 64 additional allegations of misconduct over the last five years – including one complaint of non-consensual sex.

Lieberman said that most of the complaints “involved sending sexually explicit emails or sexually explicit material on a government computer,” but that three of the complaints involved charges of a relationship with a foreign national, “and one was a complaint of non-consensual sexual intercourse.”

Mark Sullivan, the head of the Secret Service, testified that the allegation of non-consensual sex had been thoroughly investigated by law enforcement, which ultimately decided not to go forward with charges. The other three incidents, he said, involved contact with foreign nationals and that all of the incidents “were investigated and the appropriate administrative action was taken on all three.” According to Sullivan, none of those three incidents involved prostitution.

Sullivan also discussed an incident in which an agent was “separated from the agency” after soliciting an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute in 2008.

In his opening remarks, Sullivan apologized for the Colombia incident and emphasized that what happened in Cartagena last month “is not representative of [the agency's] values or of the high ethical standards we demand from our nearly 7,000 employees.”

“I am deeply disappointed and I apologize for the misconduct of these employees and the distraction it has caused,” he said.

Of primary concern among the committee members was the question of whether or not there may have been a “culture” within the Secret Service that tolerated the sort of behavior in which members engaged last month — particularly after the Washington Post reported Wednesday that several implicated agents charged that was the case.

“It is hard for many people, including me, to believe that on one night in April 2012 in Cartagena, Colombia, 11 secret service agents – there to protect the president – suddenly and spontaneously did something they or other agents had never done before,” Lieberman said in his testimony.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins, of Maine, also seemed skeptical that the incident in Colombia was a unique case.

“The facts so far lead me to conclude that, while not at all representative of the majority of Secret Service personnel, this misconduct was almost certainly not an isolated incident,” she said in her opening statement. “The numbers [of agents] involved, as well as the participation of two senior supervisors, lead me to believe that this was not a one-time event. Rather, and it suggests an issue of culture.”

Collins later pointed to the fact that the involved agents had engaged in similar behaviors independently of each other, as well as the fact that they disguised neither their own nor the prostitutes’ identities when signing into the hotel, as evidence that similar conduct may have been tolerated by the Secret Service in the past.

“Two of the participants were supervisors — one with 22 years of service and the other with 21 — and both were married. That surely sends a message to the rank and file that this kind of activity is tolerated on the road,” she said.

Throughout his testimony, Sullivan disputed that characterization and reiterated his belief that the incident in Colombia was not reflective of the agency as a whole.

“I do not think this is indicative,” he said. “I just think that between the alcohol and, I don’t know, the environment, these individuals did some really dumb things. And I just can’t explain why.”

He also emphasized that President Obama’s security was never at risk because the agents had not yet been briefed on relevant security-related details.

“At the time the misconduct occurred, none of the individuals involved in the misconduct had received any specific protective information, sensitive security documents, firearms, radios or other security-related equipment in their hotel rooms,” he said.

Lieberman reported that the investigation had revealed “troubling” incidents but said that so far it had failed to show “a pattern of misconduct” within the agency at large. He called on whistle blowers to come forward with any additional reports of untoward behavior.

“Our initial review of our Secret Service Agency’s disciplinary records for the last five years … show some individual cases of misconduct that are troubling but are not evidence yet of a pattern of misconduct,” Lieberman said. “These records do reveal 64 instances, again over 5 years in which allegations or complaints concerning sexual misconduct were made against employees of the Secret Service.”

According to acting Inspector General Charles Edwards, who is conducting a three-part independent review of the Secret Service investigation, conclusions from the first phase of the review will be made public in July.

Appeared Here


Four Secret Service Agents Fired In Columbian Hooker-Gate Scandal To Fight Dismissals

May 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Four Secret Service employees have decided to fight their dismissals for engaging in inappropriate conduct in Colombia last month, a development that could unravel what has been a swift and tidy resolution to an embarrassing scandal over agents’ hiring of prostitutes.

The agents are arguing that the agency is making them scapegoats for behavior that the Secret Service has long tolerated, a charge that Director Mark Sullivan may have to address when he appears before a Senate committee Wednesday. He has not spoken in public about the controversy, but according to his prepared testimony, he plans to tell Congress that there was no breach of operational security.

Several of the implicated agents have told associates that the facts of what happened in Cartagena differ from initial media accounts describing a group outing of a dozen men in search of prostitutes. Instead, the men went to different bars and clubs and met women under a variety of circumstances, in some cases resulting in voluntary trysts that did not involve money.

One 29-year-old field agent assigned to the Washington office, who is single and who resigned under the threat of being fired, told investigators in a polygraph examination that he did not think at the time that the two women he brought back to his hotel room were prostitutes. He is among those seeking to overturn their dismissals, according to three people familiar with his case.

The scandal has badly damaged the Secret Service’s reputation, and the fallout has spread to other federal agencies. A dozen members of the military also are accused of hiring prostitutes on the trip, and the Drug Enforcement Administration is looking into allegations, made by a Secret Service agent during the investigation, that DEA members had previously brought prostitutes to their apartments in Cartagena.

According to interviews with multiple former and current employees and people briefed on the inquiry, the Secret Service agents involved brought women to their hotel rooms without hesi­ta­tion. The agency says it was clear that employees should not do anything unbecoming of a Secret Service employee. Current and former agency employees say sexual encounters during official travel had been condoned under an unwritten code that allows what happens on the road to stay there.

They also contend that this tolerance is part of the “Secret Circus” — a mocking nickname that some employees use to describe what ensues when large numbers of agents and officers arrive in a city.

Shortly after landing in Cartagena at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 11, the 55 or so Secret Service members had down time to explore the Caribbean resort. They were there to provide extra security for Obama’s visit for an international summit but had two days before the commander in chief arrived. In Cartagena, prostitution is legal in designated “tolerance zones.”

Secret Service supervisor David Chaney, 48, had spent two decades with the agency and was among the most senior on the plane. He headed out that night to a strip club called the Pley Club, with junior agents in tow, according to two people with knowledge of the events.

Colleagues describe Chaney as gregarious — quick with a joke and to rally for colleagues facing a crisis — and too eager to befriend his subordinates. Efforts to reach Chaney were unsuccessful. Larry Berger, Chaney’s attorney, declined to discuss the details of the case, but said his client put the mission first and never compromised the president’s security.

Chaney has been married for 20 years, but that night he and his colleagues paid the Pley Club a small fee to take at least two of the performers back to the Hotel Caribe, where they and other members of Obama’s advance team were staying, according to the two people familiar with what happened that night.

Separately, a pair of married Secret Service agents who worked together on the agency’s tight-knit, elite counter­assault team — Arthur Huntington and Joe Bongino — headed to the historic old city of Cartagena. They hit the Hard Rock Cafe, which had been recommended in the briefing guide prepared by the State Department, but it was dead. They moved down the street to Tu Candela, a popular bar and disco.

Although the service warns agents in training seminars that extramarital affairs could expose them to blackmail, some married agents are widely known to cheat on their wives. Associates said Huntington, 41, was one who acted differently on many of his trips than he did at home.

Efforts to reach Bongino and Huntington, who has since moved with his wife and two young sons out of their Severna Park home, were unsuccessful.

Huntington’s family has been active in Granite Baptist Church in Glen Burnie.

In Cartagena, while at Tu Candela that Wednesday night, Huntington asked Dania Suarez, a 24-year-old prostitute, to spend the night with him. She agreed in exchange for a “gift” of $800, she later told a television interviewer. Her girlfriend agreed to join Bongino for no charge, Suarez said. People briefed on the investigation corroborated this version of events.

A total of 12 agents were implicated in the activities of that night, after registering the women at the Hotel Caribe’s front desk in keeping with the hotel’s policy for non-paying overnight guests, according to multiple people briefed on the investigation.

Three of those implicated, including Bongino, were cleared of serious misconduct charges. In addition to the four who are challenging their dismissals, at least four others were forced out: Chaney, who immediately took early retirement; Huntington, who was pushed to resign; and two others, who were also dismissed. The fate of one agent is unknown.

One of those cleared is a single agent who speaks Spanish, and who picked up a local woman at the same bar and took her back to his hotel independent of his colleagues, according to two people briefed on the incident. He — along with Bongino and another colleague — kept their jobs after proving that they did not pay for sex. But both the Spanish-speaking agent and Bongino have been shifted off the elite counter­assault team, those briefed on the incident said.

One of those who resigned under pressure but now wants to reverse that move is the single 29-year-old from the Washington field office, who was out with a divorced co-worker from the same office that night. They asked their server at dinner to recommend a non-touristy place for drinks, according to three individuals briefed on the inquiry.

They were directed to a bar with an Egyptian theme, a deejay and a dance floor. Both men later took women from the bar back to their hotel. The divorced colleague has been cleared in the incident, insisting that he told his guest to leave when she asked for money, although he faces minor administrative action.

The 29-year-old agent has told investigators a similar story: that he took two women to his room without realizing they were prostitutes. He maintained, under a polygraph exam, that he told the women to leave when they asked for money for sex, according to associates familiar with his account. He has withdrawn his resignation.

The Washington Post is not naming three of the agents who are fighting their ousters because their cases have not been resolved. Agency supervisor Greg Stokes, another employee recommended for termination and now pushing back against his punishment, has been named in previous reports.

One of those contesting his treatment was not originally under suspicion. That agent took a woman to a different hotel on another night and later came forward voluntarily to inform his bosses that he, too, had a sexual encounter.

The ramifications for that agent have been severe: His pregnant wife threatened to move out, his colleagues said. Like his peers, he was pressured to resign. He hired an attorney to determine whether he can fight for his job.

The morning after the carousing, the party ended for all when Huntington refused to pay Suarez and, she said, pushed her out of his room into the seventh-floor hallway, setting off the dispute that would lead to the exposure of the misconduct.

What none of the agents realized was the extent to which the Secret Service already had irritated the hotel manager, even before the hallway disturbance. The manager, according to people familiar with the investigation, was infuriated by the noise the agents made at the hotel bar and the inconvenience they caused other guests.

Outside the Hotel Caribe, Secret Service officers had repeatedly allowed their bomb-sniffing Belgian Malinois shepherds to defecate on the lone grassy patch along the hotel’s beachfront property — directly in front of the hotel manager’s apartment. The manager did not respond to e-mails and phone messages seeking comment.

After Colombian police alerted the U.S. Embassy, a Secret Service official dispatched to the hotel to investigate found the manager waiting with a clipboard full of complaints and quick to provide names.

On the afternoon of April 12, Paula Reid, the special agent in charge of Miami and South America, conducted initial interviews with the 12 men in Cartagena. Sullivan later ordered all 12 flown home the following morning, just hours before Obama arrived.

But their accounts varied — much more widely than initially reported. Agency investigators concluded that nine of the 12 men paid or solicited prostitutes, but the agents now disputing the findings insist that the punishment outweighs their crimes.

One of the implicated men has told associates that a senior security supervisor had advised agents to follow loose guidelines when spending time with women they met on the road: One-night stands were permitted, this supervisor explained, as long as the relationships were cut off when the agents left the country.

Now, the agency is underscoring off-duty conduct more clearly.

“You should always assume you are being watched when on an official assignment,” a director responsible for the counterassault team warned in a memo to staff members last week. “Do not put yourself in a situation in your personal or professional life that would cause embarrassment to you, your family, or the Secret Service.”

The agency’s rush to judgment came as a shock to the Spanish-speaker, who asked his overnight guest to write a note to his superiors that he thought would clear his name.

