THREE MORE SECRET Service officers in America have resigned over a prostitution scandal which has embarrassed the agency and angered US President Barack Obama.
That brings the number of agents who have lost their jobs over the events in Colombia last week to six.
Obama was briefed on the matter at the White House yesterday by agency director Mark Sullivan. An investigation into what exactly happened in the Cartagena hotel ahead of the President’s visit to Colombia for an international conference is ongoing.
It is understood that at least 20 Colombian women are involved in the incident.
And it looks like the scandal may gain even more legs.
Yesterday, a Republican Senator called for a wider probe into the hotel records to ensure White House staff and communications personnel were not involved in any of the inappropriate behaviour.
So far, just one agent of the 12 cited for investigation has been cleared of serious misconduct. Eleven military personnel have also become embroiled in the controversy as they broke curfew in the same hotel on the night in question.
Jay Carney, the White House press officer, said the President will be angry if the allegations made against the Secret Service agent about bringing prostitutes back to the hotel are true.
The reason for that is that, as he said then, every member of the United States government who travels to a foreign country on a presidential trip or a trip by a Cabinet member or the Vice President is representing his or her country and every American in this country, and therefore should conduct themselves appropriately at all times.
Questions about any access prostitutes may have had to sensitive security information while in the hotel but specifics have not been made available from the White House.
Reports have also emerged of a Facebook posting by one of the Secret Service agents under investigation. He allegedly published a picture on his personal page of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin with an inappropriate remark about ‘checking her out’. He was part of her security detail during the 2008 presidential race.
The news of the Secret Service agents’ involvement with prostitutes emerged last week after a fight over payment spilled into the hallway of the hotel.
A 24-year-old Colombian prostitute told The New York Times that the agent agreed to pay her $800 for a night of sex but the next morning offered her only $30. She eventually left the hotel, she told the newspaper, after she was paid $225.
Obama’s security detail was not compromised as a result of the recall of the agents.
-Additional reporting by AP