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Entries in Mark Sullivan (3)

Wednesday
May232012

Secret Service Director Apologizes for Prostitution Scandal

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The director of the Secret Service on Wednesday apologized for the distraction caused by last month's sex scandal in Colombia, testifying to Congress that the agency is taking steps to prevent future embarrassing encounters from happening.

Director Mark Sullivan tried to assure a Senate committee that Secret Service agents make appropriate decisions the "overwhelming majority" of the time, but "we had some individuals who made very bad decisions" on the trip to Cartagena before President Obama's arrival.

Sullivan said he is reviewing the Secret Service's ethics policy and training as a result of the investigation into the agents who brought prostitutes back to their hotel after a night of partying.

"Any type of misconduct we take extremely seriously," Sullivan said.

Sullivan had not spoken publicly about the scandal until Wednesday morning.  He appeared nervous at times, once calling Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine "secretary" before correcting himself.

The night before, the Washington Post reported that four Secret Service employees who lost their jobs in the fallout from the scandal are challenging their dismissal.  The agents reportedly say they were made into scapegoats even though the Secret Service has tolerated similar behavior.

The sex scandal and subsequent investigation were an embarrassment for the agency and resulted in a handful of agents losing their jobs, and a dozen military members being accused of hiring prostitutes as well.

"Between the alcohol and, I don't know, the environment, these individuals did some really dumb things," Sullivan told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Republicans have tried to tie the flap to the Obama administration, arguing that the president is responsible for overseeing all federal agencies.  The White House has said that none of its employees were involved in the scandal in the days before Obama arrived in Cartagena.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May232012

Secret Service Director to Testify on Prostitution Scandal

Brendan Hoffman/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secret Service director Mark Sullivan will appear before a Senate committee on Wednesday to give his first public testimony on the agency's investigation of the prostitution scandal in Columbia.

A dozen agents have been accused of drinking heavily and cavorting with prostitutes in Cartagena last month ahead of President Obama's arrival for the Summit of the Americas.  Eight have since been fired and three more face disciplinary action.

Sullivan is expected to tell senators that there were no security breaches as the Secret Service agents prepared for Obama’s arrival in visit.

In prepared testimony, he will say the agents involved did not have sensitive documents, radios or weapons in their hotel rooms.  Sullivan will also testify that they had not received specific information that would have put the president's security in jeopardy.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr172012

Obama Retains Confidence in USSS Director Sullivan

U.S. Government(WASHINGTON) -- As the Secret Service scandal grows, President Obama still has confidence in Director Mark Sullivan, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday.

“The president has confidence in the director of the Secret Service. Director Sullivan acted quickly in response to this incident and is overseeing an investigation as we speak into the matter,” Carney said.

“The Secret Service performs admirably in its number one mission, which is to protect the president of the United States, to protect the family of the president, to protect those who travel with him or her,” he continued. “And the president, as he said in Cartagena, feels very strongly that the work the Secret Service does, the men and women who protect him and his family and those of us who work with him, is exemplary as a rule.”

Obama is receiving regular updates on investigators’ progress, Carney said, but is “not being updated on the process itself or day-by-day information gleaned.”

The prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Columbia involved about 11 U.S. Secret Service employees when “twenty or twenty-one women foreign nationals were brought to the hotel,” about nine of whom were allegedly involved with Marines, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a written statement Tuesday.

Collins’ knowledge of the incident comes from a 30-minute briefing she said she received Monday night from Sullivan about the accusations of misconduct in Cartagena, before President Obama arrived there Friday to attend a conference.

“Director Sullivan is rightly appalled by the agents’ actions and is pursuing a vigorous internal investigation,” Collins said.  “He ordered all the agents to return to Washington immediately, and all have been interviewed.”

Collins is the ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security and is the Senate’s chief oversight committee. She said she raised the following questions at the briefing:

"1. Who were these women?  Could they have been members of groups hostile to the United States?  Could they have planted bugs, disabled weapons, or in any others jeopardized security of the president or our country?

“2. Is there any evidence of previous misconduct by these or any other agents on other missions?

“3. Given the number of agents involve, does this indicate a problem with the culture of the Secret Service?”


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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