“I voluntarily spent the night,” this woman wrote, according to a document reviewed by The Post. “He only gave me $12 to pay for my taxi. . . . It was a pleasure meeting [him] and before saying goodbye I gave him my e-mail address hoping to see him again.”

Only one agent was completely cleared, after proving that someone else had improperly used his name to register a female guest.

Staff writers Carlos Lozada and Joe Davidson and research editor Alice Crites contributed to this report.

Appeared Here


Not Just The Secret Service: US DEA Agents Under Investigation For Hiring Hookers In Columbia

May 21, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – A month after the Secret Service was rocked by allegations that agents brought prostitutes to a Colombia hotel where they were preparing for a visit by President Obama, the Drug Enforcement Administration today announced that at least three of its agents are also under investigation for allegedly hiring prostitutes in Cartagena.

Two of the agents allegedly had encounters with masseuses in the apartment of one of the agents, according to Sen. Susan Collins, the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

“It’s disturbing that we may be uncovering a troubling culture that spans more than one law enforcement agency,” the Maine Republican said this evening. “In addition to the Secret Service scandal, we now learn that at least two DEA agents apparently entertained female foreign national masseuses in the Cartagena apartment of one of the agents. The evidence uncovered thus far indicates that this likely was not just a one-time incident.”

The revelations that Secret Service personnel had been drinking heavily and cavorting with prostitutes ahead of Obama’s trip to Colombia last month overshadowed the president’s trip to the Summit of the Americas. Twelve members of the military were also investgated for allegedly hiring prostitutes.

Eight of the 12 Secret Service employees implicated in the scandal lost their jobs, another is in the process of losing his security clearances, and three agents were cleared of serious misconduct but still could be disciplined. The military has completed its investigation but no disciplinary action has been carried out.

“The Drug Enforcement Administration was provided information from the Secret Service unrelated to the Cartagena hotel Secret Service incident, which DEA immediately followed up on, making DEA employees available to be interviewed by the Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General,” a DEA spokesperson said in a statement.

“DEA takes allegations of misconduct very seriously and will take appropriate personnel action, if warranted, upon the conclusion of the OIG investigation.” the statement said.

A spokesman for the OIG said the DEA is cooperating in the investigation, which is being coordinated with the Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.

The DEA has agents posted in Colombia to work on counter-narcotic and drug interdiction missions with Colombian authorities. According to officials the agents were among those assigned in Colombia, they were not specifically working on the President’s trip.

The revelations about the DEA agents comes ahead of a hearing scheduled on Wednesday with Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

Appeared Here


Prostitute At Center Of Secret Service Columbian Hooker-Gate Scandal Says Agents “…Were A Bunch Of Fools.”

May 6, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – New York Republican Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, acted after Dania Londono Suarez appeared on television to reveal her side of the story.

She said that it would have been easy for her to steal any of the documents or plans that President Barack Obama’s bodyguards had with them in a hotel room on a presidential trip to Cartagena, Columbia, last month.

Miss Suarez said: “They were a bunch of fools. They are responsible for Obama’s security and they still let this happen.

“I could have done a thousand other things. If I had wanted to, I could have gone through all his documents, his wallet, his suitcase.”

Miss Suarez told Caracol News in Cartegena that she called the police after the Secret Service agent with whom she spent the night refused to pay her the $800 (£500) he had promised.
Related Articles

“Let’s go, bitch – I’m not going to pay you,” she said that he told her before throwing her out of the room in the early morning.

A Secret Service investigation into “misconduct” has resulted in nine of the 12 agents that made up the president’s advance security team to Cartegena losing their jobs. But Miss Suarez said that although she was at the heart of the scandal, she had not been interviewed by US investigators.

A visibly angry Congressman King said this weekend: “I have asked the Secret Service for an explanation of how they have failed to find this woman when the news media seems to have no trouble doing so.”

Mr King said it was important that she was interviewed to ensure that the president’s security was not compromised. A Secret Service source told The Sunday Telegraph that “no stone will be left unturned” and that Mr King’s demands were being taken very seriously.

Miss Suarez said in her interview that she and some girlfriends had met a group of American men in a bar on April 11 and drank two bottles of vodka with them. She had no idea that they worked for the Secret Service when one of them asked her to return with him to his hotel room.

Miss Suarez agreed to go after the agent promised to give her a “little gift” of $800-dollars. But next morning he threw her out without paying and when she knocked on the hotel room door of another agent he refused to help her.

Miss Suarez said: “I said in Spanish, ‘Look, if you show no consideration for me, why would I have consideration toward you and not call the police? In that moment, I felt strong’.”

Prostitution is legal in Colombia and Miss Suarez said she had every right to be paid for her services. She said: “I told him, there’s a problem here. Because if I had come with you to enjoy myself that would have been one thing. But I didn’t come to enjoy myself. I had to beg from 6.30 am to 10.00 am for him to pay me.”

At first the agent offered her about $27 to pay for a taxi home and eventually after she returned to the hotel room with a police officer he gave her $250-dollars (£155)

Appeared Here


US Secret Service Agent’s Columbian Prostitute Begged For Hours To Be Paid – Agent Offered $27 After Receiving $800 In Services – Ending Up Paying Just $250 After Police Were Involved, Stiffing His Whore Out Of $550

May 4, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – One of the Colombian prostitutes involved in a sex scandal with US Secret Service agents broke her silence Friday to tell how she had begged for hours to be paid $800 for her services.

“I told him, there’s a problem here. Because if I had come with you to enjoy myself that would have been one thing. But I didn’t come to enjoy myself,” Dania Londono told Caracol Television and W radio. “I had to beg from 6:30 am to 10:00am for him to pay me.”

Londono told the television she had met the men when she was in a bar in Cartagena, Colombia, with three of her friends.

They drank two bottles of vodka with the men and danced and then they agreed to go back to their hotel rooms, but Londono insisted she had asked the man she was with to give her an $800 “gift” in return.

“We danced and when we left I said, ‘Well, love, you have to give me $800, that is the gift I want to go with you,’” she noted. “He said, ‘Okay, baby. Let’s go to the hotel.’

“Neither my friend nor I were aware that they were agents of Obama at all.”

She said the next morning when she asked for her money, he swore at her and offered her 50,000 pesos ($27) for a taxi fare. Eventually with the intervention of a local police officer, who was guarding the hotel corridor, she accepted $250.

The Secret Service has been scrambling to contain the scandal that originated in Colombia in mid-April when US President Barack Obama was visiting to attend the Summit of the Americas.

More than two dozen Secret Service agents and military personnel were sent home from Cartagena where they had been preparing security for Obama’s visit.

They were accused of drinking heavily, visiting a strip club and consorting with prostitutes, including bringing sex workers to their hotel rooms.

Eight agents have since been dismissed, the security clearance of one other has been permanently revoked, and three others have been cleared of major misconduct, according to the agency.

Investigations into the actions by the agents and some 12 military personnel are ongoing.

Londono dismissed the agents as “a bunch of fools… They are responsible for Obama’s security and they still let this happen… I could have done a thousand other things,” she said, according to a transcript on CNN.

Appeared Here


“Airport Style” Security (Long Lines, X-Rays, And Patdowns, K-9′s In Train Cars) Coming To Chicago Area Train Stations During NATO Summit

May 4, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Some stations on the Metra Electric Line and South Shore Line could be shut down during the upcoming NATO summit, and passengers at other stations could face airport-style security screenings, due to the Secret Service security plan that could be released as soon as Friday afternoon.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine has exclusive details on those security measures, which the Secret Service is expected to officially unveil on Friday, or at the very latest, on Monday. Federal officials have promised the announcement will include a “comprehensive list of street closures and parking restrictions surrounding the NATO summit.”

The Secret Service has been battling with Metra and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District over the security measures that will be needed on the Electric and South Shore lines, which both run directly under McCormick Place.

Metra and NICTD won round one of that battle, as trains on those two lines will continue to operate during the summit, although there will be significant delays at times, with trains possibly being stopped for security screening before passing McCormick Place.

The commuter rail agencies are still in talks with the Secret Service over major security measures for passengers, including airport-style screening of all riders during the summit. That would mean commuters on those lines would face patdowns, X-ray screenings, and long security lines at their stations before boarding trains.

The Secret Service initially wanted all trains to stop short of McCormick Place, with shuttle buses taking passengers around the summit site.

Then they talked about canine units conducting searches on trains, which would be halted before reaching McCormick Place.

Now, the Secret Service is planning for airport-style security screening at a limited number of stations on those two train lines. Many other stations on the Electric and South Shore lines – serving the South Side, southern suburbs and northwest Indiana – would be shut down during the summit.

Neither Metra nor the Secret Service will talk about the security measures yet. But sources said, with just over two weeks until the summit, nothing has been decided.

Earlier this week, Chicago police handled hundreds of May Day demonstrators marching from the West Side into the Loop, successfully containing the crowd with no arrests or injuries.

Many called it a trial run or dress rehearsal for NATO – for both police and protesters.

What most people didn’t see were all the CTA buses quietly re-routed around the demonstrations and marches, which will also be part of a CTA strategy to be announced after the Secret Service restrictions released.

The CTA plan will encourage commuters to use its rail lines, all of which will operate with full service. Many of its buses will not.

There will be what the CTA calls “hard closures” of bus routes affected by the security perimeter; and “soft rolling closures,” or temporary delays on other bus lines – like there were during Tuesday’s protest march – to wait for passing motorcades, parades, or demonstrations.

The CTA said bus managers and volunteers will be on the street at bus stops to help riders cope with the three-day detours.

What we’re hearing is that the CTA, RTA, and most other local agencies have been told to wait for the Secret Service announcement, before revealing their own plans.

That hints at an avalanche of information coming out about summit plans right after the feds break their silence and post all the security restrictions on various websites.

The tentative plan had that happening at around 6 p.m. Friday, but that could change.

Appeared Here


On-Duty Secret Service Agent Driving Car That Killed 47 Year Old Woman Crossing Street In New York City

May 4, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – A 47-year-old Brooklyn woman was struck and killed by a car driven by an on-duty Secret Service agent as she attempted to cross Atlantic Avenue Thursday afternoon, police said.

Maria Tripp of Brooklyn was crossing Atlantic at Ralph Avenue when she was hit by a car going westbound on Atlantic at about 4:48 p.m., police said. Responding officers found her on the ground with head and body trauma.

Tripp was transported to Interfaith Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The driver of the black Chevrolet Impala was a Secret Service agent who was on duty at the time, authorities said. He stayed at the scene and cooperated with NYPD, police said.

The investigation is ongoing.

Appeared Here


3 Of 12 Secret Service Agents Initially Investigated In Columbian Prostitution Scandal Refused Polygraph Tests, Got The Boot

May 2, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - Three of the 12 Secret Service agents involved in the Colombia prostitution scandal refused to cooperate with authorities and submit to a polygraph test, according to House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, R-New York.

The three agents were among the first forced out of the service when news of the scandal in Cartagena broke, King told CNN late Tuesday. The nine remaining agents took the polygraph. And while none of them failed the test, some responses led to the loss of several jobs.

King received the information as a part of a response to 50 questions he sent to Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan on April 20. Sullivan submitted his answers to King on Tuesday.

While King did not send CNN copies of the responses — which he said are marked “law enforcement sensitive” — he highlighted several details.

Among other things, one agent said in the polygraph test that he was “actively engaged” with one of the prostitutes when he said she wanted to get paid, King said. In response, the agent threw her out of his room.

