Secret Service may enjoy prostitutes even more than you thought
The first of what is expected to be several congressional hearings to investigate the Colombian prostitute scandal that rocked the White House began on Wednesday, and lawmakers made it clear that they are not happy with the behavior of the Secret Service
Among those that condemned the scandal were Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who said the behavior of the US Secret Service agents was both reckless and "morally repugnant.”
Several members of the federal agency that protests the president, vice president and visiting heads of state have been linked to spending time with prostitutes while on assignment in Colombia last month days before the commander-in-chief was scheduled to attend a summit. Despite the incident being downplayed by those at the top of the president’s police force, Sen. Collins and others involved in the investigating committee insist that the episode in Latin America might be a smoking gun in terms of unraveling a long-lasting trend of inappropriate behavior carefully kept under wraps — until now.
"This was not a one-time event," said Collins, who serves as senior Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. "The circumstances unfortunately suggest an issue of culture."
Members of the committee were also adamant about the dangers that could arise by having federal agents engaged in promiscuous activity while on assignment. Whether they were rubbing shoulders — or anything else — the president’s personal security team could have jeopardized the security of the entire United States by fraternizing with civilians abroad who could very well be foreign agents seeking classified intelligence
"This reckless behavior could easily have compromised individuals charged with the security of the president of the United States," warned Sen. Collins.
Discussing the possibilities that could have come up from the incident, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan confirmed that “none of the 12 individuals had any sensitive security documents, firearms, radios or other security-related equipment in their hotel room."
Sen. Collins also disagreed with allegations that the Colombian scandal was an outlier in otherwise mundane and boring Secret Service behavior; "Contrary to the conventional story line, this was not simply a single, organized group that went out for a night on the town together,” said the senator.
In discussing the scandal, Sen. Collins introduced to her fellow lawmakers that at least two of the Secret Service supervisors linked to the escapade have served a minimum of 20 years with the agency and both have wives. Given their high rank within the force, their involvement "surely sends a message to the rank and file that this kind of activity is tolerated on the road," Collins suggested.
Sullivan added from Capitol Hill that roughly 200 Secret Service agents were on assignment in Cartagena, Colombia when the scandal broke, and although nine men have been linked to “serious misconduct” while on the job, those engaged in illicit activity during other outings might be much larger.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut), the committee's chairman and one-time presidential hopeful, added in his own testimony that he has uncovered a record of 64 instances of sexual misconduct in the last half-decade within the agency. Demanding an end to the escapades, he told the panel, "I want to hear what the Secret Service is doing to encourage people to report egregious behavior when they see it,” reports the Associated Press.
"It is hard for many people, including me, I will admit, to believe that on one night in April 2012 in Cartagena, Colombia, 12 Secret Service agents there to protect the president suddenly and spontaneously did something they or other agents had never done before, which is gone out in groups of two, three or four to four different nightclubs or strip clubs, drink to excess and then bring foreign national women back to their hotel rooms,” Sen. Leiberman added, reports the UPI.