The agent told U.S. officials he didn’t realize the woman was a prostitute, and has not been fired.

U.S. officials have now interviewed 10 of the 12 women involved in the scandal, King noted. The Secret Service and Colombian authorities are currently trying to track down the remaining two.

King stressed what he called a “pleasant surprise” — Sullivan’s decision to call the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general before bringing the agents back from Colombia.

King said there weren’t many surprises in the responses to his questionnaire.

“Sullivan was giving us good information all along,” he told CNN.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Rep. Elijah Cummings, the panel’s ranking Democrat, have submitted another 10 questions to Sullivan, including a precise time line of exactly what happened in Cartagena.

The pair also sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta requesting details of a military investigation by May 8.

In their correspondence to Panetta, Issa and Cummings said security personnel showed an “alarming lack” of “character” and “judgment.”

The Homeland Security Department’s inspector general is currently investigating the scandal, in addition to four congressional committees as well as internal reviews by the agency, the military and the White House.

The top legislators on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said earlier Tuesday they’ve also sent a letter to Sullivan asking for information on the incident. A total of nine agents have resigned or are in the process of being forced out.

Three other Secret Service agents were cleared of serious misconduct, and the military is investigating the alleged involvement of 12 of its service members.

On Monday, the Homeland Security official announced his separate investigation of the incident, which embarrassed the government and raised questions of a possible security breach before President Barack Obama arrived for the Summit of the Americas.

The “field work is beginning immediately,” acting Inspector General Charles Edwards said in a statement.

The Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano about the controversy at a hearing last week. On Tuesday, Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and ranking Republican Sen. Susan Collins said they sent Sullivan a letter Monday that also sought answers about what happened.

“We wish to determine whether those events were indicative of a pattern of behavior by agents or officers of the Secret Service, and need to be addressed systemically, or if they instead constituted an isolated incident warranting action only with respect to the individuals involved,” said the letter from Lieberman and Collins.

The U.S. Southern Command expects to finish questioning the 12 military personnel implicated in possible wrongdoing this week before forwarding its findings to military lawyers for review, and then to Gen. Douglas Fraser, commanding general of the U.S. Southern Command, a Defense Department official said Monday.

Last week, the Secret Service distributed new rules for its agents on assignment intended to prevent a repeat of such alleged misconduct, according to two government sources familiar with the resulting investigation.

Enhanced Standards of Conduct, the new guidelines given to all Secret Service personnel, make clear that standards of behavior required in the United States apply on missions abroad, the sources said.

Effective immediately, the new standards require detailed briefings before each trip that will include safety precautions and any necessary designations of establishments and areas that are “off limits” for Secret Service personnel, the sources said.

Also in the new standards, foreigners are banned from Secret Service hotel rooms at all times, except for hotel staff and host nation law enforcement and government officials on official business, according to the officials, and all Secret Service personnel are prohibited from going to a “nonreputable establishment.”

The new standards specify that U.S. laws apply to Secret Service personnel when traveling, rendering invalid the excuse that specific activity is legal in the foreign country, the officials said.

In addition, the new guidelines allow moderate alcohol consumption when off duty, but prohibit alcohol consumption within 10 hours of reporting for duty or at any time when at the hotel where the protected official is staying, the officials explained.

An additional supervisor from the Office of Professional Responsibility will now accompany the “jump teams” that bring vehicles for motorcades and other transportation, the officials said. Agents involved in the Colombia incident were part of such a jump team.

Allegations of further transgressions by agents have emerged after the initial reports of heavy drinking and consorting with prostitutes last month before Obama arrived in Cartagena.

Recent claims include an account from El Salvador described by CNN affiliate Seatte TV station KIRO as very similar to the Colombia scandal, involving members of the Secret Service and other government agencies.

However, Panetta said last week that his department is not investigating any of its troops over the reported incident in El Salvador, while State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said embassy staff in El Salvador were being questioned about the allegations

The Drug Enforcement Administration also is prepared to look into, “in an appropriate manner and immediately,” allegations that it deems “credible” regarding its agents in El Salvador, agency spokesman Rusty Payne said. But he added that, while the DEA had seen news reports, “we are unaware of any allegations of misconduct.”

Appeared Here


Hooker-Gate: Homeland Security Opens Second Investigation Into Secret Service Prostitution Scandal

May 1, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - The acting inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security is launching a separate investigation into the Secret Service prostitution scandal.

The “field work is beginning immediately,” acting Inspector General Charles Edwards said in a statement issued Monday.

The DHS review is in addition to an internal probe the Secret Service is already conducting as well as a military investigation into U.S. troops linked to the controversy.

The development comes as Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan faces a pair of deadlines Tuesday to answer dozens of questions about the issue.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, R-New York, submitted 50 questions to Sullivan, while House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Rep. Elijah Cummings, the panel’s ranking Democrat, have 10 questions they want answered, including a precise time line of exactly what happened in Cartagena.

“The incident in Cartagena is troubling because Secret Service agents and officers made a range of bad decisions,” they said.

Issa and Cummings also sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta requesting details of the military investigation by May 8.

The incident last month before President Barack Obama’s trip to the Summit of the Americas in Colombia involved Secret Service and U.S. military members who allegedly consorted with prostitutes.

Twenty-four people have been linked to the scandal: 12 from the Secret Service and 12 from the military.

In their correspondence to Panetta, Issa and Cummings said security personnel showed an “alarming lack” of “character” and “judgment.”

Nine of the Secret Service members have resigned or are being forced out, and three others were cleared of serious misconduct, while a separate military investigation has yet to announce any measures against the members allegedly involved.

The U.S. Southern Command expects to finish questioning the 12 military personnel early this week before forwarding its findings to military lawyers for review, and then to Gen. Douglas Fraser, commanding general of the U.S. Southern Command, a Defense Department official said Monday.

On Friday, the Secret Service distributed new rules for its agents on assignment intended to prevent a repeat of such alleged misconduct, according to two government sources familiar with the resulting investigation.

Called Enhanced Standards of Conduct, the new guidelines given to all Secret Service personnel make clear that standards of behavior required in the United States apply on missions abroad, the sources said.

Effective immediately, the new standards require detailed briefings before each trip that will include safety precautions and any necessary designations of establishments and areas that are “off limits” for Secret Service personnel, the sources said.

Also in the new standards, foreigners are banned from Secret Service hotel rooms at all times, except for hotel staff and host nation law enforcement and government officials on official business, according to the officials, and all Secret Service personnel are prohibited from going to a “non-reputable establishment.”

The new standards specify that U.S. laws apply to Secret Service personnel when traveling, rendering invalid the excuse that specific activity is legal in the foreign country, the officials said.

In addition, the new guidelines allow moderate alcohol consumption when off duty, but prohibit alcohol consumption within 10 hours of reporting for duty or at any time when at the hotel where the protected official is staying, the officials explained.

An additional supervisor from the Office of Professional Responsibility will now accompany the “jump teams” that bring vehicles for motorcades and other transportation, the officials said. Agents involved in the Colombia incident were part of such a jump team.

Allegations of further transgressions by agents have emerged after the initial reports of heavy drinking and consorting with prostitutes last month before Obama arrived in Cartagena.

Recent claims include an account from El Salvador described by CNN affiliate Seattle TV station KIRO as very similar to the Colombia scandal, involving members of the Secret Service and other government agencies.

The KIRO report cited an unnamed U.S. government contractor who worked extensively with the Secret Service advance team in San Salvador before Obama’s trip there in March 2011.

The source said he was with about a dozen Secret Service agents and a few U.S. military specialists at a strip club in the city a few days before Obama arrived. The men drank heavily at the club, and most of them paid extra for access to a VIP section where they were provided sexual favors in return for cash, the source told the station.

The station reported that the strip club’s owner corroborated the allegations. The owner confirmed that a large number of agents, and some military escorts, “descended on his club” that week and were there at least three nights in a row, KIRO reported.

The owner said his club routinely takes care of high-ranking employees of the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador as well as visiting agents from the FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, KIRO said.

The government contractor source said he told the agents it was a “really bad idea” to take the strippers back to their hotel rooms, but several agents bragged that they “did this all the time” and “not to worry about it,” KIRO reported.

Panetta said Thursday that his department is not investigating any of its troops over the reported incident in El Salvador. But the State Department is questioning its embassy staff in El Salvador about the allegations, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday.

The Drug Enforcement Administration also is prepared to look into, “in an appropriate manner and immediately,” allegations that it deems “credible” regarding its agents in El Salvador, agency spokesman Rusty Payne said. But he added that, while the DEA has seen news reports, “we are unaware of any allegations of misconduct.”

Appeared Here


Babysitters To Accompany Secret Service Agents To Keep Them From Overdrinking, Bringing Whores To Their Hotel Rooms, And Out Of Sleazy Bars

April 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Embarrassed by a prostitution scandal, the Secret Service will assign chaperones on some trips to enforce new rules of conduct that make clear that excessive drinking, entertaining foreigners in their hotel rooms and cavorting in disreputable establishments are no longer tolerated.

The stricter measures, issued by the Secret Service on Friday for agents and employees, apply even when traveling personnel are off duty.

The policies, outlined in a memorandum obtained by The Associated Press, are the agency’s latest attempt to respond to the scandal that surfaced as President Barack Obama was headed to a Latin American summit in Cartagena, Colombia, earlier this month.

The embattled Secret Service director, Mark Sullivan, urged agents and other employees to “consider your conduct through the lens of the past several weeks.”

Sullivan said the rules “cannot address every situation that our employees will face as we execute our dual-missions throughout the world.” He added: “The absence of a specific, published standard of conduct covering an act or behavior does not mean that the act is condoned, is permissible or will not call for — and result in — corrective or disciplinary action.”

“All employees have a continuing obligation to confront expected abuses or perceived misconduct,” Sullivan said.

Ethics classes will be conducted for agency employees next week.

The changes were intended to staunch the embarrassing disclosures since April 13, when a prostitution scandal erupted in Cartagena involving 12 Secret Service agents, officers and supervisors and 12 more enlisted military personnel who were there ahead of Obama’s visit to the Summit of the Americas.

But the new policies raised questions about claims that the behavior discovered in Cartagena was an isolated incident: Why would the Secret Service formally issue new regulations covering thousands of employees if such activities were a one-time occurrence?

“It’s too bad common-sense policy has to be dictated in this manner,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “New conduct rules are necessary to preventing more shenanigans from happening in the future, and whether these are the best, and most cost effective, rules to stop future misconduct remains to be seen.”

The rules did not mention prostitutes or strip clubs. But they prohibit employees from allowing foreigners, except hotel staff or foreign law enforcement colleagues, into their hotel rooms. They also ban visits to “nonreputable” establishments, which were not defined. The State Department was expected to brief Secret Service employees on trips about areas and businesses considered off-limits to them.

During trips in which the presidential limousine and other bulletproof vehicles are transported by plane, senior-level chaperones will accompany agents and enforce conduct rules, including one from the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., praised the new rules as “very positive steps by the Secret Service to make clear what is expected of every agent and also makes clear what will not be tolerated.”

The Secret Service has forced eight employees from their jobs and was seeking to revoke the security clearance of another employee, which would effectively force him to resign. Three others have been cleared of serious wrongdoing. The military was conducting its own, separate investigation but canceled the security clearances of all 12 enlisted personnel.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano assured senator this week that the incident in Colombia appeared to be an isolated case, saying she would be surprised if it represented a broader cultural problem. The next day, the Secret Service acknowledged it was investigating whether its employees hired strippers and prostitutes in advance of Obama’s visit last year to El Salvador. Prostitution is legal in both Colombia and El Salvador.

“If they are true, the emergence of these anecdotes about past Secret Service misconduct is precisely why our committee will be trying to determine if such behavior is widespread,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman, R-Conn., who heads the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The committee has asked Sullivan for information “related to misconduct by agents on assignment,” he said.

In a confidential message to senators on Thursday, the Secret Service said its Office of Professional Responsibility had not received complaints about officer behavior in El Salvador but would investigate.

On Capitol Hill, early signs surfaced of eroding support for the Secret Service director. Grassley said Sullivan’s job could be secure if the scandal were an isolated incident. “But if it goes much deeper, you know, nothing happens or nothing’s changed in Washington if heads don’t roll,” Grassley said on CBS “This Morning.”

The White House said the president remained supportive of Sullivan and confident in the capabilities of the Secret Service.

Appeared Here


New Rules For Agents As Second Secret Service Sex Scandal Surfaces

April 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Seeking to shake the disgrace of a prostitution scandal, the Secret Service late on Friday tightened conduct rules for its agents to prohibit them from drinking excessively, visiting disreputable establishments while traveling or bringing foreigners to their hotel rooms.

The new behaviour policies apply to Secret Service agents even when they are off duty while traveling, barring them from drinking alcohol within 10 hours of working, according to a memorandum describing the changes obtained by The Associated Press. In some cases under the new rules, chaperones will accompany agents on trips. The embattled Secret Service director, Mark Sullivan, urged agents and other employees to “consider your conduct through the lens of the past several weeks.”

The Secret Service said it would conduct a training session on ethics next week.

Mr Sullivan said the rules “cannot address every situation that our employees will face as we execute our dual-missions throughout the world.” He added: “The absence of a specific, published standard of conduct covering an act or behaviour does not mean that the act is condoned, is permissible, or will not call for – and result in – corrective or disciplinary action.”

“All employees have a continuing obligation to confront expected abuses or perceived misconduct,” Mr Sullivan said.

The agency-wide changes were intended to staunch the embarrassing disclosures since April 13, when a prostitution scandal erupted in Colombia involving 12 Secret Service agents, officers and supervisors and 12 more enlisted military personnel who were there ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to a South American summit.

But the new policies announced on Friday raised questions about claims that the behaviour discovered in Cartagena was an isolated incident: Why would the Secret Service formally issue new regulations covering thousands of employees if such activities were a one-time occurrence?

“It’s too bad common sense policy has to be dictated in this manner,” said Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “New conduct rules are necessary to preventing more shenanigans from happening in the future, and whether these are the best, and most cost effective, rules to stop future misconduct remains to be seen.”

The new rules did not mention prostitutes or strip clubs, but they prohibit employees from allowing foreigners – except hotel staff or foreign law enforcement colleagues – into their hotel rooms. They also ban visits to “non-reputable” establishments, which were not defined. The State Department was expected to brief Secret Service employees on trips about areas and businesses considered off-limits to them.

During trips in which the presidential limousine and other bulletproof vehicles are transported by plane, senior-level chaperones will accompany agents and enforce conduct rules, including one from the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

In a Wonderland moment, the operator of the “Lips” strip club in San Salvador, Dan Ertel, organised a news conference late on Friday and said he didn’t know whether any Secret Service employees were among his customers. Mr Ertel said the club was the only one in the country where prostitutes don’t work. But a dancer who identified herself by her stage name, Yajaira, told the AP earlier in the day that she would have sex with customers for money after her shift ended.

“You can pay for dances, touch a little, but there’s no sex,” she said. “But if somebody wants, if they pay me enough, we can do it after I leave at 3 in the morning.”

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Republican Peter King, R-N.Y., praised the new rules as “very positive steps by the Secret Service to make clear what is expected of every agent and also makes clear what will not be tolerated.”

The Secret Service already has forced eight employees from their jobs and was seeking to revoke the security clearance of another employee, which would effectively force him to resign. Three others have been cleared of serious wrongdoing. The military was conducting its own, separate investigation but cancelled the security clearances of all 12 enlisted personnel.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano assured senators earlier this week that the incident in Colombia appeared to be an isolated case, saying she would be surprised if it represented a broader cultural problem. The next day, the Secret Service acknowledged it was investigating whether its employees hired strippers and prostitutes in advance of Obama’s visit last year to El Salvador. Prostitution is legal in both Colombia and El Salvador.

In a confidential message to senators on Thursday, the Secret Service said its Office of Professional Responsibility had not received complaints about officer behaviour in El Salvador but would investigate.

“Fifteen years in business, it’s the one club in this country that does not prostitute the girls,” said Mr Ertel, the owner of Lips, at his news conference. “Look, every guy that comes in there propositions the girls, and the answer is always going to be ‘no.’ Was there Secret Service in there? I have no idea.”

On Capitol Hill, early signs surfaced of eroding support for the Secret Service director. Mr Grassley said Mr Sullivan’s job could be secure if the scandal were an isolated incident. “But if it goes much deeper, you know, nothing happens or nothing’s changed in Washington if heads don’t roll,” Mr Grassley said on CBS “This Morning.”

A member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Republican Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., warned against a “knee-jerk reaction” and urged a full investigation. But he compared Mr Sullivan as the agency’s director to the captain of a foundering ship: “I’m a Navy guy,” he said. “The captain of the ship can be in his cabin sleeping and if the ship runs aground the captain of the ship is responsible. I’m not saying anybody’s head should roll here, but I expect the captain of the ship to do the right thing.”

The White House said on Friday that the president remained supportive of Mr Sullivan and confident in the capabilities of the Secret Service.

The fallout from the scandal remained raw. When an AP reporter on Friday visited the home in Maryland of Gregory Stokes, who lost his job in the agency’s first round of disciplinary action, someone in the home called police, who asked the AP to leave his property.

Appeared Here


Veteran Lawmaker Wants Independent Investigation Of US Secret Service – “…Nothing’s Changed In Washington If Heads Don’t Roll”

April 27, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – A veteran Republican lawmaker says it’s time for an inspector general’s investigation to find how widespread the problems at the Secret Service are.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, says the nation needs to know whether reports of sexual misbehavior by agents traveling in advance of the president reflect part of the culture of the Secret Service. He says national security and the president’s safety could be at risk.

Grassley told CBS’ “This Morning” that the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general can handle the investigation — so long as that office can maintain its independence from the department and the White House.

Grassley said Friday that officials must be held accountable. As he put it, “You know nothing’s changed in Washington if heads don’t roll.”

Appeared Here


New US Secret Service Scandal – El Salvador: Agents Bragged About Routine Use Of Third-World Whores While On Out Of Country Details For Presidential Visits

April 26, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Seattle-based Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne (KIROTV- CBS- COX MEDIA GROUP) just returned from El Salvador, where he interviewed a U.S. government subcontractor who worked extensively with the Secret Service advance team (snipers, K-9 and explosives sweeps) in San Salvador prior to President Obama’s trip there in March of 2011.

The eyewitness says he joined about a dozen Secret Service agents and a few U.S. military specialists at a strip club in San Salvador a few days before President Obama and his family arrived in El Salvador to meet with its new president, Mauricio Funes.

This source witnessed the majority of the men drink heavily (“wasted,” “heavily intoxicated”) at the strip club. He says most of the Secret Service “advance-team” members also paid extra for access to the VIP section of the club where they were provided a number of sexual favors in return for their cash. Although our source says he told the agents it was a “really bad idea” to take the strippers back to their hotel rooms, several agents bragged that they “did this all the time” and “not to worry about it.” Our source says at least two agents had escorts check into their rooms. It is unclear whether the escorts who returned to the hotels were some of the strippers from the same club.

These alleged incidents in El Salvador occurred a full year prior to recent revelations that secret service agents used prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, on a presidential trip this month.

To further confirm information provided about behaviors in El Salvador that reportedly occurred in March of 2011, Halsne interviewed the owner of the San Salvador strip club in which the subcontractor said they visited. The strip club’s owner confirmed a large number of U.S. secret service agents (and some military escorts) “descended on his club” that week prior to President Obama’s visit. He claims agents were there at least three nights in a row. “No surprise to me.” The owner told Halsne his club routinely takes care of high-ranking employees of the U.S. embassy in San Salvador as well as visiting FBI and DEA agents. The owner says his reputation for “security” and “privacy” makes him a popular strip club owner with “those who want to be discreet.” He told Halsne during a lengthy interview, he doesn’t allow prostitution inside the club and that all his “girls” are at least 18-years-old. He says the girls can do what they want after work, but he discourages them from making contact with customers at other locations.

This investigation is still fast-developing. Halsne has names of some of the agents allegedly involved in the partying and has viewed records which add credibility to the subcontractor’s eyewitness testimony. KIRO-TV is currently writing and editing-together a series of television stories for air beginning at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 26.

Appeared Here


Strip Clubs And Hiring Prostitutes While Secret Service Agents Are On The Road Is Nothing New

April 25, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Some Secret Service employees accused of misconduct in the Colombian prostitution scandal are privately contending that their conduct didn’t warrant dismissal because senior managers tolerated similar behavior during official trips, according to people familiar with the employees’ thinking.

Several of the men who agreed to resign under pressure last week are also considering reversing their decisions and fighting to keep their jobs, said the people knowledgeable about the case.

The prospect of Secret Service agents sharing embarrassing tales about rank-and-file employees and superiors partying to the hilt could bring more anguish to an agency reeling from scandal.

Those close to the accused employees said that in an effort to fight for their jobs they could opt to divulge details of how colleagues spent some of their downtime on presidential trips — drinking heavily, visiting strip clubs and cavorting with women for hire.

“Of course it has happened before” said one agent not implicated in the matter, remarking on the Secret Service’s history of occasionally licentious partying. “This is not the first time. It really only blew up in this case because the [U.S. Embassy] was alerted.”

In a statement Tuesday, Assistant Director Paul S. Morrissey said the service “is committed to conducting a full, thorough and fair investigation in this matter, and will not hesitate to take appropriate action should any additional information come to light.”

President Obama, visiting the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Tuesday, faced questions from late-night host Jimmy Fallon about the quality of the president’s protectors. Obama stressed that the actions of a few should not overshadow the dedication of the agency.

“The Secret Service, these guys are incredible,” Obama said, according to a press pool report of his visit. “They protect me, they protect our girls. A couple of knuckleheads shouldn’t detract from what they do. What they were thinking, I don’t know. That’s why they’re not there anymore.”

Twelve Secret Service employees and 11 military service members have been implicated in the misconduct ahead of Obama’s trip this month to Cartagena, Colombia, for an economic summit. The men are accused of heavy drinking, visits to strip clubs and payments to prostitutes.

Last week, the agency moved to oust six of the service’s employees, including two supervisors, and cleared a seventh of serious misconduct. On Tuesday, it made decisions on the other five, saying that two more had agreed to resign, two would retain their service employment but face demotion, and another would be recommended for dismissal but could work for other federal agencies.

Lawrence Berger, attorney for several employees who were recommended for removal, declined to comment on his clients’ cases.

As the investigation continues, differing accounts have emerged about the men’s alleged behavior on the night of April 11 and morning of April 12. Congressional officials briefed on the investigation have said some of the men argued that they did not know the women were prostitutes when they brought them back to the Hotel Caribe, where they were lodging, not far from the Hilton where Obama was scheduled to stay.

In an internal employee-only briefing Tuesday, Secret Service security officials said that not all of the men may have had sexual encounters with prostitutes, according to a person familiar with the briefing. But the officials said that the employees implicated in Cartagena violated policy simply by soliciting prostitutes and negotiating prices for services, whether they received the services or not. In Colombia, prostitution is legal, but hotel guests are often asked to pay a fee if an additional guest joins them overnight.

The people familiar with the accused employees said some of them have said there was no sexual activity because the men were so drunk that they fell asleep immediately after bringing the women to their rooms.

Agents not involved in the Colombia trip, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss matters publicly, said the events in Cartagena may be embarrassing, but they are not without precedent. They pointed to a 2009 visit to Buenos Aires by former President Bill Clinton, whose protective detail included agents and uniformed officers. During that trip, the agents said, members of the detail went out for a late night of partying at strip clubs.

“You take a bunch of guys out of the country and have a lot of women showering them with attention, bad things are bound to happen,” one agent said.

The scandal has been a deep blow to morale among current and former agents, who feel tarred by the behavior of the relatively small group of men, said James Huse Jr. , a former assistant director. He called the alleged misconduct “an egregious failure on the part of those people involved.”

One former agent disputed the suggestion that agents and officers accused of misdeeds in Cartagena risked impairing their abilities to perform their assignments after Obama arrived two days later. “Some guys could have a good time Wednesday night, and Friday morning they would be on their post, shaved and ready to go,” said this person, who emphasized that he does not condone paying prostitutes for sex.

Huse said he is particularly dumbfounded that the men partied so openly during an era when smartphones and social media can so easily spread details of misbehavior. “We live in different age that makes the behavior of these people more impossible to comprehend,” he said. “What were they thinking?”

Appeared Here


Secret Service Agents Dropping Like Flies In Columbian Prostitution Scandal Investigation – Three More Down

April 24, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Two more Secret Service employees are leaving the agency over the Colombia prostitution scandal,while a third is appealing his planned removal, the Secret Service announced tonight.

The agency also said that two other employees have been cleared of wrongdoing, “and will face appropriate administrative action.”

In a statement, Assistant Director Paul S. Morrissey said two employees resigned, while “the Secret Service is moving to permanently revoke the security clearance of one other individual.

“The Federal Security Clearance process allows for an appeal associated with any permanent revocation,”‘ Morrissey said. “If the security clearance action is upheld, and the clearance is permanently revoked, this individual must separate from the Secret Service.”

That brings to nine the number of Secret Service officials who have resigned, retired, or been fired over allegations of bringing prostitutes to hotel rooms in Cartagena, Colombia.

The actions now account for all 12 agents initially implicated in the prostitution scandal. But U.S.Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said “the entire investigation is not over.”

King’s committee has requested detailed information about the Secret Service’s operation in Cartagena.

Up to a dozen members of the military also face discipline over the incident that took place just two days before President Obama arrived for the Summit of the Americans, April 13-15.

Today’s announcement came shortly after Obama defended the Secret Service, saying that the “knuckleheads” implicated in the scandal shouldn’t discredit the entire agency.

“The Secret Service, these guys are incredible,” Mr. Obama told talk show host Jimmy Fallon. “They protect me, they protect our girls — a couple of knuckleheads shouldn’t detract from that they do.”

Of the incident in Colombia, Obama said: “What they were thinking, I don’t know. That’s why they’re not there anymore.”

The Secret Service has investigated 12 of its employees over the incident.

Before today, six men had either resigned, retired, or been fired. Another has been cleared of serious wrongdoing, but faces administrative action.

Said Morrissey: “The Secret Service is committed to conducting a full, thorough and fair investigation in this matter, and will not hesitate to take appropriate action should any additional information come to light.”

Today’s announcement:

“The Secret Service’s investigation into allegations of misconduct by its employees in Cartagena, Colombia continues.

The Secret Service is prepared to announce actions regarding the remaining five employees of the twelve who were initially identified in this investigation.

To date, six employees have either resigned or left the agency, and a seventh has been cleared of serious misconduct, and will face appropriate administrative action. In addition to those actions:

— Two additional employees involved have been cleared of serious misconduct, and will face appropriate administrative action.

— Two more employees have chosen to resign.

— The Secret Service is moving to permanently revoke the security clearance of one other individual. The Federal Security Clearance process allows for an appeal associated with any permanent revocation. If the security clearance action is upheld, and the clearance is permanently revoked, this individual must separate from the Secret Service.

At this point, all twelve have either been cleared of serious misconduct, resigned, retired, been notified of personnel actions to permanently revoke their security clearances, or have been proposed for permanent removal for cause. The Secret Service is committed to conducting a full, thorough and fair investigation in this matter, and will not hesitate to take appropriate action should any additional information come to light.”

Appeared Here


White House Lawyer Claims No White House Staff Involved In Secret Service’s Columbian Prostitute Scandal – Also Claims White House Communication Agency Member Isn’t Part Of The White House

April 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced that White House legal counsel has concluded no White House staff engaged in any “misconduct” in Cartagena.

“The decision to conduct a review here, internally, was simply done out of due diligence,” Carney said. “There is no indication of any misconduct by any member of the White House advance team or staff.”

He added that “there have been no specific, credible allegations of misconduct by anyone on the White House advance team or White House staff.”

Carney refused to give any details on the investigation, such as whether the investigation included checking hotel records in Colombia or interviewing the White House advance team that went to Cartagena.

“There’s no point in getting into the details of this internal review except to say that it was conducted,” he said.

He also sought to distance the Obama administration from the White House Comunication Agency (WHCA) member under investigation over the Secret Service prostitution scandal.

“WHCA, as we call it, is staffed entirely by military personnel, not by White House staff,” Carney told reporters when asked about reports that a WHCA member is under investigation. “They are not members of the White House staff, they are not chosen by the White House.”

Appeared Here


Investigation Into US Secret Service Agents And Armed Services Members Use Of Whores In Columbia To Cost US Taxpayers At Least $1.6 Million

April 22, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The sex scandal involving call girls and President Obama’s bodyguards will cost US taxpayers the equivalent of £1 million, it was revealed last night.

A team of US investigators flew to Cartagena, Colombia, to launch a sweeping probe that has already cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The team is investigating allegations that a dozen US Secret Service agents and 11 military security men cavorted with as many as 20 prostitutes while they were preparing for the President to attend a trade summit last weekend.
Controversy: Bikini-clad working girl Dania Suarez is at the centre of the Secret Service prostitution scandal

Controversy: Bikini-clad working girl Dania Suarez is at the centre of the Secret Service prostitution scandal

One of the two Colombian women at the centre of the furore, which has so far cost six bodyguards their jobs, broke down in tears when she gave her account of the weekend.

Maria Camila, 22, who describes herself as a student, insisted that she is not a prostitute and was not paid by the bodyguard, who was staying at a beachfront resort, the Hotel Caribe.

More…

The inside story of the Secret Service rising star who busted agents over Colombian prostitute scandal as investigators probe claim that call girls were underage
Spirit Airlines pulls spoof Secret Service ad after pressure from Washington

‘I didn’t talk with him about money,’ said Miss Camila. ‘My guy never touched me. He never gave me a kiss or anything.’

She said she struck up a conversation with 24-year-old Dania Suarez, who was with another Obama agent at a Cartagena disco. After ordering two bottles of vodka, the man agreed to pay Dania for sex, Miss Camila said.

Scandal: She admitted going back to the hotel with a second agent for what she described as ‘a platonic evening’

Scandal: She admitted going back to the hotel with a second agent for what she described as ‘a platonic evening’

She admitted going back to the hotel with a second agent for what she described as ‘a platonic evening’.

The next morning, a row erupted in the hotel corridors after Miss Suarez shouted that she was supposed to receive £500 for her services, including a pack of condoms. The agent paid her only £20, she claimed.

It is said Miss Suarez has admitted she was working as a prostitute to earn money for her nine-year-old son and a course at beauty school.

Experts have told The Mail on Sunday that the inquiry began because of fears that the two women may have been part of a large ring of prostitutes with ties to ‘terrorists’ attempting to infiltrate and sabotage President Obama’s security.

‘The lowest price tag for the investigation will be well over $1.6 million [£1 million],’ a Washington insider said.

Appeared Here


Supervisors In Secret Service Columbian WhoreGate Scandal Identified

April 19, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – One of the Secret Service supervisors who was forced out of the agency this week for his involvement in the Colombia prostitution scandal made light of his official protective work on his Facebook page, joking about a picture of himself standing watch behind Sarah Palin.

David Randall Chaney, 48, posted several action shots of himself on duty in a dark suit and sunglasses, including one that shows him behind the former Republican vice presidential nominee during her 2008 campaign.

“I was really checking her out, if you know what i mean?” Chaney wrote in the comments section, after friends had marveled at the photo. He is married and has an adult son.

Chaney, who had been a supervisor in the Secret Service’s international programs division, retired under pressure Wednesday, according to people familiar with an internal agency investigation into the allegations that 11 agents and uniformed officers had participated in a night of carousing April 11 ahead of President Obama’s visit to the Summit of the Americas.

He was one of two senior supervisors who are accused in the scandal, which investigators believe included heavy drinking, visits to a strip club and payments to women working as prostitutes. Several people familiar with the matter have identified the other supervisor as Greg Stokes, who was assistant special agent in charge of the K9 division. Stokes has been notified by agency officials that he will be fired, though he will be given an opportunity to contest the charges, those with knowledge of the case said.

The disclosure that two high-level managers were involved in the misconduct has raised questions of accountability and personal conduct in an agency whose top leadership has insisted that the Cartagena incident is an isolated and aberrant case, not a sign of a deeper cultural problem within the institution.

Chaney and Stokes have each worked at the Secret Service for nearly two decades, and both have served significant time with the presidential protection detail, people who know the men said. Both are based in Washington.

The supervisors were sent on the trip to supervise dozens of younger, less experienced agents who were part of the advance team preparing for Obama’s arrival.

Lawrence Berger, the general counsel for the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and an attorney for Chaney and Stokes, declined to comment on details of the allegations involving his clients. He said the agency’s investigation is not complete for either man and stressed that any judgment about their roles in the scandal is “premature.”

“Its our ultimate position that nothing they may or may not have done in Colombia negatively impacted the efficiency of their mission,” Berger said. “Nothing that has been reported to have been done has impacted negatively their mission or the president’s visit.”

Capitol Hill lawmakers who have been briefed on the matter have said 21 men are suspected of bringing as many as 21 prostitutes to their rooms. Ten military members also have been accused of participating, along with the 11 Secret Service personnel.

The incident became public after one man got into a dispute over payment with a woman on the morning of April 12, drawing the attention of hotel staff and Colombian authorities who reported the matter to the U.S. Embassy.

The Secret Service recalled its 11 employees and replaced them with another team before Obama arrived April 13. All were placed on administrative leave and had their top-secret security clearances revoked.

The Secret Service announced Wednesday that three of the men were leaving the agency. The third man is a junior member of the team who has elected to voluntarily resign, those familiar with the investigation said.

Berger did not answer questions about his clients’ employment status.

“They have a passion for the agency’s mission,” he said. “They’ve both been doing it for over 17 or 18 years, day in and day out, and very well.”

On Thursday, Capitol Hill lawmakers who oversee the Homeland Security Department said they expected more resignations and firings in the case. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the 11 agents involved in the scandal had undergone drug tests and polygraph exams. Agency investigators in Colombia have visited all of the hotels where Secret Service personnel stayed and have interviewed each of the maids who cleaned rooms in the Hotel Caribe, King said.

People who know the two supervisors have described Chaney’s duties in the international programs division as supervising a department that provides support and administrative help to the Service’s foreign offices. Stokes has been described as the assistant special agent in charge of the K9 training division at the James J. Rowley Training Center in Beltsville.

Attempts to reach both men were unsuccessful. Calls made to Chaney’s home and cell phone and to Stokes’ home were not returned. No one answered the door when a reporter visited Chaney’s home in Northern Virginia. Outside , a silver 4×4 Ford pickup was parked, bearing stickers with a colorful outline of Texas, Chaney’s home state, and the word “SECEDE”.

A relative of Chaney’s said she would relay a message to him.

The commitment to the Secret Service runs deep in Chaney’s family. His father, George Washington Chaney, was a Secret Service agent in President Kennedy’s era, and knew the agents on his detail when Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

The elder Chaney had remarked to friends that he started at the service working “diaper duty,” where he watched President Dwight Eisenhower’s children and grandchildren in Gettysburg, Pa., and also met his wife. Later, he travelled to work in Dallas, where he was on President Lyndon Johnson’s protective detail. He also served a stint in the service’s El Paso office, and then became the agent in charge of personnel in the Washington D.C. headquarters, where he was working when Kennedy was shot.

He retired in 1977, and started a new line of work as a document examiner in Dallas, where he and his wife “Toddie” raised their five children.

On the younger Chaney’s Facebook page, he posted several action shots of himself with Palin.

In one picture, he is wearing a dark suit and sunglasses, standing near a black vehicle behind Palin as she approaches a crowd. In the comments section next to the photo, a friend remarked that Chaney appeared to be “lurking in the shadows” behind Palin.

Another kidded that there seemed to be “real chemistry” between the two.

Chaney posted : “I was really checking her out, if you know what i mean?”

Another friend asked if one of the buttons on Palin’s lapel was emblazoned with Chaney’s face.

“well if it was could you blame her, anything to satisfy a stalker,” Chaney wrote in his reply.

In another set of Facebook photos, Chaney documents a trip he took with his grown son to Egypt. One photo shows a voluptuous bellydancer in a revealing bikini-like top and tight, sequined skirt positioned between him and his son.

“Not in front of my son,” Chaney joked in the comments section.

One current agent, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation, said both Chaney and Stokes were respected, well-liked agents and supervisors, who were both quick to offer advice and mentor younger agents and officers.

“I was just completely shocked to hear they were involved,” the agent said.

Staff writer Ed O’Keefe and researchers Alice Crites and Lucy Shackelford contributed to this report.

Appeared Here


Photos Surface Of Columbian Whore Involved In Secret Service Scandal – One Of As Many As 21 Prostitutes Hired By Agents

April 19, 2012

Appeared Here


US Secret Service Pissing Away Tax Dollars Investiging Ted Nugent’s Remarks

April 17, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Secret Service is reportedly investigating faded ’70s rock star Ted Nugent for his recent insistence he’ll be “dead or in jail” in a year’s time if President Barack Obama is re-elected in November.

At a convention of the National Rifle Association over the weekend, the longtime gun advocate compared Obama and the Democrats to a coyote who should be shot.

“It isn’t the enemy that ruined America,” he said as he reaffirmed his endorsement of Republican front-runner Mitt Romney.

“It’s good people who bent over and let the enemy in. If the coyote’s in your living room pissing on your couch, it’s not the coyote’s fault. It’s your fault for not shooting him.”

He accused the Obama administration of being “evil” and “America-hating.”

“If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year,” he said angrily. “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”

He then told his audience of proud gun-owners that if they failed to “clean house in this vile, evil, America-hating administration, I don’t even know what you’re made out of.”

The Secret Service says it’s aware of the weekend remarks and is looking into them.

The Romney campaign, meantime, attempted to distance itself from Nugent on Tuesday, undoubtedly regretting the former Massachusetts governor’s comments last month to a Missouri radio show: “It’s been fun getting to know Ted Nugent.”

“Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in an email to reporters. “Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil.”

The Democratic National Committee called on Romney to strongly condemn the remarks by Nugent, best known for his late ’70s hit “Cat Scratch Fever.”

“Threatening violence — or whatever it is that Nugent’s threatening — is clearly beyond the pale, but Nugent’s not the one running for president,” said DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

At the daily White House press briefing on Tuesday, spokesman Jay Carney wouldn’t comment on Nugent’s remarks.

“We can’t be policing the statement of supporters across the board. The president is focused on the issues,” he said.

Nugent, however, was unapologetic, telling conservative radio host Dana Loesch that his incendiary remarks were “100 per cent positive.”

“I will stand by my speech,” he said, and then upped the ante by heaping more scorn on Democrats, describing Wasserman Schultz as a “brain-dead, soulless, heartless idiot.”

Nancy Pelosi, minority leader for the House of Representatives, he added, is a “sub-human scoundrel.”

Nugent also claimed the generally mild-mannered Romney agreed with his remarks.

“Mitt Romney knows what I’m saying is true. He puts it into words for him, I put it into words for me,” he said.

Appeared Here


Blackhawk Helicopers Full Of Heavily Armed Men Buzzing Downtown Chicago In Drills “Unrelated” To Next Month’s Summit

April 17, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Blackhawks and A/MH-6 Little Bird helicopters used by special forces circling low through downtown Chicago skies made for a scary scene along the Chicago River, as they rattled windows flying among the city’s skyscrapers.

The training exercise comes as the city found out some of the details of what the Secret Service wants for security at next month’s summit at McCormick Place.

FOX Chicago News has their terror prevention shopping list, courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times:

Portable high security barriers
Crowd control barriers
10-12 portable light towers
Sandbags, port-a-potties
Mobile offices
5-10 golf carts

The Chicago Tribune reports that the most traffic for NATO dignitaries will be between McCormick place and downtown hotels in the Loop, River North and the Gold Coast.

Fifty heads of state will attend, with delegates, and will be moving multiple times each day.

FOX Chicago News viewers called in, describing men with automatic weapons, hanging out of helicopters.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications on Monday announced that Chicago is the site of a military training exercise this week involving personnel and at least three helicopters.

But the bland press release from City Hall did nothing to prepare folks for the jarring scene that unfolded Monday evening.

“It was frightening,” Jessica Hill said. “I was definitely alarmed.”

At least three Blackhawk helicopters flying at time in close order formation – at other times separating fairly widely – zoomed around office and residential towers for several hours.

“I was pretty amazed,” Felise Llano said, “because they were definitely military.”

Witnesses described three to four very heavily armed men in each chopper. Several said some of the men appeared to be tethered and were at times literally hanging out of the choppers, and looked ready to jump.

Calling it routine training, city officials said in a statement such exercises are conducted by military personnel in various cities around the country. They say the exercises are designed to improve the military’s ability to operate in urban environments.

Emergency management officials said the training sites have been selected to minimize the impact on residents’ daily routines.

The timing of the drills led some to wonder if they’re in preparation for next month’s NATO summit.

But officials said that the summit and the drills are unrelated.

Appeared Here


More US Military Personnel May Have Been Involved In Misconduct With Whores In Columbia – 11 US Secret Service Agents Suspended

April 17, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – A probe into the alleged misconduct of nearly a dozen U.S. Secret Service agents has expanded to include more than five military personnel, Defense Department officials said Monday, as the scandal that erupted during President Obama’s trip to Colombia last week put high-level officials on the defensive.

A preliminary investigation by the Defense Department, which included a review of video from hotel security cameras, found that more military personnel than initially thought might have been involved with the Secret Service in the carousing at the center of the probe. Already, 11 Secret Service agents have been placed on leave amid allegations they entertained prostitutes, potentially one of the most serious lapses at the organization in years.

The charges are triggering scrutiny of the culture of the Secret Service — where married agents have been heard to joke during aircraft takeoff that their motto is “wheels up, rings off” — and raising new questions at both the agency and the Pentagon about institutional oversight at the highest levels of the president’s security apparatus.

“We are embarrassed,” Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters in a briefing at the Pentagon. “We let the boss down, because nobody is talking about what went down in Colombia other than this incident.”

At the same time, details emerged about the night of partying Wednesday that led to the scandal. People in Cartagena familiar with the matter said that some of the Secret Service agents paid $60 apiece to owners of the Pleyclub, a strip club in an industrial section of Cartagena, to bring at least two of the women back to the Hotel Caribe, where Obama’s advance team was staying.

The following morning, one of the women demanded an additional payment of $170, setting off a dispute with an agent that drew the attention of the hotel, the Cartagena sources said.

According to the Pleyclub’s registry at the local chamber of commerce, one of the club’s owners is named Michael Adam Hardy, whom chamber officials described as either American or Canadian.

On Monday, the Secret Service moved to revoke the top-secret security clearances of all 11 men from the agency who are under investigation, spokesman Edwin Donovan said.

The revocation of such clearances is not uncommon, he emphasized, and security clearances can be reinstated after internal investigations are complete, depending on the findings.

In a letter to all agency employees, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan stressed that it is “imperative . . . to always act both personally and professionally in a manner that recognizes the seriousness and consequence of our mission.”

Sullivan promised a “thorough and fair” investigation and concluded by saying that “in the wake of this embarrassing incident, it is my hope that each of us will be steadfast in our efforts to ensure that our performance and behavior mirror the oath we have sworn to uphold.”

The Secret Service personnel under suspicion include a mix of special agents who provide personal protection for the president and uniformed officers who perform building security and logistical support. They were part of an U.S. advance team of up to 200 people sent ahead to prepare for Obama’s arrival.

After the allegations of misconduct came to light Thursday, when hotel staff notified the U.S. Embassy, the service removed the 11 agents and replaced them with a new team. In addition, the military confined five of its personnel to their rooms at the hotel, pending the investigation. Military officials did not say how many more of its personnel might now be suspected of participating in the misconduct.

Prostitution, legal and regulated, is a booming business in the Caribbean tourist hub of Cartagena, a city of about 1 million inhabitants that is famous for its Spanish colonial heart and a modern stretch of Miami-style high-rises. As a byproduct of its lure of cruise ships and conventioneers, Cartagena draws prostitutes from both the city’s poor and upper-class echelons — as well as from different cities around the country.

Before the summit, the government of President Juan Manuel Santos asked the city health department for an action plan outlining disease prevention efforts with prostitutes ahead of the gathering of 30 hemispheric leaders.

Officials at Cartagena’s health department said that there are about 80 streetwalkers in the city’s colonial district, which features bountiful nightclubs, boutique hotels and elegant restaurants. Another 550 women, who will spend the night with a client for about $250, are estimated to be spread out in 15 nightclubs, officials said.

The Pleyclub touts its services by distributing small, glossy advertisements featuring nearly naked women to taxi drivers who drive visitors around town. The ads, in Spanish, promise: “We’re the best good time in the city.”

Inside the Pleyclub, there is a stage with two poles and a glass-enclosed shower in which women perform strip shows.

Several hotel workers said some of the Secret Service agents spoke good Spanish.

The Hotel Caribe, like most hotels in Cartagena, permits overnight visitors to join hotel guests. But there are rules: Young women brought for the night must come after 11 p.m.; cannot spend time in public areas, such as the lobby; must present identification to prove they are adults; and must leave by 6 a.m., two hotel employees said. The hotel also levies a $60 surcharge for each overnight visitor, said the employees, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for the management.

Hotel management declined to comment about the incident, saying that it must protect the privacy of its guests.

Even though Secret Service officials have said Obama’s security was not compromised, lawmakers who oversee the agency have grown increasingly outraged as new allegations surface.

“I find this to be so appalling,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “I can’t help but think, what if the women involved had been spies?. . . It’s such a breach of trust, and it’s virtually unbelievable. I’m truly shocked.”

Appeared Here


Disgrace To America Caused By Dumbass Secret Service Agent Who Wouldn’t Pay Columbian Whore For Services She Provided In His Hotel Room

April 15, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – A Secret Service agent shamed the United States after a wild night of babes and booze that ended in an argument with a Colombian hooker over as little as $47.

One of 11 elite agents assigned to ensure President Obama’s protection at a summit meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, was busted after his lady of the evening refused to leave his hotel room in the morning without her fee.

That woman was one of 11 hookers hired by the agents — and the only one who hadn’t left Cartagena’s swank Hotel Caribe, where White House staffers, members of the press and dignitaries are staying during the Summit of the Americas meeting, sources said.

President Obama’s Secret Service team was reeling from a prostitution scandal.

The confrontation occurred early last week, said Rep. Pete King, a Long Island Republican who was briefed on the incident yesterday.

One of the agents sent home after agency bosses in DC learned what was going on was “in a supervisory role,” said King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

A hotel employee told The Associated Press that agents arrived at the beachfront hotel a week ago and drank heavily during their stay.

Prostitution is legal in much of Colombia inside “tolerance zones” controlled by police. The going rate for hookers in Cartagena is around $47, according to Colombian TV.

The trouble began for the Secret Service after the agents’ night of carousing, when a hotel employee noticed a hooker’s ID was still at the front desk at 7 a.m., in violation of hotel policy on overnight guests, King said.

The manager went to the agent’s room where the woman had spent the night and saw the two inside arguing, King said.

“She said the agent owed her money,” King said. “He said he didn’t have to pay her.”

He eventually forked over the money and the situation was resolved. But the cops were called and they filed a report, which was sent to the US Embassy.

The probe widened yesterday to include five members of the US military who were allegedly involved in the same incident, officials said.

The service members, with the Southern Command, are still in Colombia “because of the expertise and the knowledge that these guys have,” a military spokesman told CBS News.

A statement released by the Southern Command said the service members “violated the curfew . . . and may have been involved in inappropriate conduct.”

An expert on the Secret Service yesterday said that, although the agents involved in the scandal were not breaking Colombian law, most of them are married and could have been exposed to blackmail.

“It could have resulted in a potential assassination attempt on the president,” said Ronald Kessler, author of “In the President’s Secret Service.”

“It the biggest scandal in the history of the Secret Service and the most basic breach of security,” the author said.

Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan said that Obama’s security was not compromised because of the incident.

“This entire matter has been turned over to our Office of Professional Responsibility, which serves as the agency’s internal- affairs component,” he said.

None of the agents involved was directly assigned to protect the president. Donovan said the agents involved were relieved from duty and replaced.

But the scandal has made the United States the laughingstock of the important summit, as diplomats have been gossiping about hooker high jinx rather than focusing on Obama’s goals in the region.

“I had a breakfast meeting to discuss trade and drugs, but the only thing the other delegates wanted to talk about was the story of the agents and the hookers,” chuckled one Latin American diplomat.

Without mentioning the Secret Service scandal specifically, Obama — who arrived in Cartagena on Friday — blasted “flashy” coverage of the controversy.

Appeared Here


5 US Department Of Defense Members May Be Involved In Misconduct Involving At Least One Columbian Whore That Lead To Removal Of 12 US Secret Service Agents

April 14, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Five Department of Defense service members may have been involved in an incident of “misconduct” allegedly involving at least one prostitute that led to the removal of up to 12 Secret Service agents from Cartagena, Colombia working for the president’s visit for the Summit of the Americas.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney said, “To be clear it is our understanding that it is part of the same incident.”

The five service members with the Southern Command were working to support the Secret Service and are still in Colombia “because of the expertise and the knowledge that these guys have,” according to Colonel Scott Malcom, Chief of Public Affairs US Southern Command.

A statement released by the U.S. Southern Command said the service members “violated the curfew established by the United States Senior Defense Official in Colombia and may have been involved in inappropriate conduct.”

However, the Secret Service agents involved have been sent back to the United States because of the incident allegedly involving prostitutes.

White House Spokesperson Jay Carney also said the president learned of Secret Service agents’ “personal misconduct” in Cartegena, Colombia Thursday evening.

“The president was made aware of the incident yesterday (Friday). The White House was made aware Thursday evening,” Carney said.

Carney’s statement provides a minor, yet additional detail, into a story where the Secret Service has provided little information.

CBS has learned that at least one United States Secret Service agent is alleged to have sought the services of a prostitute in Cartagena and that one of the agents allegedly involved with the prostitute is a supervisor with the team responsible for advance planning and response, which is not part of the president’s protective detail.

An official with the Secret Service disputes that the agent tied to the situation is not a supervisor.

Carney offered no additional details and directed all questions to the Secret Service.

“This is a matter that’s being looked into… by the Secret Service itself,” Carney said, adding that the president’s “focus continues to be on the meetings he’s having… on expanding American exports… and creating American jobs.”

Carney added that “the president does have full confidence in the United States Secret Service.”

A source in the Secret Service tells CBS News that one or more of the officers were involved with prostitutes and that there was a dispute over payment. One prostitute went to the police, who notified the State Department. The agents stayed at Hotel Caribe, where the international press is staying.

A former Secret Service agent told CBS News that the American Embassy in Colombia directed the entire division to be sent back to the United States because it was an embarrassment for the president and the U.S. The team was replaced before the president arrived in Colombia on Friday. The source also said that two of the men sent home were first level supervisors.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan confirmed the removal of personnel in a statement and said the agency is taking “allegations of misconduct seriously.”

“There have been allegations of misconduct made against Secret Service personnel in Cartagena, Colombia prior to the president’s trip. Because of this, those personnel are being relieved of their assignments, returned to their place of duty, and are being replaced by other Secret Service personnel,” Donovan said.

The Secret Service spokesman said none of the changes will affect the comprehensive security plan prepared for the president’s trip, and agency officials say this is not an operational deficiency but a “moral” one.

The summit in Colombia includes leaders from North, America and Central American nations, where the agenda includes legal trade, as well as drug and gun trafficking. The president said drug legalization will not lessen the role of drug cartels.

Appeared Here


Dismissal Of 12 US Secret Service Agents Over Their Involvement With Columbian Prostitutes “The Biggest Scandal In Secret Service History”

April 14, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Ronald Kessler, best-selling author of “In the President’s Service” and a former reporter for The Washington Post, called the dismissal of 12 Secret Service members in Colombia prior to President Obama’s arrival there “the biggest scandal in Secret Service history.”

Secret Service confirms members’ removal

A source in the Secret Service told CBS News that one or more of the officers was involved with prostitutes and that there was a dispute over payment. One prostitute went to the police, who notified the State Department.

According to sources two of the Secret Service personnel sent home were supervisors; the rest were part of a detail assigned to logistics. None of those relieved of duty was a member of the president’s protective detail.

On “CBS This Morning: Saturday,” Kessler said the Secret Service has a culture of corner-cutting.

“They don’t have enough agents, they don’t even put people through metal detectors sometimes because there’s pressure to let everybody in,” Kessler said. “It’s like letting passengers in an airplane without putting them through metal detectors. They don’t keep up-to-date with the latest firearms. They don’t even do physical tests. So, it’s a culture that leads to this kind of problem.”

Kessler pointed to a couple crashing a White House state dinner without an invitation as an example of a potential security threat.

He said that Mark Sullivan, director of the Secret Service, should have been fired after the fiasco involving gate-crashers Michaele and Tareq Salahi, but has continued in the same position because of President Barack Obama’s confidence in the agency.

“President Obama keeps saying, ‘I have full confidence in the Secret Service,’” Kessler said. “You know, he deals with agents who are very admirable, so he thinks, ‘Well, the Secret Service must be fine.’ But, you know, in my book…I go into dozens and dozens of examples of poor management.

“For example, when [Dick Cheney's daughter] Mary Cheney was under protection, she wanted her agents to take her friends to restaurants. Well, they’re not taxi drivers. They are law enforcement officers, they refused, as they should have, but because of that she got her detail leader removed.

“So the Secret Service management didn’t back the guy who is doing his job. And that kind of culture is the sort that leads to this kind of incident, where there’s poor morale, there’s hostility toward management.”

Kessler called this latest incident in Colombia “a very shocking scandal.”

He added the situation may be a sign of a trend because it involved supervisors. Kessler called it “just unbelievable” and a “tremendous embarrassment to the U.S.”

He said that the Secret Service personnel’s liaising with prostitutes could expose them blackmail to acquire access to secure areas. “They could have led to an assassination. And if you have an assassination, you nullify democracy. That’s how important the Secret Service is.”

Kessler went so far as to say the president’s safety is in jeopardy because the replacements didn’t have time to get acclimated to the situation.

Appeared Here


12 US Secret Service Agents Sent Home From Columbia After At Least One Refused To Pay For Whore’s Services

April 14, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The dozen Secret Service agents sent home after a prostitution scandal in Colombia were busted after at least one of them refused to pay one of the hookers, sources said.

The scandal — a black eye for the United States’ reputation abroad — was revealed Friday just hours before President Obama arrived in Cartagena for the Summit of the Americas.

The 12 agents were part of an advance team assigned to secure a local hotel before the summit began, yet their attention apparently turned to taking advantage of Colombia’s policy of legal prostitution.

IN COLOMBIA, THE SEX BUSINESS IS SO BIG THAT SOME CALL IT THE ‘THAILAND OF LATIN AMERICA’

Five American service members were also accused of misconduct stemming from the scandalous incident at the hotel, according to the U.S. military.

“They had arranged to have a bunch of prostitutes come by and one of the agents refused to pay a prostitute,” said author Ronald Kessler, one of the leading experts on the Secret Service.

“Yes, doubly good judgment there.” Kessler, who was briefed on the investigation by his sources within the agency, told the Daily News Saturday that the spurned hooker told police about the lack of payment.

The 12 agents were immediately recalled to Washington.

“Their careers are over,” said Kessler. “Number one, it is against basic ethics to go to a prostitute,” he continued. “Number two, it is incredibly embarrassing to the White House.” “And number three,” he continued. “It could leave them open to blackmail and a possible assassination attempt.”

Obama still has “full confidence” in the Secret Service, according to White House spokesman Jay Carney, who declared late Saturday that the incident “has been more of a distraction for the press” than the President. Kessler said two of the agents were supervisors who attempted to cover up the mortifying incident.

The agents were staying at the beachfront Hotel Caribe, which is also hosting the White House staff and the traveling press team. Guests at the swanky hotel told reporters that several of the agents had been spotted drinking heavily during their weeklong stay.

Details of the incident remain murky, but U.S. officials believe one agent took a woman back to his room Wednesday night and threw her out in a dispute over money.

The woman caused a commotion in the hallway, getting the attention of local cops and other Secret Service agents, a senior official told The New York Times.

During the initial investigation, it emerged that other agents also had women in their rooms. Rep. Peter King (R-LI), the head of the House Homeland Security committee, said they were all “presumed” to be prostitutes. Though it was known if all 12 member of the Secret Service team are suspected of wrongdoing, they were all recalled as part of the investigation. Several of the agents are married, according to reports.

Prostitution is legal in Colombia, as long as it is conducted in so-called “tolerance zones.” Though the exact boundaries of the zones frequently change and are rarely enforced by police, the coastal city of Cartagena is a popular destination for prostitution and sex tourism.

Hookers can easily be procured online or in bars or hotels in much of the city. It was not clear how the agents met the women involved in the incident.

The scandal threatened to overshadow President Obama’s visit to the important summit. He landed in Cartagena Friday night and attended a formal dinner with the other world leaders at Castillo San Felipe de Barajasajas, an historic Spanish fortress.

The President, who had a full day of summit events Saturday, has not addressed the Secret Service scandal. He is not staying at the Hotel Caribe.

The Secret Service did not elaborate on the allegations Saturday. The night before, the agency — which is charged with protecting the President — simply confirmed that the officers were pulled back to Washington.

All of the agents are based in Washington, D.C., according to Kessler, author of “In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect.” The matter was turned over to the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which handles the Secret Services’ internal affairs.

Appeared Here


12 US Secret Service Agents Who Were Supposed To Protect Obama At International Summit Relieved Of Duty And Shipped Home Due To Misconduct With Columbian Prostitutes And Alcohol

April 14, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – A dozen Secret Service agents sent to Colombia to provide security for President Obama at an international summit have been relieved of duty over alleged misconduct.

A caller who said he had knowledge of the situation told the Associated Press the misconduct involved prostitutes in Cartagena, site of the Summit of the Americas. A Secret Service spokesman did not dispute that.

A U.S. official, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and requested anonymity, put the number of agents sent home at 12. Secret Service was not releasing the number of personnel involved.

The incident threatened to overshadow Obama’s economic and trade agenda at the summit and embarrass the U.S. The White House had no comment, but also did not dispute the allegations.

In Washington, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan would not confirm that prostitution was involved, saying only that there had been “allegations of misconduct” made against Secret Service personnel in Cartagena for the summit.

Donovan said the allegations of misconduct were related to activity before the president’s arrival Friday night and did not impact security plans for Obama’s trip.

Obama attended a leaders’ dinner Friday night at Cartagena’s historic Spanish fortress and was due to attend summit meetings with regional leaders Saturday and Sunday.

The Washington Post reported that Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said the accusations related to at least one agent having involvement with prostitutes in Cartagena. The association represents federal law enforcement officers, including the Secret Service.

Adler later told the AP that he had heard that there were allegations of prostitution, but he had no specific knowledge of any wrongdoing.

The agents were staying at Cartagena’s Hotel Caribe, which is also hosting members of the White House staff and press corps during the summit

A hotel employee, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing his job, said the agents arrived at the beachfront hotel about a week ago. The employee described the agents as drinking heavily during their stay.

The employee said the agents left the hotel Thursday, a day before Obama and other regional leaders arrived for the weekend summit.

The hotel’s public relations chief had no comment.

Those involved had been sent back to their permanent place of duty and were being replaced by other agency personnel, Donovan said. The matter was turned over to the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which handles the agency’s internal affairs.

Appeared Here


Secret Service Pisses Away Taxpayer Dollors Investigating Shot-Up Obama T-Shirt Photo

January 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – A post on the Facebook page of a veteran Peoria police sergeant depicting the photo of seven Centennial High School students in Peoria, four with guns and one holding up a T-shirt with a bullet-riddled image of President Barack Obama, was brought to the U.S. Secret Service’s attention by a citizen and an “appropriate follow-up” is being conducted, a Washington D.C-based spokesman for the federal agency told The Republic Friday.

“Any time information like this is brought to our attention we have to conduct a follow-up,” Max Milien, spokesman for the Secret Service, said.

Milien described the Facebook post in the category of “unusual direction of interest,” which would merit an agency follow-up, he said.

“We understand an individual’s right to free speech but we also have the right to speak to the individual to determine what their intent is,” Milien added.

Pat Shearer, the 25-year Peoria police sergeant, who remains on active duty, also faces an internal investigation on the matter. An administrative investigation was prompted after they got word the Secret Service was looking into the photograph, Peoria police spokesman Jay Davies said.

“We were made aware of that situation today and we have opened an administrative investigation to determine if there are any policy violations that took place,” Davies said Thursday.

In an e-mailed statement Friday, Peoria spokesman Bo Larsen said that the “city values a high standard of professional conduct and ethical behavior. These are expectations we have of all our employees.”

Danielle Airey, a spokeswoman for the Peoria Unified School District, confirmed Friday that all seven young men in the photo are Centennial High students.

“We’re going to continue to cooperate with the ongoing investigation and gather information so our administration is well versed,” Airey said. “While the incident did not occur on our campus, it is an unfortunate event that happens to involve students and adults. It does not represent what we are as a school or district or community.”

The photo has since been removed from Shearer’s page.

It was posted Jan. 20, before the president’s visit to the Valley on Wednesday.

Both Larsen and Davies declined further comment on the matter pending the investigation.

“Until the investigation is complete and any appeals are exhausted, I cannot discuss the details,” Davies said.

Jon Meck, president of the City of Peoria Police Supervisors Association, said Shearer has been advised by the association’s attorney not to make any public statements and he also declined comment on the matter.

“For his privacy and for the integrity of the investigation by the department I won’t make any statement,” Meck said.

Meck added that Shearer has a great reputation as a police officer.

“The people he supervises respect him, his peers respect him,” Meck said.

The New York Times described the picture as showing seven young men, four posing with weapons and one holding the T-shirt, “with small holes and gashes,” bearing a likeness of the president above the word “Hope.”

The Times reported the image was also posted on the Facebook page of one of the young men in the picture posing with a gun.

According to the Peoria Police Department’s social-media policy, which includes social-networking sites, “employees shall not post, transmit, reproduce and/or disseminate information (text, pictures, video, audio, etc.) to the Internet or any other forum (public or private) that would tend to discredit or reflect unfavorably upon the department or any of the department’s employees.”

Appeared Here


Secret Service Pisses Away US Tax Dollars Investigating “Zombie Obama” That Appeared On Halloween Themed Republican Committee Banner

November 1, 2011

VIRGINIA – A Halloween-themed graphic featuring a zombie President Barack Obama with a bullet hole in his forehead provoked widespread outrage and the attention of the Secret Service Monday after a local Republican committee in Virginia used it to scare up interest in Halloween parade political activities.

The montage, a banner on a mass email to Loudoun Republicans, mingles seasonal images including a jack-o-lantern, a disfigured U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi and a throng of flesh-hungry zombie Obama supporters.

The posterized image of a rotting, undead Obama with a bleeding, large-caliber hole an inch above his right eye prompted Democrats to cry foul and Virginia’s Republican governor to denounce it as “shameful and offensive.”

“This is a disgusting and violent portrayal of the president of the United States,” said Democratic Party of Virginia spokesman Brian Coy.

Gov. Bob McDonnell, through spokesman J. Tucker Martin, called on the Loudoun GOP to “apologize for their actions, and to immediately ensure that such imagery is never used again.”
Multimedia
Dramatic Photos: October Snowstorm
PHOTOS
Dramatic Photos:
October Snowstorm
Michelle Obama Style Guide
PHOTOS
Michelle
Obama Style Guide
More Multimedia

Virginia GOP Chairman Pat Mullins said such an image “has no place in our politics. Ever.”

Loudoun County GOP chairman Mark Sell said in an email response to The Associated Press that the graphic was “a light-hearted attempt to inject satire humor into the Halloween holiday.”

“Apparently, some individuals have interpreted an image of Barack Obama that appeared within the email as intending to portray the President as a victim of a violent crime,” Sell wrote. “Nothing could be further from the truth, and we deeply and sincerely apologize to the President and anyone who viewed the image if that was the impression that was left.”

There was no reply from Sell to a follow-up email seeking an alternative explanation for the nickel-sized hole in Obama’s forehead.

The image was first reported in a post Monday on the conservative northern Virginia blog, Too Conservative. The post’s author, identified as a “Loudoun Insider,” said he’s no Obama fan, “but putting up a photo of him as a zombie with a bullet hole in his head?”

“Someone should send this to the US Secret Service,” the blog post concluded. The Secret Service is in charge of the president’s security.

“We are aware of the situation,” said George Ogilvie, a Secret Service spokesman in Washington.

The image the Loudoun GOP altered is the red, white and blue image of a determined-looking Obama gazing upward that, emblazoned with the caption “HOPE,” became a ubiquitous Obama poster during his 2008 campaign.

It was created from a copyrighted AP photo taken in 2006 when Obama was a U.S. senator appearing at the National Press Club in Washington. The AP sued over the unlicensed, uncredited and uncompensated use of its photo. The litigation was settled earlier this year.

Appeared Here


Secret Service Agent Daniel L. Valencia Busted For Drunk Driving Ahead Of Obama Iowa Visit

August 17, 2011

DECORAH, IOWA – A Secret Service special agent was arrested and charged with drunk
driving last weekend in Decorah ahead of President Obama’s visit to
Iowa.

Police said Daniel L. Valencia, 40, of Washington, D.C., ran a red
light about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, and an officer pulled him over.

He was alone in the vehicle. Police said his eyes were bloodshot and
watery and he smelled strongly of alcohol. Valencia told a police
officer he had had two drinks that night.

After a field sobriety test, an officer decided Valencia was too
intoxicated to drive. Valencia refused to take a preliminary breath
test, and refused to give a breath sample at the jail. He was then
charged with operating while intoxicated.

He was released from jail Monday, according to court documents.

George Ogilvie, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said the law
enforcement agency is aware of the charges against Valencia and has
turned the matter over to its Office of Professional Responsibility. He
declined to say what Valencia was doing in Decorah.

President Obama visited Decorah on Monday night and spoke in Peosta, just west of Dubuque, on Tuesday.

Appeared Here


Interrogation Of 7th Grader Without Parents Consent Included Secret Service And Tacoma Washington Police

May 17, 2011

TACOMA, WASHINGTON – A Tacoma seventh grader faced federal interrogation at school for what he posted on his Facebook page. His mom said it all happened without her knowledge or permission.

Timi Robertson said she had just finished lunch with a friend Friday when she got a phone call from her son’s school.

“I answered it, and it’s the school security guard who’s giving me a heads up that the Secret Service is here with the Tacoma Police Department and they have Vito and they’re talking to him,” Robertson said.

After Osama bin Laden was killed, 13-year-old Vito LaPinta posted an update to his Facebook status that got the Feds attention.

“I was saying how Osama was dead and for Obama to be careful because there could be suicide bombers,” says LaPinta.

A week later, while Vito was in his fourth period class, he was called in to the principal’s office.

“A man walked in with a suit and glasses and he said he was part of the Secret Service,” LaPinta said. “He told me it was because of a post I made that indicated I was a threat toward the President.”

The Tacoma school district acknowledged a Secret Service agent questioned Vito and that it was a security guard who called Vito’s mom because the principal was on another call. The school district said they didn’t wait for Vito’s mother to get there because they thought she didn’t take the phone call seriously.

“That’s a blatant lie,” Robertson said.

The teen’s mom says she rushed to Truman Middle School immediately and arrived to discover her son had already been questioned for half an hour.

“I just about lost it,” she said. “My 13 year-old son is supposed to be safe and secure in his classroom and he’s being interrogated without my knowledge or consent privately.”

The seventh grader said that once his mom showed up, the agent finished the interview and told him he was not in any trouble. Now he’s more careful about what he posts online.

His mother says she isn’t financially able to take legal action but hopes her family’s story raises awareness about the treatment she said her son endured.

The Seattle branch of the Secret Service did not respond to requests for comment.

Appeared Here


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 48 other followers